Historical Brooklyn Photography – Examination

In today’s post we are going to travel through time and examine various historical photographs of Brooklyn New York. The photographs that we are going to display and explore are going to range in content and subject. Some photographs will contain architectural elements such as the Brooklyn Bridge, other photographs will display group photographs of lets say … the Brooklyn Dodgers. After each photograph we will give a brief synopsis of the content and examine various elements of the photograph that stand out in terms of historical significance. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to comment below!

Streets of Brooklyn by the Brooklyn Bridge (1889)

This is a great photograph as you can clearly see the Brooklyn bridge off in the background. I also love the man in the foreground as it gives perspective to the size of the Brooklyn bridge. If you notice the tree to the left of the street, it is bear with no leaves upon it. This indicates to me that this photograph was taken either during a late fall or winter time period. I can also conclude this because the man walking towards the camera seems to be warmly dressed. Another interesting aspect within the photograph seems to be the street itself. It is completely composed of cobblestone, which is probably much different than it exists today.

 Brooklyn NY Blizzard of 1888 (1888)

I like this photograph alot! you get to see the aftermath of a major snowstorm that hit the Brooklyn New York area. Also what I find interesting is the clothing attire for people during the winter. It seems women back in 1888 wore there hair up in beanie like headwear. The snow accumulation from this snowstorm seems to be about 4-6 feet high.

Brooklyn Bridge Railway (1900 – 1910)

This is a great looking photograph as you get to see what the Brooklyn bridge railway was like back in the early 1900’s. In the foreground of the photograph you clearly see a moving trolly. Towards the back of the photograph and on the left hand side you see several billboard advertisements such as a suit tailor advertisement. Upon zooming into this photograph the price of a 2 piece suit back in the early 1900’s was advertised on this sign for $14.50. Even farther back from this billboard advertisement, I see another advertisement displaying an ad for Curley shaving razors. Towards the middle section of the bridge you can see several pedestrians walking the bridge either to catch a train or to walk over to Manhattan.

Brooklyn Dodgers Baseball Team (1895)

I had to include this photograph in this post largely because its an iconic photograph that largely displays Brooklyn history. In this photograph you obviously see the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team. You get a glimpse at the baseball clothing that was prevalent in 1895. To me what stands out the most is the style of hats they wore. The white pinstripe hats are very iconic to the style of old school baseball.

Brooklyn Navy Yard (1945)

A beautiful birdseye view of not only the Brooklyn Naval yard, but also Lower Manhattan. In the middle of the photograph you can clearly see the naval yard and the ships that are in port. To the right of the yard you can see a major mechanical crane. Situated around the Naval yard is smokestacks and factories that most likely is fabricating parts to produce ships. In the far distance to the left you can see the Brooklyn Bridge, and to the right you can see the Williamsburg bridge.

Coney Island Brooklyn NY Surf Avenue (1912)

Had to include this one as it is an important part to Brooklyn New York. This photograph displays a section of Coney Island, more specifically Surf Avenue and Luna Park. In the photograph we see several people walking along the sidewalks, we see several hose and buggies. We see the entrance into the Luna Park as well as several different businesses along the road. For instance on the left side of the photograph we see an amusement park business, more specifically a shooting gallery. On the right side of the Luna Park entrance we see a hotel labeled “Kisters”.

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New York City History in 1787

The city received a sudden, strong, healthful, forward impetus in the spring of 1787, through large accessions of its population. Every dwelling-house was occupied. Rents went up, doubling in some instances, fresh paint and new shutters and wings transformed old tenements, and carpenters and masons found ready employment in erecting new structures. The streets were cleaned and pavements mended. New business firms were organized and old warehouses remodeled; the markets were extended and bountifully supplied, and stores blossomed with fashionable goods. Wall street, the great center of interest and of fashion, presented a brilliant scene every bright afternoon. Ladies in showy costumes, and gentlemen in silks, satins, and velvet, of many colors, promenaded in front of the City Hall – where congress was holding its sessions. At the same time Broadway, from St. Paul’s Chapel to the Battery, was animated with stylish equipages, filled with pleasure-seekers who never tired of the life-giving, invigorating, perennial seabreeze, or the unparalleled beauty of the view, stretching off across the varied waters of New York Bay.

