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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.

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.

Artist Credit: George Stacy. Reprinted with permission.

1865: Archway and Footpath in Central Park

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

Artist Credit: George Stacy. Reprinted with permission.

1865: Central Park Stonework

A unique perspective revealing the ornate patterns of Central Park's stonework designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux.

Artist Credit: George Stacy. Reprinted with permission.

1865: Central Park Terrace Stone Work

A detailed view of Central Park's terrace masonry. The terrace was one of the very first structures to have been built in the park.

Artist Credit: George Stacy. Reprinted with permission.

1865: Music Pavilion in Central Park

A photograph of the Music Pavilion on a quiet and overcast autumn day. Taken by George Stacy in 1865.

Artist Credit: George Stacy. Reprinted with permission.

1869: Manhattan Market on West 34th Street

The Manhattan Market was located on 34th to 35th Streets and 12th Avenue (future site of the Jacob Javits Convention Center).

Artist Credit: Celia Orgel. Reprinted with permission.

1863: George Washington Statue at Union Square, NYC

Photograph by George Stacy showing the bronze sculpture of George Washington by John Quincy Adams Ward, originally installed at Federal Hall National Memorial.

Artist Credit: George Stacy. Reprinted with permission.

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.

Artist Credit: Peter F. Weil. Reprinted with permission.

1868: Union Square and 4th Avenue During Rush Hour

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

Artist Credit: Peter F. Weil. Reprinted with permission.

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.

Artist Credit: Peter F. Weil. Reprinted with permission.

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.

Artist Credit: Peter F. Weil. Reprinted with permission.

1869: The Original Equitable Building

The original Equitable Building was completed in 1870 and is part of history for being the world's first office building to feature passenger elevators.

Artist Credit: Unknown. Reprinted with permission.

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.

Artist Credit: Unknown. Reprinted with permission.

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.

Artist Credit: Unknown. Reprinted with permission.

1860: New York Historical Society and Museum

Painting by Richard Morris Hunt shows The New York Historical Society at its original location on the corner of 11th Street and 2nd Avenue.

Artist Credit: Richard Morris Hunt. Reprinted with permission.

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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History of 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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