WEEKEND HISTORY: ASTONISHING PHOTO SERIES OF BROADWAY IN 1920

Photographer Arthur Hosking took an amazing series of photographs from 1916 to 1921, traveling up Broadway from Bowling Green to Yonkers. He shot the photos below of the Upper West Side in 1920. They’re from a collection at The Museum of the City of New York.

Broadway Series. Looking north from 59th Street, and Columbus Circle. Columbus Monument at right.
Looking north from 59th Street, and Columbus Circle. Columbus Monument at right.

Broadway Series. View looking north from 60th Street. Automobile Row No. 1842 Broadway on right 61st Street.
View looking north from 60th Street. Automobile Row No. 1842 Broadway on right 61st Street.

Broadway Series. Looking south from 64th Street. Lincoln Square in foreground. Tracks of 9th Ave
Looking south from 64th Street. Lincoln Square in foreground. Tracks of 9th Ave “El” on Columbus Avenue seen in lower right hand corner. Hotel Empire at right.

Broadway Series. Looking north from 66th Street. Campbell Parlors at right N.G.S.N.Y. Armory in middle distance at right.
Looking north from 66th Street. Campbell Parlors at right N.G.S.N.Y. Armory in middle distance at right.

Broadway Series. Looking north from 69th Street. The Ansonia Apartment Hotel is seen in the distance center of the picture, located on the N.W. corner of 73rd Street.
Looking north from 69th Street. The Ansonia Apartment Hotel is seen in the distance center of the picture, located on the N.W. corner of 73rd Street.

Broadway Series. Looking north from 72nd Street. At the extreme left edge is seen a part of the Rutgers Presbyterian Church on the S.W. corner of 73rd Street, and then to Ansonia Apartment Hotel on th
Looking north from 72nd Street. At the extreme left edge is seen a part of the Rutgers Presbyterian Church on the S.W. corner of 73rd Street, and then to the Ansonia Apartment Hotel.

Broadway Series. Looking north from 79th Street. Wood's store is the first tall building on 80th Street, at right. Keith's Theater beyond the low tree. Broadway studio building at left.
Looking north from 79th Street. Wood’s store is the first tall building on 80th Street, at right. Keith’s Theater beyond the low tree. Broadway studio building at left.

Broadway Series. Looking north from 84th Street. Bretton Hall at extreme right edge of picture. Bird and goldfish store at the left is on corner of 85th Street.
Looking north from 84th Street. Bretton Hall at extreme right edge of picture. Bird and goldfish store at the left is on corner of 85th Street.

Broadway Series. Looking south from 87th Street, Tiffin Building at right. The lights over the sign-board illuminate the signs at right.
Looking south from 87th Street, Tiffin Building at right. The lights over the sign-board illuminate the signs at right.

Broadway Series. Looking south from 87th Street showing east side of Broadway. Bretton Hall at left.
Looking south from 87th Street showing east side of Broadway. Bretton Hall at left.

Broadway Series. Looking north from 90th Street. Schulte's Cigar sign at left is at corner of 91st Street. At the right is seen farther up the Bonta-Narragansett Hotel between 94th and 95th Streets.
Looking north from 90th Street. Schulte’s Cigar sign at left is at corner of 91st Street. At the right is seen farther up the Bonta-Narragansett Hotel between 94th and 95th Streets.

Broadway Series. Looking south from 96th Street. At left is Hotel Newton and Hotel Bonta-Narragansett between 94th and 95th Streets.
Looking south from 96th Street. At left is Hotel Newton and Hotel Bonta-Narragansett between 94th and 95th Streets.

Broadway Series. Looking north from 96th Street. Keith's and Shubert's theaters at left - and Fox's Japanese Gardens. West side of street.
Looking north from 96th Street. Keith’s and Shubert’s theaters at left – and Fox’s Japanese Gardens. West side of street.

Broadway Series. South from 104th Street. 103rd Street subway station in center of picture. The Chepstow at the left.
South from 104th Street. 103rd Street subway station in center of picture. The Chepstow at the left.

