A "pictorial description of Broadway" in engravings
February 15, 2010 10:07 AM   Subscribe

Broadway, block by block, 1899. (SLNYPL) "A 19th century version of Google's Street View, allowing us to flip through the images block by block, passing parks, churches, novelty stores, furriers, glaziers, and other businesses of the city's past."
posted by GrammarMoses (17 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Heh, in one of them you can spot a gentleman in a bowler hat who was peeing on a wall when the engraving artist came by.
posted by brain_drain at 10:23 AM on February 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

Neat but I wish that they were a little bigger than 760 x 288, I can't read any of the captions.
posted by octothorpe at 10:30 AM on February 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

I can see my (old) house from here. Although totally without architectural distinction, then or now, it has survived.
posted by Faze at 10:33 AM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

billing it as an immersive experience à la Google Street View is a bit of an over sell.

Yes, I fully expected a virtual reality download from an 1899 link. VERY DISAPPOINTED, INTERNET!
posted by DU at 10:39 AM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

Hey octothorpe: You can see them close up at the NYPL Digital Gallery here: http://bit.ly/bt5Z1R . (I probably should have put that info in the FPP as well... d'oh!)
posted by GrammarMoses at 10:41 AM on February 15, 2010

But then you wouldn't have been able to use your SLNYPL acronym. (Which might should be SLNYPLL?)
posted by bitslayer at 10:45 AM on February 15, 2010

Here's the direct link, and yeah, it should have been in the post; it would have spared me some time peering and squinting. But I'm not going to snark—this is a terrific post and I'm grateful for it.
posted by languagehat at 11:06 AM on February 15, 2010

I liked it, VR or not. I'm just happy 'block by block' didn't mean 'done in Lego.'
posted by Hardcore Poser at 11:12 AM on February 15, 2010

I can see my house from then!

(seriously cool)
posted by The Whelk at 11:20 AM on February 15, 2010

Why would they bother uploading them to Flickr at low resolutions? And then linking back to their own site with the full-res ones? It's like they kind of get the internet but not really.
posted by smackfu at 11:32 AM on February 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

smackfu, it's probably because they want to charge you $30 - $275 each for prints of the images. If they put the full-size images on Flickr, you could print them out yourself.
posted by octothorpe at 12:10 PM on February 15, 2010

The left most building in this picture was designed by Cass Gilbert, who did the Woolworth building among other things. At that time it was the tallest building in the world. (At least I think so, the Chambers and Broadway building is listed as being completed in 1900, and I'm not going to walk over there and check, but it looks about right.)
posted by StickyCarpet at 12:58 PM on February 15, 2010

Needs a soundtrack. (Hint: start the YouTube video of your choice in one tab, then open the picture set as a Slideshow.)
posted by hangashore at 12:58 PM on February 15, 2010

Interesting. Following one at random, and checking out the modern street view, you can see where the buildings on the end of the block were demolished to make way for a wider Houston St., which also explains why the facades facing Houston are blank and ugly. Too bad.
posted by alexei at 2:20 PM on February 15, 2010

It's cool to know that the desk where I worked in the Strand's Rare Book Room, at the turn of this century, was filled by a gumshoe at the Fuller Detective Agency at the turn of the last.
posted by Beardman at 4:04 PM on February 15, 2010

I so need an iPhone so I can compare on my walk to work - the only thing I recognize from memory is Bowling Green park. Very cool pics.
posted by double bubble at 4:44 PM on February 15, 2010

"...passing parks, churches, novelty stores, furriers..."

I can't have been the only one who did a double-take after reading that as "furries".
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 6:45 PM on February 15, 2010

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