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NYC Then And Now: 150 Years Of Gotham Changing And Staying The Same

<p>An 1865 view of Manhattan, from the harbor—notice the Battery and how there's no Brooklyn Bridge<img src="http://secure-us.imrworldwide.com/cgi-bin/m?ci=ade2011-ca&amp;at=view&amp;rt=banner&amp;st=image&amp;ca=copper&amp;cr=site&amp;pc=watcheffect&amp;ce=siteservedtag&amp;rnd=[timestamp]"/></p>


Today, lower Manhattan is dominated by skyscrapers.

Image via ChameleonsEye / Shutterstock.com

In 1856, this statue of George Washington was installed in a traffic island by Union Square (it was dedicated in 1865).

1890 image via Library of Congress


The statue was moved from the traffic island and into the park during a 1929-1930 reconstruction of the park.

Left image via scoboco, right image via nrvlowdown

Check out this view of Brooklyn Heights!


Now, Brooklyn Heights gets dazzling views of lower Manhattan AND movie screenings.

Image via Tatyana Kildisheva


Judge Ingraham's home in Harlem, 1858 was located on 127th Street near 2nd Avenue.

Image via New York Public Library

Now, 127th Street near 2nd Avenue is an off-ramp.


An 1862 Currier & Ives print of Central Park, which was a spot for society to show off.

Image via Library of Congress

Now, Central Park is the spot where New Yorkers come to commute with nature—and finish 26.2 mile marathons.

Image via arvindgrover

Look at the Bowery, along this elevated train line, back in the 1890s.


And that's the same building seen in the old photo—130 Bowery, the Bowery Savings Bank, now home of event space Capitale.



23rd Street was a fancy address in the late 1800s, with the rich building luxurious homes and apartment houses also starting to emerge. This is 23rd Street looking south from Broadway.

Image via New York Public Library

Now, the Flatiron, built in 1902, is the focus of 23rd Street

Image via Songquan Deng / Shutterstock.com

The Union Pond, in Williamsburg (or "Williamsburgh" back then), was very popular for ice skating in the winter—during the summer, it was back to being the country's first enclosed baseball field.

1863 image via New York Public Library

Now the main attraction of Williamsburg may be hipsters, stories about gentrification and the McCarren Park Pool (which some believe is in Greenpoint).

Image via Katie Sokoler/Gothamist

The New York Stock Exchange, moved to this building 10-12 Broad Street, in 1865.

Image via New York Public Library

More recently, it's been the focus of tumult and protest.

Image via Dan Nguyen


The first elevated subway operation in New York City was built in 1868–this is one running by Jefferson Market in the village.

1878 image via Library of Congress

Now the West Village no longer has an elevated subway—it's all underground.

Image via scoboc

In the 1870s, the NY Times had a printing house on Park Row.

Image via New York Public Library

Now, the NY Times has an $850 million headquarters in midtown, with a rung-like facade that attracts climbers

Image via ROCIO@dulce_de_leche

In 1875, this new post office opened at Broadway and Park Row. Even though it looks impressive now, critics hated it and called it "Mullett's Monstrosity"—the architect was A.B. Mullett.

image via New York Public Library

The city managed to demolish it in 1939, replacing it with City Hall Park, which critics called "uninspired."

Image via Jen Chung/Gothamist


In the 1860s, there were houses like this on West 54th Street and Broadway.

Image via New York Public Library

Now, the houses are more likely to be theaters, office buildings, or apartment houses in the bustling Midtown hub.


Christmas trees were sold outside in 1885.

Image via Library of Congress

Today, Christmas trees are still (!) sold on the sidewalk.

Image via Joseph Romano