The social world was kept in perpetual agitation through distinguished arrivals from various parts of the United States, and from Europe. Dinners and balls were daily occurences. Secretary and Mrs. Jay entertained with graceful ease, gathering about them all that was ost illustrious in statesmanship and letters; they usually gave one ceremonious dinner every week, sometimes two. Their drawing-rooms were also thronged on Thursdays, Mrs. Jay’s day “at home”; and evening parties were given at frequent intervals. The manners of Secretary Jay were described by Europeans as affable and unassuming; and his purity and nobility of character impressed the whole world in his favor. He dressed in simple black, wearing his hair slightly powdered and tied in the back. His complexion was without color. His eyes were dark and penetrating, as if the play of thought never ceased, but the general expression of his face was singularly amiable and tranquil. Mrs. Jay was admirably fitted, through her long residence in the Spanish and French capitals, and her own
personal and intellectual accomplishments, for the distinguished position of leader of society in the American Capital. She dressed richly, and in good taste, and observed the most rigid formalities in her intercourse with the representatives of foriegn nations.

Nothing better illustrates the spirit and character of this formative period than the movements in its polite and every-day life. But a mere glimpse must suffice. The infant republic was interesting, and vastly promising, while it had not yet learned to walk. Its capital was the sea of a floating community composed of the most diverse elements. Curiosity, critism, and cavil were in the air. The importance attached to the doing of national hospitalities in the Old World, could not be ignored in the New. Entertainments were something more than mere profitless amusements; then, as before and since, there were strong links in the chain which binds nations together.

New York City Map Fashionable Ties

Introducing New York City map designer ties, perfect for wearing to work or any formal occasion. Designed on the ties are various styles of NYC maps ranging in publication dates from the 1600’s all the way to the early 1900’s. The maps themselves range in terms of illustrative perspective in that some consist of a birds-eye perspective of New York City, while other maps are an overhead 2d street view perspective. The ties themselves are composed of 100% polyester and are 55″ long and 4″ wide. Take a few minutes to check out our customizable designed ties below. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!

Chatham Street in NYC History

The oldest inhabitant cannot remember when Chatham street did not exist. It still contains many half decayed houses which bear witness to its antiquity. It begins at City Hall Place, and ends at Chatham Square. It is not over a quarter of a mile in length, and is narrow and dirty. The inhabitants are principally people of the Jewish faith and low class foreigners. Near the lower end are one or two good restaurants, and several cheap hotels, but the remainder of the street is taken up with establishments into which respectable buyers do not care to venture. Cheap lodging houses abound, pawnbrokers are numerous, several fence stores are to be found here, and some twenty or twenty-five cellars are occupied as dance houses and concert saloons. These are among the lowest and vilest of their kind in New York.

Chatham street is the paradise of dealers in mock jewelry and old clothes. Some of the shops sell new clothing of an inferior quality, but old clothes do most abound. Here you may find the cast-off finery of the wife of a millionaire—the most of it stolen—or the discarded rags of a pauper. It seems as if all New York had placed its cast-off clothing here for sale, and that the stock had accumulated for generations. Who the dealers sell to is a mystery. You see them constantly inviting trade, but you rarely see a customer within their doors.

p700CHATHAM SQUARE

Honesty is a stranger in Chatham street, and any one making a purchase here must expect to be cheated. The streets running off to the right and left lead to the Five Points and similar sections, and it is this wretched portion of the city that supports trade in Chatham street. The horse car lines of the east side pass through the entire length of the street, and the heaviest portion of the city travel flows through it, but respectable people rarely leave the cars in this dirty thoroughfare, and are heartily glad when they are well out of it. The buildings are generally old and dilapidated. The shops are low and dark. They are rank with foul odors, and are suggestive of disease. The men and women who conduct them look like convicts, and as they sit in their doorways watching for custom, they seem more like wild beasts waiting for their prey, than like human beings. Even the children have a keener, more disreputable appearance here than elsewhere.

