"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Where & When: Game 18

Good morning, and welcome back to Where & When; tracking down locations over the eons. Well, at least in the 200 years or so… I have wanted to introduce the new feature I vaguely described, but I’ve had a rush of work come at me lately, so it has to wait for the opportune moment.  In the meantime, let’s track down the origins of the following pic:

Where & When Game 18

I really like this one; the size and design seem very imposing in its girth as opposed to it’s height (which is still too high for me to swan dive into an Olympic-sized pool of chocolate milk below), but it also reflects the rugged undiscovered nature of early New York.  That was not likely the case when this photo was taken, but compared to what we have now, it was certainly both an achievement and a period marker.  I don’t have to give much in clues for this one; you’ll likely see it in other places, but it’s history is interesting enough, so feel free to discuss what you’ve found during your research.  Tell us what building this is and when it was built, and bonus points for knowing whether this building still stands or was replaced by another. Explain how you came to your conclusions and you’ll be able to honorably imbibe one of the following:  Steelhead for the first player with the right answers, and Sprecher for everyone else.  Enjoy! And no peeking at the photo credit… >;)

[Photo Credit: Museum of the City of New York/Getty Images]


1 kenboyer made me cry   ~  Nov 15, 2013 10:22 am

I just know what it is by looking at it. It has been replaced, and moved uptown. The prevailing thought was "how could this place (i won't give it away by naming it's use) be functional so far out in the sticks. Where the replacement was built was thought of as a faraway locale from the beat of the city.

(Did you ever name the last W&W place and year? I must of missed it)

2 rbj   ~  Nov 15, 2013 10:27 am

Have the where, now as to the when. . .

I'm assuming at the moment that that magnificent building isn't standing anymore.

3 RIYank   ~  Nov 15, 2013 10:29 am

I didn't know what it was, but a small amount of wordage in the picture reveals almost all. (A quick googling supplies the rest.)

This one was built between 1831 and 1836.

4 JDM   ~  Nov 15, 2013 10:47 am

Pretty sure this is the 1836 version. This building also later became the first Madison Square Garden when it was purchased by PT Barnum.

5 rbj   ~  Nov 15, 2013 10:55 am

Photo is here: http://www.history.com/news/grand-central-terminal-an-american-icon-turns-100

once I got the official name, no date attached, but between 1871 & 1899.

Pity that it was obsolete by the time it was completed.

6 RIYank   ~  Nov 15, 2013 11:16 am

[5] I saw that site. I think the way it associates text with pictures is misleading. Look here:
That seems to tell us that the station in the picture is the one completed in 1835.

Will, what do you think?

7 rbj   ~  Nov 15, 2013 11:25 am

[6] But on that site, if you click on 1869 you see something being constructed. Very confusing.

8 RIYank   ~  Nov 15, 2013 11:53 am

[7] I thought that was at the 42nd St. site. My understanding is that there was an original GS at 42nd st., after the 23rd st. one, but that one itself was then torn down to build the current one.

Kind of in a rush now, so maybe that's wrong.

9 rbj   ~  Nov 15, 2013 12:14 pm
10 Chyll Will   ~  Nov 15, 2013 1:24 pm

[6] Interesting. I have specific info about this pic; I wonder if it was wrong if there are so many conflicting sources.

11 Chyll Will   ~  Nov 15, 2013 1:38 pm

[1] A view of Peter Minuit Plaza; Financial District in 1960. As noted, most of, if not all of the buildings were razed in 1969 for what we currently see there. The White Rose Bar was the big clue.

I was working overnight near Madison Square Garden and gazing at the south side of the Pennsylvania Hotel and the front of St. Francis of Assisi Church on West 32nd Street; it's amazing how these buildings have survived the redevelopments going on around them this long. The church has cornerstones that depict completion in the 1900s, with attached buildings in the 1910s. Penn Hotel has been around longer than that if I recall. It would be nice to take a stroll through Manhattan and take pictures of the old buildings that are still around from the early 1900s and 1800s, not to mention the few that are preserved from the colonial days. Summer project perhaps.

12 Chyll Will   ~  Nov 15, 2013 4:54 pm

Okay, there seems to be some slight confusion concerning this building; the answer is Grand Central Depot c. 1871. click on the photo credit now for a detailed explanation of this site. Perhaps I will get a chance to untangle some of the mystery during my off time; it looks similar to one of the earlier versions of Madison Square Garden, but it's not. It had been modified in later years to accommodate the expanding population in the region, but was eventually demolished for the present Grand Central In 1913. That's all I have for now, we'll sort out the winners shortly.

13 RIYank   ~  Nov 15, 2013 8:52 pm

Hm, so Will, you think the picture is of the 42nd St building -- the one that was torn down to build the current Grand Central?

I don't think that's right. Look at the URL of the actual jpeg. It's this:


Notice that it says "1831NYHarlem". Maybe that's just a misleading name, but I think that's the site of the 1831 train stop. In 1831 the building wasn't there yet, but they started building it then.

But again, it's not very clear to me.

14 Chyll Will   ~  Nov 16, 2013 2:58 am

I did see that URL, I thought it was a misnomer (1831, 1871; mistype?), but I'm reading different information. The URL I cited states this is the building from 1871; I'm inclined to believe this because a high quality photo of the entire building would be extremely rare in 1831...

I looked around some more, Wikipedia adds some needed depth to the conversation here:


15 RIYank   ~  Nov 16, 2013 7:44 am

Uh, yeah, but that just shows the photo is from 1871. Oh, I see, you mean it looks like the building is just finished, because of the excavation around it. That might be right.

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