The New York Public Library has recently released even more digitized images from their vast collection, including more than 180,000 in the public domain. While browsing, one of the first collections I came across was a book published in 1911, titled Fifth Avenue, New York, From Start to Finish, with wide-angle streetview photographs made by photographer Burton Welles more than a century ago. I thought it would be fun to revisit those same locations using Google Maps Streetview images from today, to see what differences are visible. Some views look remarkably unchanged, while others are completely unrecognizable. The images are stacked on top of each other—unfortunately they never quite lined up enough to make use of my then-and-now fader widget. (Adding a note: I just discovered that the NYPL made their own wonderful then-and-now viewer for this same set of images.)
Starting in the south, near Washington Square Park, this image looks west from 5th Avenue, down West 8th Street. In the 1911 photo, the building at left is a private residence, at right, an office of the Edison Company.
Looking down West 36th Street, the private residences and shops at right have been replaced by a modern building, while most of the arches of the building at left remain visible, despite a new facade on the 5th Avenue side. Note the heights of the newer buildings looking down 36th.
A workman stands in front of a distinctive set of 3 arched windows on 5th Avenue, between East 38th and East 39th Street. In 1911, the shops were, from left, Knabe Piano Co., Benson and Hedges Tobacconists, Hardman Piano Co., John M. Crapo Linens, Ludwig Schultze Interior Decorations, and Siebrecht, a florist. In the 2014 view, from left, Payless Shoes, a new bakery under construction, Prima Donna clothing, GNC nutrition store, and a Sleepy's mattress store.
In 1911, Fifth Ave at East 93rd Street was home to a number of billboards touting stage performances, bacon, whiskey, and a speedometer. At right, a private residence. Today, nothing remains from either side of the street.