Empire State Building (5)

The view looking west from the Empire State Building in 1951. Photo courtesy of New York Public Library.

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The scene in 2011:

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There hasn’t been an incredible amount of change in the past 60 years in this small wedge of Manhattan, but one notable building that no longer exists is Penn Station, seen in the upper left of the 1951 photo.  The above-ground part of the historic station was demolished in 1963 and replaced with Madison Square Garden, which is barely visible in the 2011 photo – the round building immediately to the left of the tall black skyscraper.

Empire State Building (4)

A worker atop the Empire State Building in 1931. Photo courtesy of the National Archives.

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The view in 2011:

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Probably the most famous photo of the construction of the Empire State Building (and not to be confused with the staged photo of construction workers eating lunch on a beam atop the Rockefeller Center), one of the most dramatic elements of this photo is the contrast between the old worker and the new progress of the Empire State Building.  Also interesting about it is the Chrysler Building, which had previously been the tallest building in the world, now looking small and insignificant in the shadow of the new title holder.

Empire State Building (3)

A worker atop the Empire State Building in 1931. Photo courtesy of New York Public Library.

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The view in 2011:

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The caption of the first photo is “Icarus, high up on Empire State.”  However, this worker, thankfully, did not have his wings (cable?) melt.  Both photos show some of the changes in the area looking north of the Empire State Building, toward the Upper West Side, the Hudson River, and New Jersey beyond it.  The only readily-identifiable building from both photos is the large white building in the lower right corner of the 931 photo – it is barely noticeable in the same area of the 2011 photo.

Empire State Building (2)

A worker atop the Empire State Building in 1931. Photo courtesy of New York Public Library.

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The same view in 2011:

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These historic photos, which capture the human element of the construction of the Empire State Building, also show how much midtown New York has changed in the past 80 years.  One prominent landmark that didn’t even exist in 1931 was the Rockefeller Center, whose construction was just beginning when the first photo was taken.  It is now easily visible in the upper center of the 2011 photo.

Empire State Building (1)

A worker atop the Empire State Building in 1931. Photo courtesy of New York Public Library.

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The same view in 2011:

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The view from atop the Empire State Building, looking north toward the Upper West Side and the Hudson River.  Central Park is seen prominently in the 1931 photo, but it is barely visible 80 years later, as the increasing height of the skyscrapers has all but blocked it from view.

Football at Fenway (1)

Fenway Park, hosting a football game in 1934. Photo courtesy of Boston Public Library.

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The same scene in 2007:

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Football at Fenway may seem strange today, but the park was home to several professional football teams, including the Boston Redskins from 1933-1936, and the Boston Patriots from 1963-1968. The top photo was taken during the Redskins’ time at Fenway, but the game in the photo is actually a high school game – Dorchester High against Mechanical Arts High, on October 12, 1934.

The second photo also shows a lower-level team playing on a major league field – here, the Pawtucket Red Sox are warming up prior to its 2007 Futures at Fenway game. In many ways, Fenway Park is still very much the same as it was in the 1930’s, but one obvious difference is the lack of lights – Fenway would be the second to last MLB park to get lights, in 1947. Another change is the fact that the Green Monster was not yet green, and instead was covered in advertisements. Today, the green color is there, but as of late it has slowly been getting re-covered in ads, as seen in the 2007 photo.