Mulberry Street, Chinatown, New York City

The view looking north on Mulberry Street, about half a block above Bayard Street, around 1900. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The view in 2014:

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In 1900, this part of Mulberry Street was a part of Little Italy, and as evidenced by the picture was a bustling commercial center.  Today, however, Little Italy has shrunk, and this block is now a part of Chinatown.  Little Italy is still there – the “Little Italy” sign over the street is barely visible in the distance of the 2014 photo, across Canal Street, but it now occupies only a few blocks along Mulberry Street.  This section of Mulberry Street is just a block away from the infamous Mulberry Bend, which was at the heart of the Five Points slum in the 19th century, and which author/muckraking journalist Jacob Riis described in 1896 as being “the foul core of New York’s slums.”  All seems well on the outside of the 1900 photo, although I’m sure it was a different story inside many of the tenement buildings.  Many of the buildings are still there – it’s tough to tell on the left side, but most of them seem to bet the same, and the first four buildings on the right all appear to be the same, although with some changes along the way.

Corner of Doyers & Pell, Chinatown, New York City

The view looking down Doyers Street from Pell Street, around 1900. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The view in 2014:

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These photos show the other end of Doyers Street, 200 feet from this photo, along the narrow, winding street.  Over a century later, it is still at the heart of Chinatown, and even many of the buildings are still there, including the two on the right-hand side of the photo.  The building on the left of the 1900 photo, though, is gone, along with most other wood-frame buildings in Manhattan.

Doyers Street, Chinatown, New York City

The view looking up Doyers Street from Chatham Square, around 1900-1910. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The view in 2014:

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Doyers Street is a narrow, crooked street in the middle of Chinatown that, around the time that the first photo was taken, began to acquire the nickname of “the Bloody Angle” for the number of Chinese gang-related shootings that occurred throughout the first part of the 20th century.  The “Chinese Tuxedo” signs in the first photo are for a high-end Chinese restaurant that catered to American tastes.  Kind of like an early 20th century P.F. Chang’s, with some gang violence added into the atmosphere.

South Street Docks, New York City

The view looking north along the South Street docks along the East River around 1900, with the Brooklyn Bridge in the background. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The scene in 2014:

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There isn’t much left to remind visitors of the bustling seaport that lower Manhattan once was, and South Street itself, which was teeming with activity in 1900, is now a quiet street underneath the elevated FDR Drive (named after a person who, when the first photo was taken, was just starting his studies at Harvard).

The first photo shows the docks of the New York and Cuba Mail Steamship Company, also known as the Ward Line. They went out of business in 1954, and their docks are now home to the South Street Seaport, which owns a number of historic ships, including the Peking, the 1911 sailing ship visible in the second photo. The only actual structure from the 1900 photo that still exists today is the Brooklyn Bridge, seen in the background of both photos.

Main Street, Northampton Mass (2)

The view looking west from the corner of Main & King Streets in Northampton, around 1907. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The view in 2018:

Taken around the same time as this photo, from the opposite end of Main Street, not a whole lot has changed with the buildings.  However, just about everything else has – the busy intersection no longer has trolley tracks, but has plenty of cars, along with pedestrians and protesters outside the courthouse (left).  As previously mentioned, these photos were taken around the time that Calvin Coolidge was beginning his political career; he would’ve seen this view daily as he walked the half a block from his law office to the courthouse.

Main Street, Northampton, Mass

Main Street in Northampton, looking east from in front of City Hall, around 1907. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The same view in 2014:

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From this angle, downtown Northampton appears virtually unchanged in over a century.  The first photo is the view that then-state representative Calvin Coolidge would’ve seen as he walked out of City Hall and headed towards his law office.  Within a few years, he would become mayor of Northampton, and from there he quickly moved up the political ranks.