New York City in the 1870s

1873: Sunrise Over New York Harbor

An aerial view of the southern tip of Manhattan during the early morning hours. Illustration includes the shores of Brooklyn and New Jersey.

1873: Central Park and Midtown Manhattan

A bird’s-eye view of New York with Central Park in the foreground.

1874: Central Park, New York

A drawing which shows New Yorkers enjoying the foliage and scenery at Central Park.

1871: Lake Manahatta Reservoir

The Lake Manahatta Reservoir was built between 1858 and 1862 as a temporary water supply for the city, receiving water from the Croton Aqueduct.

1873: View Over Union Square

Views of Union Square, including the park, equestrian statue of George Washington, and the rustic buildings which once inhabited the neighborhood.

1876: Washington Equestrian Statue from Above

An elevated perspective of the Washington Statue at Union Square, surrounded by crowds of people and decorated for Decoration Day.

1876: Washington Equestrian Statue

Washington Statue at Union Square, decorated with foliage and flags for Decoration Day.

1871: St. Patrick's Day at Union Square

Print shows portion of a St. Patrick’s Day parade at Union Square with a float in the center bearing a bust of Daniel O’Connell.

1870: Madison Square

Photograph of a row of buildings and storefronts taken from the perspective of Madison Square Park.

1875: Grand Central Depot

The Grand Central Depot was built by Cornelius Vanderbilt in 1871 on the site we know today as Grand Central Terminal.

1870: Elevated Railroad Station

Photograph of an elevated railroad station constructed by the Manhattan Railway Company.

1870: Elevated Station on a Busy Street

A train is stopped at an elevated station on a street filled with pedestrians and horse drawn coaches.

1870: Immigrants Just Arrived at Ellis Island

A photograph of the waiting room at Ellis Island, where recently arrived immigrants await examination.

1875: Market Under The East River Bridge

Photograph of a bustling street market below the overpass of the Brooklyn Bridge

1876: Lincoln Monument at Union Square on Decoration Day

An elevated view of celebrations at Union Square Park on Decoration Day, or as we would currently know it, Memorial Day.

1871: Frederick Douglass at Brooklyn Navy Yard

Frederick Douglass with The Commissioners to Santo Domingo, Brooklyn Navy Yard, January 1871

1870: Brooklyn Navy Yard

Silver photographic print of Brooklyn Navy Yard dry dock, which will be flooded as soon as the ship is completed and seaworthy.

1877: Demolition of Buildings for East River Bridge

An inevitable consequence of the construction of the East River Bridge was that numerous buildings would need to be demolished to clear the way for the approach on the Manhattan side.

1879: The Great East River Bridge

A color lithograph of what we know today as the Brooklyn Bridge, which was constructed over the course of this decade.

1873: Downtown Manhattan from Above

A bird’s-eye view of New York with Battery Park in the foreground and the Brooklyn Bridge on the right.

1876: The Centennial Fourth at Union Square

A drawing which shows a night of celebration in Union Square on July 4th, 1876, exactly 100 years since the nation’s founding.

1873: The Great Financial Panic

Illustration depicting the sub-treasury overrun by the public on Friday Sept. 19th at the Intersection of Nassau and Broad Streets with Wall Street.

1875: The Tribune Building

The Tribune Building, on the site of two previous Tribune buildings, was announced in 1873 and completed in 1875 to designs by Richard Morris Hunt.

1874: The Staats-Zeitung Building

The Staats-Zeitung Building was the headquarters of a German newspaper located in what many referred to as Printing House Square due to the number of publishers.

1870: B.T. Babbit Factory

Drawing from elevated perspective shows a soap factory in lower Manhattan, from West St. looking northeast, with wharf in foreground and Equitable Building in the background.

1872: Homeless New Yorkers

Life sketches in the metropolis depicting the city’s homeless poor during the early morning hours in Donovan Lane, near the Five Points.

1872: Water Street Lodging for the Homeless

A portrait drawn from life by Matt Morgan depicting his midnight visit to one of the cheap lodging houses in Water Street.

1870: Washington Market Butchers

A group of butchers pose together in front of their shop in what is known today as Tribeca.

1874: Manhattan and Governor's Island

Elevated perspective of New York showing the waterfront, Brooklyn Bridge, with Battery Park and Governors Island in the foreground

New York City Before 10,000 BC

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.

Curated by Fine Print NYC

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