Click to search the Andrew Heiskell Braille and Talking Book Library Skip Navigation

NYC Neighborhoods

Fifth Avenue From Start to Finish: The 1911 Equivalent of Google Street View


[Washington Arch - No. 12 Apartment house, West 8th St.], Digital ID 1113225, New York Public Library

One of the treasures of the New York Public Library is the photographic publication "Fifth Avenue, New York, From Start to Finish." Luckily for us, this rare and beautiful collection of photographs has been digitized for anyone to view at any time — with the added advantage of being able to zoom in and truly examine the world in 1911 all up and down New York City's central avenue. Let's take a walk up Fifth Avenue in 1911 and see what kind of interesting things there are. You can click on any image if you would like to zoom in for more details. In the above panorama, you can see the Washington Square Arch at the far left.

[No. 450 Mirror, candies - Knox, hatter - New Public Library - West 42nd St.], Digital ID 1113263, New York Public Library

Of course our most favorite image is a picture of our lovely marble "People's Palace." This picture is especially interesting because it was taken in the year that our library opened to the public.

[No. 1 Wm. Butler Duncan, East 7th St. - No. 19 Dr. E.L. Partridge, East 8th St.], Digital ID 1113226, New York Public LibraryAbove we see some fantastic early model cars as well as the Hotel Brevoort, which is represented in our menu collection.

[No. 23 Daniel E. Sickles- No. 41 Miss M.L. Kennedy, East 10th St.], Digital ID 1113228, New York Public Library

On this block we find the home of J.A. Scriven, inventor of Scriven's Patent Elastic Seam Drawers.

[No. 49 John Dallert, East 12th St.-No. 61 Wernz & Koehne, East 13th St.], Digital ID 1113230, New York Public Library

The United States Aeronautical Reserve is on this block, an organization that in the previous year awarded a "Bomb Throwing Trophy." Read the full article via the New York Times Historical database, on site at any NYPL location.

[West 13th St. No. 72 - Princess Corsets - Ed. Pinaud, perfumerie - West 14th St. -No. 86 S.N. Wood & Co.], Digital ID 1113231, New York Public Library

Corsets were popular women's undergarments at the time and you could buy one on this block at Princess Corsets.

[No. 79 Stern & Stern - Houghton Mifflin Co. - Julius Strauss, laces - East 18th St.], Digital ID 1113236, New York Public Library

The Houghton Mifflin Publishers are near E. 17th Street while just a few blocks up you'll find Charles Scribner's Sons publishers near E. 21st Street.

[No. 99 Cohen Bros. & Co. - Bamberg & Risser - Lord & Taylor, East 19th St.], Digital ID 1113238, New York Public Library

There is a Lord & Taylor Dry Goods on this block, a bit more humble than its current incarnation on Fifth Avenue, famous for its Christmas season window displays.

[No. 200-202, Berlitz School - Mark Cross - Cafe Martin - No. 224], Digital ID 1113245, New York Public LibraryThis image is great because you will realize that photo manipulation came long before Photoshop. This policeman is altered artistically. Also, you can spot the Berlitz school of languages, a company that is still making language learning materials today.

There are so many lovely things to see in this collection. Check out the Flatiron Building, Madison Square Park, the Metropolitan Life Tower, Saint Patrick's Cathedral, the Waldorf-Astoria (before it moved to make room for the Empire State Building), the Lenox Library, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Windsor Arcade which was destroyed in a fire. See the homes of famous residents such as Cornelius Vanderbilt, S.R. Guggenheim, Charles W. Morse, Andrew Carnegie, William Roosevelt, John Jacob Astor, and the Havemeyers. There are famous businesses such as the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, Brentano's, Edison & Co., FAO Schwarz, Tiffany & Co., Benson & Hedges Tobacconists, Singer Sewing Machines, and Delmonico's. There are even old billboard ads to gawk at. Poke around and see what you can find!


Patron-generated content represents the views and interpretations of the patron, not necessarily those of The New York Public Library. For more information see NYPL's Website Terms and Conditions.

Post new comment