The Chatham street merchants are shrewd dealers, and never suffer an opportunity to make a penny to pass by unimproved. They are not particular as to the character of the transaction. They know they are never expected to sell honestly, and they make it a rule not to disappoint their customers. One of their favorite expedients to create trade in dull times is called a “forced sale.” They practise this only on those whom they recognize as strangers, for long experience has enabled them to tell a city man at a glance. A stranger walking along the street will be accosted by the proprietor of a shop and his clerks with offers of “sheap” clothing. If he pauses to listen, he is lost. He is seized by the harpies, who pretend to assist him, and is literally forced into the shop. He may protest that he does not wish to buy anything, but the “merchant” and his clerks will insist that he does, and before he can well help himself, they will haul off his coat, clap one of the store coats on his back, and declare it a “perfect fit.” The new coat will then be removed and replaced by the old one, and the victim will be allowed to leave the shop. As he passes out of the door, the new coat is thrust under his arm, and he is seized by the proprietor and his assistants, who shout “stop thief!” and charge him with stealing the coat. Their noise, and the dread of being arrested upon a charge of theft, will frequently so confuse and frighten the victim that he will comply with their demand, which is that he shall buy the coat. This done he is suffered to depart. A refusal to yield would not injure him, for the scoundrels would seldom dare to call in the police, for fear of getting themselves into trouble with the officials. They have reckoned with certainty, however, upon the stranger’s timidity and bewilderment, and know they are safe.

New York City Port History and Cartograph (1892) – YouTube Video

Hey everyone, just wanted to share with you guys our latest YouTube upload in which we explore and examine a vintage map of the Port of New York that was produced in 1892. The map displays lower Manhattan as well as the surrounding areas in a 3d birds-eye perspective in that we get to see building architecture, changes in landscape, vegetation and much more. Check out the video below and tell us what you think! Also don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel and or our Historical NYC Blog!

The Origin of The Name Manhattan


This is historical reference material from the public domain book “The Origin of the Name Manhattan” by Tooker Wallace. In this post we have included the beginnings of this book”. We will be subsequently posting more information chronologically as it pertain to information on this topic. If you wish though to read or download the complete book, you can do so absolutely for FREE by going down to the bottom of this post.


It seems quite appropriate at the present time now, that the great New York City area has become recognized with the term Manhattan and has been designated thus as the principal borough of this great civic consolidation, that a full connotation of the name should be presented, especially as it has been occasionally applied to the lesser New York, and is now the title of many of its corporations; and, furthermore, at an early period was by the
Dutch claimed to describe the whole province. In proof of this last assumption, the following appears in Heermann’s Journal of the Dutch Embassy to Maryland in the year 1659. “And hereabouts we gave him to understand that Manhattans, signified the whole country, having preserved the ancient name of the Indian nations among whom the Dutch first settled.” This quotation bears witness that the Dutch made use of the term identically the same as the English did the names Massachusetts and Connecticut, without any consideration whatsoever for its limited topographical application as understood by those who bestowed it, and thus by adoption it became-in the words of eminent ethnologist-a mere distinguishing mark, destitute of its original self-interpreting faculty which it possessed in its own language.

So many problems-geographical, historical, and anthropological-enter into the discussion as to its origin and meaning that a complete collation of contributing data bearing upon these points would necessarily carry the subject to a much greater length than the limits of the present paper would warrant, or its title might seem to indicate.

Moreover, the fact appears, whether designating an island, people, or province, the name so interwoven into the history of the Dutch settlement of New York, that it is impossible
to consider the derivation of the first without advertising in a greater degree to the latter.

Again, as some of the questions involved require careful examination of the early maps and accurate study of their relation to the date of settlement, also a critical scrutiny of
those which may be cartographical perversions, and therefore untrustworthy as an authority, it behooves us to be very cautious in accepting conclusions based upon a source that more than possibly had a motive for distorting facts.

