The Grand Central Depot, which was built by Cornelius Vanderbilt in 1871, was a hub for the region’s three major railroad lines. Before it was built, each line had its own separate station in NYC. The depot’s consolidation of the three companies was represented in the building's architecture, which featured three large towers. As time went on, the railroads outgrew the original space, prompting the building to be demolished in 1899 and replaced with a larger six-story structure. When it reopened in 1900, the building was renamed Grand Central Terminal. This, however, was only the first Grand Central Terminal. After a 1902 train crash killed 15 passengers, NYC banned the use of steam locomotives south of the Harlem River, which meant that all rail lines in NYC would have to be converted to electric power. In order to implement this change, the entire station had to be torn down and the trains placed underground. Construction of the current building began in 1903 and took 10 years to complete. ➡️➡️ Swipe to see the current station the year it opened in 1913
Just discovered these shots from Michael La Mendola’s 1968 NYC fashion show entitled “Clothing for the Emancipated Man.” To say that I love them would truly be an understatement. Which look is your favorite??
In an effort to drum up patriotism and public engagement for the war effort, Mayor John P. Mitchel built a wooden battleship - appropriately named USS Recruit - in the middle of Union Square in 1917. The 200-foot replica served as a recruitment and training station for NYC sailors. Despite not being a real battleship, the USS Recruit housed a group of doctors, officers, and sailors like any other member of the US fleet. The entire crew rose at 6am to scrub the decks, wash their clothes, and stand guard. Unlike the Navy’s other vessels, the sailors aboard the USS Recruit played an important role in public relations. They routinely invited civilians onto the ship for social events and q&a sessions. Though WWI ended in 1918, the USS Recruit remained “docked” in Union Square until March 1920, when it was moved to Luna Park on Coney Island. During its 3 years of operation, the battleship helped the Navy recruit over 25,000 new sailors. ➡️➡️Swipe to see a picture of the completed ship, as well as two pictures of sailors on the USS Recruit.
On September 30, 1973, baseball fans used screwdrivers, hammers, and their fists to dismantle parts of Yankee Stadium. It was the last home game before the old stadium (which had been in use since 1923) was set to undergo two years of renovations. After the game, a crowd ransacked the stadium for memorabilia. One fan took home a right field sign, which sold at auction for over $55K this past June.
The Belmont Garage, located at 113-115 East 84th Street, was initially built as a livery stable in 1884. In the early 1900s, wealthy New Yorkers began to replace their horse-drawn carriages with automobiles. As a result, the building was renovated in 1908 to accommodate cars. Amazingly, the garage is still owned by the same family today!
The arm and torch of the Statue of Liberty was displayed in Madison Square Park from 1876 to 1882. The temporary exhibition was intended to drum up public enthusiasm and help raise funds for the statue’s completion. Visitors could buy souvenir photographs or pay 50 cents to climb to the balcony!
Did you know that Disney’s “It’s a Small World” attraction made its debut in New York City? The ride was initially designed for the 1964 World’s Fair and was inspired by the fair’s theme of “Peace Through Understanding.” Admission was 60 cents for children and 95 cents for adults. It consisted of an 11-minute boat ride through a series of darkened tunnels, each representing different parts of the world. Throughout the ride, hundreds of animatronic dolls sang the now-iconic song, over and over and over again. After the Fair ended, the ride was installed at Disneyland in Anaheim and eventually became a staple of all Disney theme parks! Apologies in advance for getting the song stuck in your head...
While the Brooklyn Bridge was being constructed, a temporary footbridge - made out of rope and wooden planks - was strung between the towers in 1877. The walkway was more than 250 feet above the East River and was known to sway in the wind. This photo is from 1880 and the sign says: "Safe For Only 25 Men At One Time. Do Not Walk Close Together. Nor Run, Jump, or Trot. Break Step!”
Flushing is home to one of the oldest and largest Hindu temples in the United States:
Šri Mahã Vallabha Ganapati Devasthãnam, or the Ganesh Temple as it is more commonly known. The ornate, granite temple at 45-57 Bowne Street is surrounded by row houses and looks a bit out-of-place in the residential neighborhood. The temple’s presiding deity is Ganesh, the elephant-headed god who removes obstacles and provides wisdom and luck. In addition to being breathtakingly beautiful, the Ganesh Temple serves some of the best South Indian food in the city. In the basement, there is a gift shop, a handful of communal folding tables, and a cafeteria-style counter staffed by temple volunteers. If you go, make sure to try the masala dosa — its my favorite!