Broadway Series. Looking north from 105th Street. Large Mansard-roof building in center-far distance. Tree at right. This is where the subway veers to the left as it proceeds north on West End Avenue.
Looking north from 105th Street. Large Mansard-roof building in center-far distance. Tree at right. This is where the subway veers to the left as it proceeds north on West End Avenue.

Broadway Series. Looking south from 111th Street and Straus Square Beauclere Apts at right. The Manchester at left center. Gold Medal Flour sign at left.
Looking south from 111th Street and Straus Square Beauclere Apts at right. The Manchester at left center. Gold Medal Flour sign at left.

ART, HISTORY | 38 comments | permalink
    1. dcortex says:

      10th picture mis labelled
      Breton Hall at Right
      that’s instead the Belnord at left

      • manhattan mark says:

        The Belnord and Breton Hall are both in the picture. On left
        The Belnord and center left is Breton Hall with 86th st.
        between them and they are still both there, let us be grateful.

    2. yoyo says:

      Amazing gallery! Thanks for posting it.

      It would be really cool if someone could take some photos today from the identical vantage points.

    3. Joan S says:

      Very cool!

    4. pjrod says:

      These are fantastic! Yoyo’s idea is great. I hope someone does it.

    5. Rodger Lodger says:

      They should have left it the way it was.

    6. Tom says:

      Great pictures. I can make out the trolley
      tracks in some of the pictures. I can remember
      them still running in the late 1940s. It would
      have been great seeing them in a picture or two.

    7. Martha says:

      Thank you so much. These photos are lovely and instructive, and I’m glad to see that at least some buildings remain in place.

      There’s the Ansonia. There’s where Zabar’s will be.

      But the nostalgia factor is greater. I will get myself to the Museum to see more of who and what we were.

      Again, for your posting of these photos, I thank you.

      • West Sider says:

        So glad you enjoyed them. Just to clarify, these are in online archives, not necessarily on display. Avi

    8. Juia Fine says:

      I’m with “YOYO” – it would be wonderful to take another set of photos today. Small problem: I think Mr. Hoskill shot these from above – that might be difficult! But definitely worth a try!

    9. lorena says:

      The photos are wonderful – what fun to see the places that have not changed!

    10. julia fine says:

      P>S> This should have been first: Thank you, Thank you for sharing these photos with your readership.

    11. Eileen Martinson Lavine says:

      What wonderful memories. I lived at 99th and West End from 1925-1936, then Broadway and 92nd and Amsterdam and 93rd until mid 1950s. So hope to see more pix of this area (now that I live in Bethesda, MD). But my children live on West 60s so they continue my West Side tradition.

    12. Cbixks says:

      I love these old photos. What a calmer time it was with less people and cars. Beautiful. Thank you. Where can I see more?

    13. Justina says:

      What no Duane Reade?

    14. ‘Twas a big-sky, litter-free area back then, more attractive, alas, than now.

    15. UWSsurfer says:

      Martha,
      Is Zabar’s going to move to the empty
      space under the Ansonia last occupied
      by Loehmann’s?

      • Bootes says:

        She was just listing buildings that are in the pictures and still exist. One was the Ansonia and the other is Zabar’s.

    16. Brenda says:

      These are just great!!!! Picture #108 on the right was where the wonderful Tip Toe Inn (the Edison Cafe of its day) was eventually built…

      #109 on the right eventually had Woolworts and. Kresge’s, and, little known, the building on the left, was the original home to Parsons school, then known as the NY School,of Fine and Applied Art…yes the famed designer Adrian actually crossed that threshold!! …Keith’s became an RKO movie theatre…and the white building on the left was the beginning of Zabars…

      #101 the white building on the left is supposed to be the oldest original building still on Broadway…..guess Starbucks missed that one…

      could go on, but meanwhIe, thanks again so much..
      .these are older pictures than in any Dover books I’ve seen….

