History of NYC - 1860s

The 1860s were a time of reconstruction after the Civil War in 1865. The nation completed its first transcontinental railroad in 1868, the same year NYC completed its the first elevated train. This era also marked the beginning of the Skyscraper Age which would define the skyline for ages to come.

1868: A Bird's Eye View of Manhattan

An artist's panoramic illustration where lower Manhattan, New Jersey and both Hudson and the East Rivers, Brooklyn and Queens are visible in the distance.

1867: Brooklyn Bridge Under Construction

Photograph show men on the scaffolds during the construction of what was known at the time as the Great East River Bridge.

1860: Jack Frost in Brooklyn

Photograph of a frozen fountain in a Brooklyn neighborhood during the winter.

1865: Aerial View of Broadway

Photograph shows traffic and businesses along Broadway, one of the busiest streets in the city. Taken by George Stacy in 1865.

1860: Instantaneous Broadway View

A slightly elevated perspective of a bustling street known as Broadway, which remains a hub of commerce and culture to this day.

1865: Broadway and the Bank of the Republic, NYC

Photograph taken in 1865 shows the "National Bank of the Republic" (NBR) surrounded by other commercial buildings, pedestrians and traffic on Broadway.

1860: Chatham Square Elevated Railroad

A photograph of Chatham Square shows storefronts, pedestrians and horse drawn wagons.

1865: Aerial View of General Worth Square

Aerial View of General Worth Square on 25th Street between Broadway and Fifth Avenue. It is the second oldest monument in any New York City park.

1860: Police Officers in Uniform

Group portrait of policemen, standing in rows in front of a Metropolitan building with their hands crossed in front of them and guns resting at their sides.

1860: Aerial View of Union Square

A view of 14th Street and 4th Avenue looking northwest over the Washington's Equestrian Statue at Union Square, New York City.

1863: Church of the Ascension, Fifth Avenue and Tenth Street

The Church of the Ascension is an Episcopal church in the Diocese of New York. It was completed in 1840-41, the first church to be built on Fifth Avenue.

1863: Trinity Church on Broadway, in front of Wall Street

An early photograph of Trinity Church on Broadway next to Wall Street. Taken by George Stacy in 1863.

1869: Scene of Squatters Living near Central Park

An artist's rendering of Squatters near Central Park living among farm animals in their shacks.

1865: Prospect Rock at Prospect Park

Photograph of a man in a suit perched atop one of the prominent rock formations at Prospect Park, Brooklyn.

1865: Hudson River Highlands

This amazing photograph of the Hudson River in the year 1865 gives us a glimpse into the ancient topography of New York City.


Next Chapter: History of NYC - 1870s

In 1870, Long Island City was formed in Queens. Four years later, New York City annexed the West Bronx, west of the Bronx River. This era would come to be known as "the Gilded A... Continue Reading

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NYC 10,000+ Years Ago

Learn all about NYC’s fascinating past by exploring the natural forces that shaped the environment and landscape, along with the people who would transform the “Island of Many Hills” into the greatest and most influential city in the world.


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