In 1920, the first permanent traffic lights were installed along the length of Fifth Avenue. In the new system, policeman sat in the steel towers and manually changed the traffic signals from green to white. Yes, you read that right. At the time, white meant go and green meant stop! The current color signals weren’t introduced until 1927. In 1922, the original towers were replaced by seven 23-foot tall ornate bronze traffic towers. While undeniably beautiful, the towers were poorly placed and ended up being a traffic hazard. The bronze towers were removed by the city in 1929. This picture shows one of the bronze towers in 1922. ➡️➡️ Swipe to see a street view of one of a 1922 tower, a close up of the original model in 1920, and a street view with the original 1920 model.
Happy Faded Ad Friday!! Spotted this ghost sign on the side of a building on 106th St and 2nd Ave. I haven’t been able to find any information on it online. Looks like it says 34th Street and Stanton Street but can’t make out the rest. Any ideas? ➡️➡️ Swipe to see the great mural on the building across from the ad #fadedadfriday
From 1892 to 1907, The Strecker Memorial Laboratory on Roosevelt Island served as a research lab for City Hospital, which provided healthcare to the Island’s large prison population. The lab was the first pathological and bacteriological research institute in the US. There was an autopsy room and mortuary on the first floor and a handful of research and experimentation rooms on the second floor. In 1905, a third floor was added for a small museum and library. In 1907, the lab was taken over by the Russell Sage Institute of Pathology. In the 1950s, the lab was abandoned and the building fell into disrepair. While it was declared a New York City landmark in 1973, the building wasn’t restored until 2000. Today, it is home to a MTA substation, which powers the subways that run underneath Roosevelt Island. ➡️➡️Swipe to see a close up of the building’s terra cotta sign, a picture of the building around the 1920s or 30s, and a picture of the lab before it was restored.
A friend showed me this wonderful ghost sign the other day. It is located in the underground passageway between the Grand Central subway and the basement arcade of the Chrysler Building. Sadly, the Chrysler beauty salon is long gone.
In 1860, Henry C. F. Koch opened a department store at the corner of Carmine and Bleecker Street. 15 years later, Koch & Co. had become successful enough to move uptown to 6th Ave and 20th Street, placing them in the heart of Ladies’ Mile - 14th and 23rd Street between 5th and 6th Aves - the city’s most prominent shopping district in the late 19th century. In 1891, the department store left its prime location and moved northward again, this time to a massive 5-story cast-iron building at 136 West 125th Street. The move was risky, but proved to be a boon for business. Not only did they no longer need to compete with the more prominent downtown stores, but as the first department store to open in Harlem, they had a virtual monopoly on uptown business. In fact, Koch and Co. helped spur 125th Street’s transformation from a residential enclave to a bustling shopping area. Koch and Co. was known for their innovative marketing techniques. For example, the store's floors were covered in brightly colored flowers to celebrate the release of their spring 1892 line. According to a 1895 advertisement, Koch & Co. lured suburban shoppers by paying "railroad fares between White Plains, Hartsdale, Scarsdale, Tuckahoe, Bronxville, Mount Vernon and 125th Street Station New York.” While they did not invent the NYC tradition of Christmas window decorations, they certainly perfected it. In 1894, the company spent $2,000 - a whopping $59,000 today - to decorated 13 of their windows, one of which featured an exact replica of the Trocadero Palace in Paris, complete with miniature statues, working fountains, and incandescent lamps. In 1930, the department store closed, but the building still stands. ➡️➡️ swipe to see a close up of the building’s engraving, a picture from 1900, a page from the store’s 1893 catalog, and a 1930 window display.
Happy Faded Ad Friday! Found this bad boy on 8 West 24th Street. It advertises Loeb & Schoenfeld Embroideries, which was established in 1883. In 1915, the business moved from its original location on 73 Franklin Street to 27 West 23rd Street. This sign is on the back end of the same building. In 1925, the company relocated to 1123 Broadway, but sadly went under a few years later. #fadedadfriday
The camel advertisement was installed on the facade of the Claridge Hotel at West 44th Street and Broadway in 1941. Using steam from the hotel heating system, the smoker exhaled a perfect O every four seconds from 7am to 1am. The city-wide blackouts mandated during World War II required that the sign’s designers use other methods besides neon to attract attention. The camel billboard was a fixture of Times Square for over 26 years. Over the years, the company tweaked the style and content of the billboard but the iconic smoke ring was a constant. ➡️➡️ swipe to see some other versions of the billboard