Not only is the origin of the name so encompassed, but the derivations offered for it in later times are so numerous and so doubtful that it would seem almost superfluous to add another to the already long list unless something convincing can be offered in its favor, for I know of no name of aboriginal bestowal that has had more conjectural siginifacations and derivations assigned to it than this same simple name, Manhattan.

Many prominent ethnologists and historians have had a part in suggesting these derivations, and their opinions will be carefully noted and considered, as far as possible in their chronological order. Therefore, it is not only the derivation and etymology of the name that is to be considered, but also so much of its subsequent history as is necessary to trace its evolution from its primitive tongue into the alien Dutch and English, where it has been a part for the greater portion of three centuries. The early documents or records, so far as my research has extended, fail to give a clue to a possible meaning, but, with the
maps, render considerable aid to the investigator, by means of which a correct insight may be acquired as to the first application of the name.

Rev. John Heckewelder, the well known Moravian missionary, who devoted the greater part of his life to Christianizing the Delaware Indians in Pennsylvania and Ohio, was the first to offer an etymology for the name. In his history, manners, and customs of the Indian nations etc, 1817 he speaks of “The current account given by the Delawares and Mohegans of the scenes which took place when they were first made to taste spirituous liquors by the Dutch who landed on New York Island…They called it Manahachtanienk, which in the Delaware language means ‘the island where we all became intoxicated.’ We have corrupted this name into Manhattan, but not so as to destroy its meaning or conceal its origin. The last syllable which we have left out is only a termination implying locality, and in this word signifies as much as ‘where we.’ There are few Indian traditions so well supported as this.” Heckewelder qualifies this later, as quoted by George Folsom in the Collections of the New York Historical Society by saying “The Delawares call this place (New York Island) Mannahattanink, or Mannahachtanink, to this day. They have frequently told me that it derived its name from this general intoxication, and that the word comprehended the same as to say ‘The island or place of general intoxication.’ The mahicanni (otherwise called Mohigans by the English, and Mahicanders by the low Dutch) call this place by the same name as Delawares do : yet think it is owing or given in consequence of a kind of wood which grew there, and of which the Indians used to make their bows and arrows. This word the latter (Mohicanni) call ‘gawaak’.

Rev. A. S. Anthony, a native Delaware Indian, residing in Canada, a few years since gave the Mohegan derivation to the late Dr. D.G. Brinton who says “The name for the compound instrument, ‘bow and arrow,’ is Manhtaht, the first ‘a’ being nasal, and from this word, Mr. Anthony states, is derived the name Manhattan, properly Manahahtank, ‘the place where they gather wood to make bows.'”

The fact that individuals of two cognate tribes, using precisely the same pronunciation, derive the word differently is enough in itself to throw decided doubt on both derivations. The Delaware etymology proves that different tribal groups of native Americans
have similar sounding words that can ultimately express different meanings. Both the tradition and interpretation in this instance is entirely suppositious, for the reason that the name designated the locality long before the Dutch had begun a settlement or had even landed upon the island; and, so far as drunkenness is concerned, Vander Donck wrote in 1656 “In the Indian languages, which are rich and expressive, they have no word to express drunkenness. Drunken men they call fools.” Therefore all aboriginal words indicating this fault of the human family are necessarily in their application subsequent to the settlement of the country, and had such been the origin of Manhattan, Van der Donck would surely have mentioned it.

It must be recollected, when considering both etymologies, that neither the Delawares no Mohegans gave the name to the island, and when explained to Heckewelder, the term had been in use for nearly two centuries, and was, therefore, archaic and beyond their time. The Mohegan etymology must also be regarded, when compared with the early forms, as being for many reasons fully as faulty and unacceptable as the Delawares, and the fact that Mr. Anthony believed in it, to the exclusion of the “drunk” derivation of his ancestors, shows that he had either seen Heckewelder’s two etymologies in print previously, or else had learned it from some Mohegan.

