Hilltop Park, New York (1)

The view outside the main entrance to Hilltop Park, at the corner of Broadway and 165th Street, on April 21, 1911. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Bain Collection.


The same scene in 2014:


The New York Yankees have long called the Bronx their home, but during the first park of their existence they were in the extreme northern part of Manhattan.  The team was moved from Baltimore to New York in 1903, and Hilltop Park (officially given the more bland name of American League Park – this was in the days before corporate sponsorship) was hastily built along Broadway, between 165th and 168th Streets, on high ground overlooking the Hudson River.  It was not a particularly glamorous park, but neither was the team that played there: in ten seasons, the Highlanders lost 100 games twice.  These have been the only two 100-loss seasons in the history of the Yankees franchise.  In this particular photo, it shows fans arriving for the home opener against the Washington Senators.  New York lost the game 1-0, and went on to have a .500 season, with a 76-76 record.  After the 1912 season, the Highlanders moved into Polo Grounds, renting from the Giants until 1923, when Yankee Stadium was completed.  Today, Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center is located on the site.

Mulberry Bend, New York City

Mulberry Bend, around 1896. Photo from Out of Mulberry Street: Stories of Tenement Life in New York City by Jacob Riis.


The same view in 2014:


Throughout much of the 19th century, the Five Points neighborhood of Manhattan was one of the worst slums in the United States.  At the heart of it was Mulberry Bend, named after the curve in Mulberry Street which is visible in the two photos.  In part because of the work of social reformers like Jacob Riis, efforts began at the end of the century to clear out the worst of the slums and tenements.  Shortly after the first photo was taken, the tenements on the left were demolished, and replaced by Columbus Park.  Several of the buildings on the left survive, though, and are now a part of Manhattan’s Chinatown neighborhood.

This photo was taken just south of the intersection of Mulberry and modern-day Mosco Streets, just north of where this photo was taken a few years later.  If the photographer in that photo had turned left, this is approximately the view that he would have looking up Mulberry.

Times Square (3)

A view of Times Square around 1908. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.


The same scene in 2014:


One more view of Times Square; the 1905 photo shows the Hotel Astor, which was opened in 1904 and lasted until 1967, when it was replaced by the building on the right, the one prominently advertising The Lion King.

Times Square (2)

Times Square in New York City, around 1905. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.


Times Square in 2014:


The only building that is readily visible in both photos is the New York Times Building, which gives some kind of scale to show the amount of development that has occurred in the past 100+ years.  Hiding behind a variety of electronic billboards, the building is still there, and has not changed in height.  It’s hard to tell, but in the 2014 photo the top of the building is right around the bottom of the Toshiba sign.  In 1905, the building towered over the rest of the square; today, it is barely noticeable among the much taller skyscrapers that now front Times Square.

New York Times Building Under Construction

The Times Square Building as it appeared during its construction, around 1904. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.


The building in 2014:


As mentioned in this post, the New York Times Building is literally a shell of its former self.  Because of its narrow dimensions, it is more profitable to rent out the outside of the billboards, than to rent out the interior for offices.  Today, only the ground floor is used; as of 2014, it was the home to a Walgreens.  It looks completely different from the 1904 photo; it wasn’t even completed, and it still easily towered over its surroundings at Times Square.  Both the building and the square were named after the New York Times, and although the paper moved to a new location in 1913, the name stuck.

Metropolitan Opera House, New York City

The Metropolitan Opera House in New York City, around 1905. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.


The scene in 2014:


Located diagonally across from the Casino Theatre, the Metropolitan Opera House was opened in 1883, along Broadway between 39th and 40th Streets.  It closed in 1966, and was replaced by the current office building.  Notice the New York Times Building a few blocks away – it’s still there, but is completely overshadowed by the buildings around it, as well as by its own billboards, which cover almost the entire facade.