New York City in the 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 in 1868

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

1865: Aerial View of Broadway, New York City

Photograph shows traffic and businesses along Broadway, New York City, New York.

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 shows the “National Bank of the Republic” (NBR), “National Bank Note Company” at right, other commercial buildings, pedestrians and traffic on Broadway.

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

An early photograph of Trinity Church on Broadway.

1865: Aerial View of Fifth Avenue, NYC

1865 photograph shows commercial buildings, pedestrians and street traffic at Fifth Avenue in New York City. Includes the Worth Monument in the distance.

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 built at 36–38 Fifth Avenue and West 10th Street in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan New York City.

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: Elevated View of Central Park

A photograph of Central Park in its pristine and far less developed stage, compared to what we know today.

1865: Archway and Footpath in Central Park

Photograph of a man in a suit standing pensively on a bridge overlooking the arched footpath beneath.

1865: Central Park Stonework

A unique perspective revealing the ornate patterns of Central Park’s stonework.

1865: Central Park Terrace Stone Work

A detailed view of Central Park’s terrace masonry.

1865: Music Pavilion in Central Park, NYC

A photograph of the Music Pavilion on a quiet and overcast autumn day.

1869: Manhattan Market, Foot of West 34th Street

A photograph of Manhattan Market, created by Architect H. G. Harrison at 34th Street, New York City in 1869

1863: George Washington Statue at Union Square, NYC

George Washington is a large bronze sculpture of George Washington by John Quincy Adams Ward, originally installed on the front steps of Federal Hall National Memorial on Wall Street in New York City.

1868: Aerial View of Union Square and 4th Avenue

Instantaneous Panoramic View of Union Square, flanked on the right side by the famous electric trolley cars that once served as mass transit.

1868: Union Square and and 4th Avenue During Rush Hour

A northeast view of Union Square and 4th Avenue crowded by trolleys and pedestrians during peak hours.

1868: Light Traffic at Union Square and Broadway

Aerial view of Union Square on an overcast morning. The streets are sparsly dotted with pedestrians and street cars.

1868: Northern View of Union Square and Broadway

A photograph shows a famous intersection of downtown Manhattan, lined with trolleys and a vastly different urban landscape.

1869: The Equitable Building

Construction began at 120 Broadway on the Equitable Building in 1868. It was completed in 1870.

1860: New York Post Office

New York City’s original, Multi-storied post office building. The building is characterized by arched windows and columns on each level.

1861: Stores on the Corner of Pearl & Chatham

An illustration of a busy corner of downtown Manhattan. The corner of Chatham and Pearl Streets were home to many markets and storehouses.

1860: New York Historical Society

The New York Historical Society, when it was located at 2nd Avenue and 11th Street.

1869: Underground Lodgings for the Poor at Greenwich Street

Housing was often organized by local communities to provide food and shelter to those most in need.

1869: South Street Seaport, Piers 17 & 18

Piers 17 and 18, located in the South Street Historic District Extension, stand as physical evidence of the water-oriented economy of New York City in its developmental years.

1869: Wall Street Ferry, Brooklyn, New York in Distance

A lone silhouette under a shaded pedestrian overpass is captured against the backdrop of Wall Street’s ferry and Brooklyn in the distance

A Visual History of Mannahatta to New Amsterdam up to Present Day.

Learn about NYC’s fascinating past and explore 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.

Prehistoric Roots of NYC.

Curated by Fine Print NYC

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