Fifth Avenue Then and
Now, a Century of Streetviews in NYC.
1. Starting in the
south, near Washington Square Park, this image looks west from 5th Avenue, down West 8th Street. In the 1911 photo, the building at
left is a private residence, at right, an office of the Edison Company.
2. Next, we move
up to West 20th Street, where the corner building remains
intact, just a change of tenants from a store to buy trunks, and a publisher,
to a sporting goods store and clothing store.
3. Looking down
West 36th Street, the private residences and shops at right have been
replaced by a modern building, while most of the arches of the building at left
remain visible, despite a new facade on the 5th Avenue side. Note the heights of the newer
buildings looking down 36th.
4. A workman stands in front of a distinctive set of 3 arched windows on 5th Avenue, between East 38th and East 39th Street. In 1911, the shops
were, from left, Knabe Piano Co., Benson and Hedges Tobacconists, Hardman Piano
Co., John M. Crapo Linens, Ludwig Schultze Interior Decorations, and Siebrecht,
a florist. In the 2014 view, from left, Payless Shoes, a new bakery under
construction, Prima Donna clothing, GNC nutrition store, and a Sleepy’s
5. At West 40th Street, the brand new New York Public Library Building. The
building opened to the public for the first time on May 23, 1911. The 2014 view
has become obscured by trees.
6. St. Patrick’s Cathedral at East 51st Street. In 1911 the building at left was the Union Club. Today it
houses luxury jewelry and clothing stores.
7. Looking down East 57th Street, what were almost all private residences in 1911 have now
been replaced with large commercial and retail buildings.
8. At East 61st Street, across the avenue from Central Park (see the reflections
in both photos). Again, mostly private residences back in 1911.
9. At East 91st Street, the residence of Andrew Carnegie. Today, the Carnegie
Mansion remains, and is the home of the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum.
10. In 1911, Fifth Ave at East 93rd Street was home to a number of billboards touting stage
performances, bacon, whiskey, and a speedometer. At right, a private residence.
Today, nothing remains from either side of the street.
“In the early 90’s, we had a brownstone on 91st street where we cared for homeless babies that were HIV positive. In the backyard there was a mural that showed a flock of doves escaping from a cage. Every time one of the babies passed away, we’d paint their name beneath one of the doves. Most of the babies died. But a few of them lived. And Eric is one of the ones who did.”
Gretchen Buchenholz heads the Association to Benefit Children. Founded in 1986, ABC aims to ‘amplify the voices of defenseless children by combating the debilitating effects of poverty and championing the right of every child to a joyful and nurturing childhood.’