New York City Illustrated, 1910

Penn Station and the Subway, from New York Illustrated 1910

Penn Station and the Subway, from New York Illustrated 1910

This miniature book published by the New York Souvenir Mfg. Co. in 1910 is the sort of inexpensive memento a tourist might take home after a visit to the city — and, indeed, though I live in New York I bought this in Italy a century or so after the purchaser’s visit.  But time creates value: its pages reveal a city that hardly exists anymore.  A single page shows the subway, which remains a central element in the city experience, and the not yet completed Penn Station, which was inaugurated 27 November 1910 and has long since been torn down to the regret of almost everyone who ever saw it.  Skyscrapers once described as architectural wonders are now dwarfed by nondescript towers many times their height; some have been dismantled as too short to be economically viable in this ever-higher city.  Union Square and the Bowery are unrecognizable today compared to their earlier illustrations; the latter, in part, because the elevated tracks were removed decades ago.  And Printing House Square?  Only old timers will even have heard the name…

The old Bowery, from New York Illustrated 1910

The old Bowery, from New York Illustrated 1910

Printing House Square, from New York Illustrated 1910

Printing House Square, from New York Illustrated 1910

The Singer Building, from New York Illustrated 1910

The Singer Building, from New York Illustrated 1910

Union Square, from New York Illustrated 1910

Union Square, from New York Illustrated 1910

Share

Comments are closed.