      • ML says:

        My first NY apartment was at 93 btwn B’way and West End. In the 70’s. It was not nearly as beautiful then, as a matter of fact it was a bit dangerous and run down (but affordable). 96th street was the cut-off, in those days. Except for Empire Szechuan which was just above 96th.

        I worked brunch at The Library at about 91st. It was a very cool place.

    17. Harriet says:

      Thanks Avi….for this great find !! Do you think you could get the rights to turn it into a calendar for 2016….and sell it only through WSR? I’d buy a few for sure.

      • West Sider says:

        Thanks. That’s a great idea but I imagine it would be quite difficult to get the rights to sell in a calendar. Might give it a try though. Avi

    18. webot says:

      Truly amazing shots! thank you

      Now those where the days ! – he said, snarkily – not the panic in needle park 1970s!

    19. Ellie Schweber says:

      Did anyone notice the Symphony theater on 95 street. Yes Symphony space used to be a movie theater until the early 80s

    20. S. Bonser says:

      The mansard roofed building north of 105th St. (in the center photo) at 108 st. and Broadway is the Manhasset, built in 1905. It stretches the entire block and it’s architectural facade is mirrored on 109th st. Our lobby on 108th st. was recently renovated back to it’s 1905 splendor including the original tile mosaic floor and stained glass windows!

    21. Bruce Bernstein says:

      great posting, Avi, thanks.

    22. DMH says:

      Love these photos! This is a little off-topic, but Friedland has put scaffolding up around the historic low-rise they own at 79th and 80th. I hope they don’t wreck another UWS block with a terrible looking project. It is amazing how out-of-context the Larstrand is, and how its retail completely turns its back on prime Broadway frontage.

      • Susan says:

        Sadly, they are tearing down 2/3 of the block and building yet another luxury condo building.

        • webot says:

          I think it will be another cheap rental and as bland as the new one they built with Marshalls in the retail.

          It is possible to build quality new residences – the Harrison and Laurette are two great examples.

          It is shame for all us that this owner does not recognize the benefits to them , us and the City to build grandly.

    23. naro` says:

      It was a livable city once. Way too overcrowded now, and getting worse.

    24. Paul RL says:

      Cool stuff and a bit heartbreaking. As beautiful as some of the cities in Europe are, 1920’s & 1930’s New York had them beat in my opinion. What was and could have been…!

    25. JDonnelly says:

      Thankyou.My Dad was born at 1499 Broadway/Brooklyn in 1904, 16 yrs old when these were taken.The beautiful city.Wish I had him here to see these & talk now.All the memories.At least I can see some of what he saw and lived with.Still no place like NYC.She was so beautiful back then, so innocent and young. Thanks for the pictures… :)Always wished we hadn’t moved from there. NYC will always be home to my heart.

    26. Elizabeth Seideman says:

      Amazing pictures. Notice very little traffic and no glass towers, just modest heights? A lot more attractive than current view. Thank goodness for Ansonia. Still here, still lovely. Unlike current ugly , faceless buildigs.

      • Many of those old buildings are still there today in today’s view. In many areas it hasn’t changed that much. A large portion of the UWS is over 100 years old. The urban renewal projects of the 1950’s removed many buildings, but many have remained.

        These older buildings have their faults as well. Those that remain have internal structural problems. Building systems that are archaic and in need of upgrading to meet modern standards and needs are prevalent in many of these buildings. Internal layouts that no longer serve modern needs.

        Labor was cheap and plentiful. Working conditions were poor and workers worked long hours to build many of these old buildings. I don’t think we can or should go back to the way things were done.

        Old architectural style is not necessarily superior to new styles. There are more exciting things that can be done in architecture today that can rival much of the early 20th century architecture on the UWS.

        3D printing and industrial CAD systems can be used to make many of the old external design components. We can easily duplicate many of these old style buildings, but why would you want to?

    27. NikFromNYC says:

      Smog + crappy lens = art.