This block-by-block drawing shows Broadway in 1899

Posted On Thu, October 25, 2018 By

Posted On Thu, October 25, 2018 By In History

As part of Archtober, NYC’s annual celebration of the city’s buildings, the New York Public Library (NYPL) has been providing virtual tours of Archtober venues and offering resources to help us learn more about them. One fascinating example: A block-by-block visual record of Broadway at the turn of the 20th century, from Bowling Green in Lower Manhattan to 56th Street. The pictorial description in the library’s digital collection includes advertisements and business indeces that relate to nearby businesses. Published by the Mail & Express Company who also published the Evening Mail daily newspaper, the panoramic drawings give a snapshot of history along “America’s most notable thoroughfare.”

The pictorial description is similar to a photobook, published a few years later, titled “Fifth Avenue, New York, From Start to Finish.” Both were released at a time when it was becoming popular to document the city’s current built environment–and enjoy nostalgia of cityscapes past. Both collections showcase both sides of the street in panoramic landscape format.

The pictorial description of Broadway ends at 56th Street, but showcases a considerable swath, i.e. from Bowling Green to 56th Street.

Also included in the collection are ephemera from businesses located nearby and along the street. Make your way up Broadway in 1899 via the NYPL digital collections here.

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Images courtesy of NYPL digital collections.

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