How to Decorate an Old NYC Apartment

Decorating an old New York City apartment can often be a very daunting process. If keeping up with he historical integrity of the building and or the apartment is a priority then it can be even more of a challenge. Luckily in this blog post we will assist you in various ways you can contribute to the vintage feel of your aged and nostalgic NYC apartment. We will list a range of decorative items and concepts that will ultimately create this vintage atmosphere that you seek. If you’d like to take a closer look at the decorative items below, feel free to click on the images as it will bring you to our online store where these items are currently being sold. If you have any questions please feel free to ask below!

1) Framed New York City Map Prints

How amazing do these vintage maps of New York City really look! Talk about beauty, history, nostalgia! A framed vintage map poster of NYC should be considered as on of pillars of creating historical decor in a Manhattan apartment. Guests and family members will be mesmerized by the historical beauty of these vintage relics.

2) Brooklyn Bridge Throw Pillows

A throw pillow, especially one sporting a black and white photograph of the Brooklyn Bridge at night will not only create an iconic decorative feel to a desired room, but will also contribute to the historical feel of a domicile. The Brooklyn Bridge is recognized as one of the most prominent historical cornerstones of NYC history. It’s structure is over a century old and still has several of the engineered facets still intact. The throw pillow itself can be used to decorate a bed, a couch, even a window nook.

3) Manhattan Map Shower Curtains

Ya we went back with the vintage maps, this time though on shower curtains. Firstly I would just like to say that it is my belief that shower curtain designs are the singular item that stands out the most in ANY bathroom. Largely because it covers a huge surface area and allows the owner to express him or herself very easily in terms of the relative decor. The map designed and featured on the shower curtain above is that over lower Manhattan and features the many wards of NYC. I love this design as it also features a white background and would be great for a bathroom that gets tons of light and or has white backgrounds as well.

4) World Map Desk Lamps

We went with yet another vintage map, but this time we changed it up with a vintage map of the world. Old world maps just give off the decorative vibe of nostalgia and history. They look good and when lit up they look even better. These lamps are great for end tables in a living rooms, offices, studies, bedrooms and much more.

5) New York City Skyline Photograph Wrapped Canvas
We’ve done full circle I believe with wall art, as we’ve made our way to wrapped canvases. A wrapped canvas is great as it protrudes from the wall and displays material that is eye popping really. On the design above we have a vintage photograph of the NYC skyline presented before us. Skyline photographs of any city are amazing, but there is something about the NYC skyline that is just simply iconic. A wrapped canvas like this one would be perfect for a bedroom, living room, study or anywhere in which you need more wall art.


Discovering New Amsterdam – 1600’s Cartography

One of the earliest maps of New Amsterdam is displayed right below this paragraph. The map displays a very basic illustration of lower Manhattan and was originally produced in 1664. The map was produced for James the Duke of York in order to lay down the first plans for the construction of a new Colony. Below the map we will examine and explore various cartographic attributes that make this map absolutely stunning. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them below!

Quite an interesting early map of New Amsterdam we have displayed above! There is no doubt in my mind that this map was originally produced in 1664 as you can see a developmental and early illustration of lower Manhattan. The other aspects that overwhelmingly confirm the publication date is the spelling as well as the labellings throughout this map. Longe Isleland is obviously spelled quite different then it is today and to the left of the map you can clearly see the labeling “The Dukes Plan” “A Description of the Towne of Mannados-(Manhattan) or New Amsterdam”. Also if we look at the river on the opposite side of long island we see “Hudfrons River”, an old spelling of the Hudson River no doubt.

This map presents many clues to us about what New York City was like back in 1664. For example look at the plentiful amount of ships over in the East River. What this tells me is that many ships back in the mid 1600’s were landing and porting their ships along this area and were provided with easier access to the Atlantic ocean from side of New Amsterdam. Its even true today that more ships are in port along the East River, look at where the U.S. Naval Shipyard is… located on the East River for easy access to the Atlantic.

We can obviously see that lower Manhattan in this map is somewhat underdeveloped. From the looks of it, it seems there were only 3 avenues and mini neighborhoods scattered throughout Manhattan’s lower quarter. Beyond these locations we see sporadic illustrations possibly detailing the planning of new neighborhoods and or developing and clearing the land on the island. The lower quarter of New Amsterdam is drawn with a vertical line with 5 pointed dividers. This line on the map represents the fortifications built on the upper section of this colony. I have evidence to support this finding that this is a fortification by cross-referencing it with another map of New Amsterdam below:

Fortifactions new amsterdam numbered

Notice the 5 points in the image above, well there are also 5 points in the same location on the map above this one. So without a doubt I can tell you that they fortified this section of New Amsterdam.

