Wednesday, May 02, 2012

West Twenty-Third east from Sixth

I've written quite a few posts about the area where Broadway and Fifth Avenue come together in New York City. Their topics were the Flatiron Building, which dominates that intersection; Madison Square Park, which adjoins it; and locations in the vicinity that were associated with my great-grandfather, Louis Windmuller.*

I've also done some posts about the block of 23rd Street that lies between Fifth and Sixth Avenues at this location. They are 23rd St., New York Newsstand, 1903, and Eden Musee, a major attraction at mid-block.

Those posts give lots of views of the area. Here are just a couple more. They were taken at the same general time and from same general place as the one in the first of the three posts listed above, and they can be found in collections of the Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress.

{Caption: West Twenty-third Street from Sixth Avenue, New York, N.Y. by the Detroit Publishing Co., ca. 1908}

Details of this image:

1. We're looking at the south side of the block. The photographer has positioned himself at the foot of the stairs to the elevated railway at 6th Avenue and 23rd. He's facing east. As you see, it's late in the afternoon on a warm but overcast day. The Flatiron Building dominates the skyline, but its the department stores, shops, and most of all the bustle of the street which attracts the eye.

2. This is the north side of the block with Eden Musee, F.A.O. Schwarz toys, and the Fifth Avenue Hotel dominating the scene.

3. Best & Co., the famous women's shop, then marketed itself as the Lilliputian Bazaar. Notice that the large plate glass windows reflect the buildings opposite.

4. You can see the reflections more clearly here.

5. A display of women's fashions on the second floor. The shop is Best & Co.'s neighbor, Bonwit Teller.

The negative of this second photo is getting moldy, but most of it is still in good shape. The photographer seems to be standing on the top of a hansom cab (horse's head just visible at bottom).

{Caption: West Twenty-third Street, New York, N.Y. by Detroit Publishing Co., ca. 1908}


1. The Eden Musee again. I did a blog post about this place, whose board of directors had Louis Windmuller as a member.

2. You see that it's about 1:16 PM, so this photo was made earlier in the day, possibly the very same hazy day as the first photo.

3. Here again the glass reflects the scene across the street. The gent with the light colored top hat is a bit more dapper than the others. The women almost seem to be in uniform.

4. Seen more closely, the gent appears to be looking directly at the photographer.

5. This shows two women who are out of uniform, one all in black, the other in a light dress instead of skirt and shirtwaist.



* See for example:

1 comment:

ronfrankl said...

Wonderful post and excellent analysis. It's striking how little the buildings on this stretch of 23rd Street have changed over the last century, unlike so many other blocks in the city.