Evolution of New York City - Part 1 (1490-1900)

Posted on November 19, 20121490-precolonial-manhattan

New York City. Just saying the name conjures up images of the world's most bustling metropolis. From the shimmering art deco towers of midtown, to the sprawling concrete jungles of the outer boroughs, the Big Apple has earned its diverse, and often gritty stripes with a rich history that has unfolded at an astonishingly frantic pace. It's hard to believe that just a few centuries ago, this towering skyline was nothing but rolling hills and plains. For generations this amazing transformation remained buried in the shadows of history, allowing a mere peek only to bookworms and history buffs. But this too is changing. Thanks to the unified efforts of libraries, museums and historical societies these photos are all appearing online, opening a portal through time to anyone with internet access and an inkling of curiosity. We invite you to dive into this fascinating tale of social metamorphosis, but be warned - exploring Gotham's past in pictures can be quite addictive, so consume responsibly! Without further ado we give you the genesis of New York's evolution.

1624 First Settlements on Manhattan

1624 First Settlements on Manhattan Source: New England Historic Genealogical Society

1660 New Amsterdam

1660 New Amsterdam Source: New York Historical Society

1730 New York Harbor with view of Fort George

1730 New York Harbor with view of Fort George Source: John Carwitham

1770 View from Upper Manhattan

1770 View from Upper ManhattanSource: North Wind Picture Archive

1780 Pearl Street

1780 Pearl StreetSource: New York Public Library

1798 Collect Pond now Mott and Grand Street

1798 Collect Pond now Mott and Grand Street Source: New York Public Library

1845 Downtown Manhattan

1845 Downtown Manhattan Source: Museum of the City of New York

1850 South Street Seaport

1850 South Street SeaportSource: South Street Seaport Museum

1851 Wallabout Bay Brooklyn

1851 Wallabout Bay BrooklynSource: Unknown

1855 Downtown Manhattan

1855 Downtown ManhattanSource: Unknown

1856 3rd Avenue and Stuyvesant Street

1856 3rd Avenue and Stuyvesant Street Source: New York Public Library

1860 Five Points

1860 Five Points Source: DT Valentine's Manual

1860 Broadway and 18th Street

1860 Broadway and 18th Street Source: Library of Congress

1865 Niblos Theater in Soho

1865 Niblos Theater in Soho Source: Library of Congress

1867 Charles Harvey above the first elevated

1867 Charles Harvey above the first elevated Source: Joseph Brennan

1870 Belvedere Castle at Central Park

1870 Belvedere Castle at Central Park Source: Library of Congress

1870 Duane Street Ghetto

1870 Duane Street Ghetto Source: Louis Comfort Tiffany

1872 Union Square Theatre

1872 Union Square Theatre Source: Charmaine Zoe

1875 Astor Place

1875 Astor Place Source: Museum of the City of New York

1876 Downtown Manhattan

1876 Downtown Manhattan Source: Robert Louden

1876 Madison Square Garden Boxing and Bicycle Racing

1876 madison square garden i 1876 boxing and bicycle racing Source: Wikimedia Commons

1876 Statue of Liberty Construction

1876 Statue of Liberty Construction Source: New York Public Library

1876 Brooklyn Bridge Construction

1876 Brooklyn Bridge Construction Source: Harper's Weekly

1877 Brooklyn Bridge Construction

1877 Brooklyn Bridge Construction Source: Harper's Weekly

1878 Brooklyn Bridge Construction

1878 Brooklyn Bridge Construction Source: Harper's Weekly

1878 Statue of Liberty Torch Construction

1876 Statue of Liberty Torch Construction Source: New York Public Library

1878 Long Acre Square (old Times Square)

1878 Long Acre Square (old Times Square)Source: Wikimedia Commons

1879 Coentes Slip

1879 Coentes Slip Source: Joseph Brennan

1879 Downtown Map

1879 Downtown Map Source: Library of Congress

1879 Statue of Liberty in the Workshop

1879 Statue of Liberty in the Workshop Source: New York Public Library

1880 Bethesda Terrace at Central Park

1880 Bethesda Terrace at Central Park Source: New York Public Library

1880 Brooklyn Bridge construction

1880 Brooklyn Bridge construction Source: George Bradford Brainerd

1880 Union Square

1880 Union Square Source: Wikimedia Commons

1881 Statue of Liberty building for display in Paris

1879 Statue of Liberty in the Workshop Source: National Park Service

1883 Wall Street

1883 Wall Street Source: New York Historical Society

1883 Brooklyn Bridge Anchorage

1883 Brooklyn Bridge Anchorage Source: Harper's Weekly

1883 Brooklyn Bridge Construction

1882 Brooklyn Bridge Construction Source: Brooklyn Museum

1883 Brooklyn Bridge Complete

1883 Brooklyn Bridge Complete Source: Harper's Weekly

1883 Brooklyn Bridge Opening Day

1883 Brooklyn Bridge Opening Day Source: The Meserve-Kunhardt Foundation

1884 Statue of Liberty's Torch at Madison Square

1876 Statue of Liberty's Torch at Madison Square Source: Wikimedia Commons

1885 Macys

1885 Macys

Source: Macy's Inc.

