The Manhattan Bridge from Washington Street, 1908 and 2015.
We’ve been going through the Dumbo NYC archives, and one of our favorite features by far is Then And Now, a look at Dumbo, Brooklyn through the years. Looking at historical photos of the neighborhood, courtesy of the New York Public Library and the New York City Municipal Archives, you can see how much the neighborhood has changed over the years. (For that matter, you can see how much it’s changed since DumboNYC started in 2006!)
Here are some of the best pics from our past posts in the Then And Now series… more to come in the near future! (more…)
Note: We’ve been looking back thru the DumboNYC archive and unearthing some gems. We’ll republish from time to time. Enjoy!
This post was originally published July 23, 2007.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted “Dumbo Streetscapes Then and Now” photos. Here, we are looking north down Jay Street (towards Manhattan) from Front Street. Step outside to the right out of the York Street Station on the F train and this is the view you see. In the first photo, the 68 Jay Street building is front and center with a sliver of 20 Jay Street behind it and a faint view of the Empire State Building across the river. This 70 year photo (1937), by photographer, Percy Loomis Sperr, show the water towers on the 68 Jay Street building (currently removed, except for the base). On the right side of the photo, there are buildings which no longer exist. The Jehovah’s Witness lot (85 Jay Street) currently occupies a parking lot there. On the back of the photo:
Jay Street, west side, north from a point south of Front Street, to the East River. In order, are the buildings occupied by the Grant Union Tea Co.; the John Maury Paint Co.; and the Arbuckle Bros. Coffee Co. In the background towering over Manhattan, is the Empire State Building. (March 9, 1937)
We’ve done two similar versions (here and here) of this shot before, but a reader sent us his version of the view down Washington Street in Dumbo from 1974 vs today. The 1974 photo of course had no luxury loft buildings and was desolate (according to our artist friends who were here at the time). The streets were not maintained much, until the restoration of the Belgian blocks in June 2011.
The old photo above, courtesy of New York City Municipal Archives, from 1908 of Manhattan Bridge shows the bridge under construction. 870,000 photographs of New York and its municipal operations have been made public for the first time on the internet. The city Department of Records officially announced the debut of the photo database yesterday.
Above is one of the photos that was released (on Yahoo News):
“In this June 5, 1908 photo provided by the New York City Municipal Archives, the superstructure from the Manhattan Bridge rises above Washington Street in New York. Over 870,000 photos from an archive that exceeds 2.2 million images have been scanned and made available online, for the first time giving a global audience a view of a rich collection that documents life in New York City. (AP Photo/New York City Municipal Archives, Department of Bridges/Plant & Structures, Eugene de Salignac)”
The high resolution photo, courtesy of Shorpy, from 1903 of Brooklyn Bridge is full of rich detail. The view of Brooklyn from the Manhattan side shows the Brooklyn shore between Navy Yards to Brooklyn Heights. Above is a detailed portion of the photo of what’s now Dumbo. You’ll see some Gair Buildings (one on Washington Street that says “Robert Gair: If it’s made of paper we have it”), the 167 Sands Street building, which was completed in 1902, the Tobacco Warehouse, and the two and three story wood frame buildings where 1 Main Street now sits (built in 1916). Not pictured in the above detail, but is shown in the original photo is the Eagle Warehouse building, Old Fulton Street, and the original Fulton El Terminal (which was demolished, and now is Cadman Plaza) with trolleys crossing the bridge.