To read or download the Ebook “The Origin of the Name Manhattan” by Tooker Wallace, click or right-click the link below:

“The Origin of The Name Manhattan” by Tooker Wallace PDF Ebook

Historical New York City Suburbs


This is historical reference material from the public domain Ebook titled “Lights and Shadows of New York City” by James McCabe. If you enjoy the material below please feel free to download or read the complete Ebook for FREE by going to the bottom of this post and clicking the link.


The suburbs of New York are very attractive, and excursions to nearly every point within reach of the city are made every day during the summer months. The fares are low, and a day may be pleasantly spent on the water by leaving the city about 8 o’clock in the morning and returning at 6 or 7 P.M.

One of the pleasantest excursions of this kind, is up the Hudson. One may go as far as West Point or Poughkeepsie, and enjoy the magnificent scenery of the famous river, or he may leave the boat at West Point, and spend an hour or two at that place before the arrival of the down boat. The steamers on the Hudson are the best of their kind, and afford every opportunity for enjoyment.

Staten Island, in New York Bay, seven miles from the city, and in full sight of it, offers many attractions to the pleasure seeker. There are several lines of steamers plying between the city and the towns on that island, and making hourly trips. The sail across the bay is delightful, and the fare is only ten or twelve cents each way.

Another trip, and one which should never be omitted by strangers visiting the city, is from Peck Slip up the East River to One-hundred-and-thirtieth street, or Harlem. The route lies along the entire East River front of the city, with Brooklyn, Williamsburg, and Long Island City on the opposite shores. Blackwell’s, Randall’s, and Ward’s islands, with their magnificent edifices, are passed, and Hell Gate is an additional attraction. One is given a better idea of the size of New York and Brooklyn in this way, than in almost any other. Not the least of the attractions is the United States Navy Yard, at Brooklyn, an admirable view of which may be obtained from the deck of the steamer in passing it. The boats run hourly from Peck Slip and Harlem. The fare is ten cents each way. In the summer time there is a line of steamers plying between Harlem and the High Bridge, and connecting with the Peck Slip boats.

p779U.S. NAVY YARD, BROOKLYN

The towns on Long Island Sound are also connected with New York by lines of steamers. These are among the pleasant objective points for excursionists within reach of the city.

The old route to Philadelphia, by way of South Amboy, offers another attraction. The boat is a fine and powerful steamer, and makes two trips daily between New York and South Amboy. Sometimes the route lies through the picturesque Kill Van Kull, or Staten Island Sound, or through the Narrows, into the Outer Bay, and around Staten Island into Raritan Bay.

p780WEST POINT

The famous resorts of Rockaway and Coney Island are reached in from one to two hours by steamer. At either of these places a day may be spent on the sea shore. The surf-bathing is excellent at both, and each may also be reached by a railway. Of late years, Coney Island has become a favorite resort of the roughs of New York and Brooklyn, and, as a consequence, is not as attractive to respectable visitors as formerly.

Perhaps the pleasantest of all the excursions, except the trip up the Hudson, is the sail from the city to Sandy Hook and back on the Long Branch boats. These are magnificent steamers, and make several trips each day during the summer season. They connect at Sandy Hook with the railway to Long Branch. One may leave the city in the morning, spend the day at the Branch, enjoy a bath in the surf, and reach the New York pier again by 8 o’clock in the evening. The round trip fare is about two dollars. The boats are provided with every luxury, and are famous for their excellent table. A good band accompanies each, and discourses delicious music during the sail. The route lies down the harbor through the Narrows, and down the Lower Bay to Sandy Hook, in full sight of the Atlantic, and near enough to it to feel the deep swelling of its restless breast. Those who do not care to visit Long Branch may make the round trip in four hours.

Read or download the Complete Ebook titled “Lights and Shadows of New York City” by James McCabe by clicking or right-clicking the link below:

Lights and Shadows of New York City by James McCabe Ebook