Another aspect that stands out to me that are on both of these maps is the fortification located at the southern tip of lower Manhattan. This fort has been called so many different names throughout time. It has been called Fort Amsterdam, Fort George, Fort William Henry and much more. But as you can see on both maps It gave the dutch a strategic advantage to defending lower Manhattan. Not only did it provide an advantage with line of site scouting for invaders coming from the Atlantic or the Hudson, but it also contributed and gave the Dutch a strategic vantage point for their cannons to fire upon incoming ships as well a fall back location for the island as a whole. The 1st map displayed does not display the cannons in the 4 quadrants of the fort. The 2nd map displayed though overwhelmingly does.

fort amsterdam cannonsThese are just a few of the various historical aspects that we’ve explored and uncovered on these old vintage maps of New Amsterdam. Please feel free to subscribe to our blog on the right hand side! We will be continuing this exploration of History of New York City and we blog constantly. If you have any questions or comments about this post please feel free to comment below!

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”.

Ellis Island Photographs – YouTube Video

Hey everyone! Just wanted to share our newest Youtube upload which explores and examines various old photographs relative to Ellis Island history. If you have any comments or questions please don’t hesitate to leave them below!

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 Historical Street Scene Photography

In this post we are going to take a look at a few photographs in our collection that consists of various aspects and perspectives relative to the streets of NYC. Below each photograph we will give a brief synopsis pertaining to various elements of the photographs. If you have any questions or comments please leave them below!

Elevated Railroad on 110th street NYC – 1896

Interesting photograph we have here. What we can see is an elevated railway about 8 stories in elevation. Based on the leafless tree in the foreground what I can assume is that this photograph was taken either during the fall, winter, or early spring. Underneath the elevated train we can see people walking along the roadway. To the bottom right of the photograph we see excavated land which might be the early stages of the construction of a new building. What I find most interesting about this photograph is the fact that the train on top of the elevated railway is a steam engine. Very rarely throughout history has there ever been Elevated Steam Engine trains, the exception for this is of course trains that traveled over rivers and valleys (bridges). Seeing a steam engine though on an elevated railway just seems abnormal.

Busy Broadway Street – 1897

Wow is Broadway in New York City busy or what in this photograph! Look at the amount of people on the sidewalks as well as the carts going down the street. In the foreground of the photograph we can see a trolly car with a few passengers upon it. In the middle of the photograph on the left side of the street we can see scaffolding with what appears to be 4 men on the very top of it. I’ve zoomed into the photograph and it’s quite grainy, but I can make out that 1 man is on his hands and knees (repairing something?), while 3 other people watch over him. Behind the men on the corresponding building there is a large sign that reads “To Lease”. I’m guessing that these men are working on the build (remodeling) for which to hopefully get it lease out for someone who would like to start a business. On the far right side of the photograph in the foreground we see a lamp post (oil lamp post) that extends to about 2-3 stories high. Ultimately though if we look at the photograph as a whole we get the idea of how busy Broadway was and the amount of commerce that was going on.

Union Square in NYC – 1893

This photograph displays Union Square in New York City in 1893. In the photograph we see many horse carriages as well as many NYC patrons walking on foot paths throughout the square. The trees along the footpaths have no leaves and are bare, telling us that this photograph was probably taken around the winter months. On the left and the bottom of the photograph we see trolly railways that extend and fork off at Union Square. At the bottom of the photograph we also see a small monument.

Immigrant and a Pretzel Vendor in NYC – 1896

I like this photograph a lot because you get to know the population and the individual street life of people in New York City in 1896. What we see here is an immigrant on the left and a female pretzel vendor on the right. The man on the left is holding a pipe in his hand. The woman pretzel vendor on the right looks like she is holding a handful of pretzels in his left hand and possibly some potatoes in her right hand. To the right of the woman there seems to be many different baskets of food. The baskets in the backgrounds seem to consist mostly of pretzels or some other type of pastry food.

Postman at a Letterbox in NYC – 1896

In this photograph we obviously can see a United States Postman retrieving mail from a letterbox. The New York City postman uniform is quite interesting if you taken notice at his hat. His hat in a sense almost resembles that of a policemen or military helmet. It looks like he wears a suit-like uniform with leather shoes.¬† His leather mail-bag is HUGE, I’m guessing he travels down numerous streets throughout various parts of New York City.¬† From looking at the background architecture of the buildings in this photograph, I have ascertained that this is 5th avenue. The organization of the streets, the overwhelming lack of businesses, the lack of densely populated crowds absolutely says that this is 5th avenue.

New York City Historical Geography (1893-1894) YouTube Video

Hey everyone, just wanted to share one of our latest YouTube uploads that examines and explores a vintage New York City map that was produced in 1893 – 1894. In the video we look at various characteristics that make this map special. For example the fact that this map is a very slender in terms of horizontal width is kind of rare. New York City maps tend to be show in a vertical statue, but typically they are never this slender horizontally. In the video we also look at the various transportation lines detailed on the map. Often we see railways that travel to ports that have ferry systems that travel to Manhattan Island as well as other places in the NYC metropolitan area. Click the play button below to check out the video for yourself. Leave a comment below to tell us what you guys think! Also Subscribe to our YouTube Channel!