1885 Subway Construction

1885 Subway Construction Source: Museum Syndicate

1885 Statue of Liberty Pedestal Construction

1885 Statue of Liberty Pedestal Construction Source: National Park Service

1886 Statue of Liberty face waiting for installation

1886 Statue of Liberty face waiting for installation Source: National Park Service

1886 Statue of Liberty Feet and Torch at Pedestal

1886 Statue of Liberty Feet and Torch at Pedestal Source: National Park Service

1886 Statue of Liberty Unveiling

1886 Statue of Liberty Unveiling Source: Wikimedia Commons

1886 Liberty Island

1886 Liberty IslandSource: National Park Service

1888 Vienna Model Bakery at Broadway and 10th

1888 Vienna Model Bakery at Broadway and 10th Source: New York Public Library

1888 Bowery Street

1888 Bowery Street Source: Museum of the City of New York

1888 Blizzard "The Great White Hurricane"

1888 Blizzard "The Great White Hurricane" Source: National Snow and Ice Data Center

1888 Blizzard Streets

1888 Blizzard Streets Source: National Snow and Ice Data Center

1890 42nd Street

1890 42nd Street Source: Degregario Collection / NYC Municipal Archive

1890 Central Park Ice Skating

1890 Central Park Ice Skating Source: J.S. Johnston / The New York Historical Society

1890 Central Park West

1890 Central Park West Source: New York, An Illustrated History

1890 The Dakota at Central Park West

1890 The Dakota at Central Park West Source: Wikimedia Commons

1890 Gansevoort Market Meatpacking District

1890 Gansevoort Market Meatpacking District Source: Wheels Across America

1890 New York Stock Exchange

1890 New York Stock Exchange Source: New York Public Library

1890 5th Avenue and 14th Street

1890 5th Avenue and 14th Street Source: Ephemeral New York

1890 Park Avenue South

1890 Park Avenue South Source: Ephemeral New York

1891 Laying cable line for trolleys in Union Square

1891 Laying cable line for trolleys in Union Square Source: Bowery Boys

1892 Broadway and Union Square

1892 Broadway and Union Square Source: Library of Congress

1893 Grand Central

1893 Grand Central Source: Alfred Stieglitz / US National Archives

1894 Grand Army Plaza Brooklyn

1894 Grand Army Plaza Brooklyn Source: Brooklyn Historical Society

1895 The Puck Building

1895 The Puck Building Source: King's Photographic Views of New York

1896 Brooklyn Bridge

1896 Brooklyn Bridge Source: Brooklyn Museum

1896 First Electric Taxis

1896 First Electric Taxis Source: Museum of Modern Art

1896 Newsies

1896 Newsies Source: New York Public Library

1897 5th Avenue and 59th Street

1897 5th Avenue and 59th Street Source: New York Public Library

1897 Newspaper Row

1897 Newspaper RowSource: Wikimedia Commons

1897 Brooklyn Bridge Subway Tracks

1897 Brooklyn Bridge Subway Tracks Source: B.L. Singley / Library of Congress

1898 Bowling Green Park

1898 Bowling Green Park Source: A. Loeffler / Library of Congress

1899 Police Parade, Bowler Hats, Hardly Any Women

1899 Police Parade, Bowler Hats, Hardly Any Women Source: Sgt. Mike Bosak, NYPD

1899 Brooklyn Bridge and Lower Manhattan

1899 Brooklyn Bridge and Lower Manhattan Source: Unknown

1899 High Bridge (The Aqueduct Bridge)

1899 High Bridge (The Aqueduct Bridge) Source: Detroit Publishing Company

1899 South Street Ferry Building

1899 South Street Ferry Building Source: Unknown

1899 Waldorf Astoria Original Site at 5th Ave and 35th Street

1899 Waldorf Astoria Original Site at 5th Avenue and 35th Street Source: Wikimedia Commons

1899 Tiffany's, Union Square

1899 Tiffany's, Union Square Source: New York Public Library

1899 Little Italy

1899 Little Italy Source: Sky Scraper City

1900 8th Avenue between 21st and 22nd Streets in Chelsea

1900 8th Avenue between 21st and 22nd Streets in Chelsea
Source: Sky Scraper City

1900 Bowery and Grand

1900 Bowery and grand Source: Detroit Publishing Company

1900 Gillender Building

1900 Gillender Building Source: Detroit Publishing Company

1900 Grace Church at Broadway and 10th Street

1900 Grace Church at Broadway and 10th Street Source: Wikimedia Commons

1900 St Patrick's Cathedral

1900 St Patrick's Cathedral Source: Detroit Publishing Company

1900 Goats and Buggies for Children at Central Park

1900 Goats and Buggies for Children at Central Park Source: Detroit Publishing Company

1900 Sheep at Central Park Meadow

1900 Sheep at Central Park Meadow Source: Degregario Collection / NYC Municipal Archive

1900 Horse and Buggy at Central Park

1900 Horse and Buggy at Central Park Source: Library Of Practical Photography; Volume IV




DISCLAIMER: We do not own the rights to any of these photos. We are working on adding source notes to each of our chapters so if you are interested in buying prints, google those names. Many photos don't have this information as they were either random internet finds or submitted by users. If you know the source of a photo, or detect any inaccuracies, please contact us. In order to stay up to date feel free to Like us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our RSS feed.


Evolution of New York City


1490-precolonial-manhattanEvolution of New York City - Part 1 (1490-1900)


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