I love this old photo. I’ve seen it many times over the years. This is my favorite area of NYC these days. I fell in love with it a couple of summers ago where I spent a few weeks. I’ve always had favorite parts of the city over the years and now it’s the Madison Square/Flatiron district. I like that it’s a few blocks from another favorite area of mine – Union Square, which you can get to by walking down Broadway a few blocks.
When I look at this photo I see almost everything that is still there today. The Victory Arch was temporary, it’s made of wood and it’s something they did at that time to commemorate things – this was a tribute to New York soldiers who fought in World War I. It was erected in 1918, over 100 years ago. It’s at 24th Street and 5th Avenue in the photo.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked on that exact spot. Broadway is to the right of the photo and 5th Avenue is to the left. That’s where they meet and form Madison Square, at the Flatiron Building, which is straight ahead. That’s Madison Square Park to the left (I recently stood there to watch a parade this summer). On the other side of the park is where the original Madison Square Garden was built in the 1800s. It’s now the site of the Met Life Building, which was built in 1909. So many times I sat across from that building on Madison Avenue, where it’s a quiet area of the park/city.
In this photo you can see the building to the right which has Eataly in part of the first floor now and to the right almost out of the photo is a place where there is a chicken restaurant that I like. I think that’s it.
What’s great about this part of Broadway is that it’s a very small street – the original Broadway and it doesn’t get much use. Traffic takes 5th Avenue instead. There’s a Starbucks on Broadway at 26th that I use a lot. And that gold dome behind the Flatiron Building at 170 5th Avenue is known as the Sohmer Piano Building because they were an original tenant there. It was built in 1897. It’s condos now.
The photo is taken from the Porcelanosa Building, which I love, too. It wasn’t there at that time, but it’s a great building now that faces the Flatiron Building. And that obelisk in the photo is still there today. It was installed in 1856. There’s a body under it! It’s General William Jenkins Worth’s mausoleum. he fought in the War of 1812.
Anyway, that one photo says so much to me. It tells so many stories.
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