Vintage Photos Compared Then and Now

Vintage Photos Compared Then and Now
I’m a bit of a history geek. Trivia is sort of my thing. And history is basically arcane trivia that was out of date moments after it happened. I totally dig the Hardcore History podcast and pretty much anything like it.

With that said, I like geeking out on the website – which posts old old photographs of people and places that probably haven’t circulated in forever. One recent post out there truly captivated my attention. Basically they are all photos of New York City back at the turn of the century (not millennium, the century) and I just couldn’t stop staring at them.

So much so, I thought, maybe I should contact people near there and get photos of the locations now. Hrm. How would I do that? Yelp? Foursquare? (I should build an app for this!) And that was when I realized, ‘I’m an Idiot… I can just use Google Maps!’ And so I did. I began hunting down photo after photo in an attempt to figure out where all these places are today and what they look like. Some are immediately recognizable. And some were so unrecognizable I didn’t even know if it really was the same location.


The original photo above is listed as ‘The Fruiterers, 28th Street and Broadway, circa 1905’. Tracking it down wasn’t too hard seeing as though the building is still standing and was easily recognizable. Definitely lacks the quaint horse and buggies and the gorgeous black and white photography… the building has seen better days, that’s for sure. But it’s nice to know its still there!




Caption on this photo was – “Union Square, circa 1900”. This was very difficult to suss out. I believe this is the right location – at least 90% anyway! I know it’s at the very least within a block of the right location if nothing else. That is Union Square on the left. But as they don’t run many trollies these days, who knows?


The caption for this photo was, “The American Seaman’s Friend Society Sailors’ Home, Jane and West Streets, circa 1908” – which looks surprisingly similar to the photo taken over 107 years earlier.

And this is ‘Prospect Park, Ocean Parkway Entrance Looking West, 1904’ then and now. I enjoyed these statues so much I did some searching and researching about them. Apparently they have a pretty storied past which you can read more about here if you are interested.


‘Sunday Parading on 5th Avenue at 47th Street, circa 1901’. I enjoyed the parading masses on this photo so much I thought pretty seriously about lifting all the people off of this shot and dropping them into the modern day photo. May still do it just to see how it looks.


And here we have, ‘The Arch at Washington Square Park, circa 1900’. Obviously this is one of the most easily identifiable photos then and now in the list. Even looks almost as equally well even probably because it has been very well kept up over the years.

Then-and-now-7And here we have “Saint Mark’s on the Bowery, 2nd Avenue maps between 1oth and 11th Streets, circa 1900.” Obviously all the cobblestone is gone, and the trolly tracks as well. And it looks like 2nd Avenue has moved much closer to the church as well. But otherwise, its still very similar today.


‘The Union League Club, 5th Avenue and 39th Street, circa 1900’ – this one took me quite a while to figure out for sure. Because, I mean, look at it!  hahaha. It’s sort of similar, but not really. The whole top of the building has been raised and a new one built in its place.

Again, this was a little project that I did just for myself. I was curious what the differences might be. And I wasn’t even intending to share what I found… but seeing as though I had the photos I thought, heck why not. Maybe you guys have enjoyed it half as much as I did finding the modern day versions of these locations.