Friday, August 06, 2010

one more 5th Avenue coach

Here is yet another Fifth Avenue Coach, taken once again by a photographer working for the Detroit Photograph Co. and once again found in collections of the Prints and Photos Division of the Library of Congress.

The camera faces northwest and Madison Park lies just behind it. Across the street and a bit uptown is the Brunswick Hotel, noted as the home of the Coaching Club, which held carriage parades up 5th Avenue. I've previously written about this part of Fifth Avenue and about gentlemanly coaching.[1]

Here are some detailed views from this photo.

1. In all three photos, the horses seem to have been color coordinated: chestnuts, dapple greys, and, here, whites. These, unlike the others, seem to adopt what is considered to be the proper mirror-image gait. Once again the harness fittings are reduced to a minimum.

2. The passengers atop are all gents this time, three very similar in appearance and the other in cloth cap yet with jacket and stiff white collar.

3. I asked how women managed to get themselves up to the roof seats without embarrassment. Here you see the path that all passengers take to get there. It's quite remarkable that in those genteel times, encumbered with many layers of clothing as they were, women handled this task well.

4. The coach really isn't in focus. You can tell there are many inside but not much about them.

5. There's a watchful cat in this window of the Mark Cross emporium. The display is somewhat of a jumble, not the elegance you'd expect.


See also:

Fifth Avenue Coach Company Collection, Historical Note

Fifth Avenue Coach Company Collection, The New-York Historical Society

Fifth Avenue Coach Company

Fifth Avenue, New York, from start to finish

Fifth Avenue, New York (1911)

Fifth Avenue, New York (1911)
These photographs, first published in Fifth Avenue, New York, from start to finish (1911), depict the fashionable thoroughfare of Fifth Avenue. The images, complete with captions indicating addresses and the names of businesses and shops, show us a Fifth Avenue in the years following the height of its popularity as a fashionable residential district and the early stages of its transformation into one of the world's premiere luxury commercial streets.

Flipping through these photographs allows us to take a virtual stroll along Fifth Avenue from Washington Square up to Central Park, passing other pedestrians, carriages, cops, and storefronts long since gone. Among other gems, you'll come across the newly constructed New York Public Library, now the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, in the days before the lions came to guard the entrance.

The original publication and similar collections of historical images of New York City can be found in the collection of the Irma and Paul Milstein Division of United States History, Local History & Genealogy in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on 42nd Street. You can contact the Milstein Division by visiting us in person or by sending us an e-mail at

Fifth Avenue, New York, from start to finish

Streetscape and Townscape of Metropolitan New York City, 1860-1942

Fifth Avenue Stage: 1900



[1] Here is a short list of my previous posts on these topics:
[2] When this photo appeared on Shorpy not long ago, it attracted some interesting comments. One said, "The Fifth Avenue Coach company went bankrupt back in around 1955-1960, and with it, all of the pensions of former and existing employees. The grandfather of a friend of mine was a victim." Another: "Beautiful team of horses who know exactly what they are doing." A third: "The stables took up the whole block between 88th and 89th Streets, were four stories tall, and housed over 250 horses. Its neighbors were continually filing complaints with the city because of the 'noxious odors', as well as perpetual stamping and neighing of horses in their stalls, which made sleep impossible." And: "Cross Chambers, with its shop cat in the window, 210 Fifth Avenue, was a 12 story building with the Cross business establishment on the four lowest floors, and 'Bachelor Apartments' above."

1 comment:

jay said...

I'd like to ask a question about this photo...would you please contact me at 9trinity at Thanks!