One of the crown jewels of Manhattan, the grand dame of New York City, is turning 100. We are talking, of course, about Grand Central Terminal. A century ago, on February 2, 1913 – after a decade of construction – the building that would revolutionize commuter train travel opened its doors.

There isn’t anything to say that hasn’t been said before about the building’s grandiose and tumultuous history. So, we offer something else to commemorate one of the most amazing buildings in the city: a 360 look at Grand Central. Part of a larger project photographing iconic landmarks in glorious 360 degrees, we teamed up with Shots 360 and photographer Thomas Erh, the man behind the lens of interactive 360ยบ panoramic photography, to document some of our favorite Old New York places.



More of the Underground Edition

Since we seem to be on a kick about things beneath the surface, once of the coolest things to do on a beautiful Saturday afternoon used to be to climb down a manhole in Brooklyn and descend into the world's oldest subway tunnel (built in 1844). Yes, New York City has something like 722 miles of subway track, but this is where it all started.

Turns out this long forgotten tunnel was nothing more than an urban legend until Bob Diamond re-discovered it in the 1980s. Through the Brooklyn Historic Railway Association, Bob conducted informative tours of the abandoned tunnel several Saturdays each month. 

We went a couple of years ago, and it was by far one of the coolest things we ever done. The photos aren't particularly good, but it's pretty dark down there.  Bob is a walking encyclopedia about the tunnel and its history (you can read about it here). Sadly, the MTA has put a stop on the tours for the timebeing. If you feel so inclined, you can petition your local elected officials on behalf of BHRA here


Historical Postcards of New York City

Admit it! In a drawer somewhere you have a stack of forgotten postcards. They are ubiquitous in the more touristy areas of New York, and I think it’s safe to say that we have all been guilty, at one point or another, of being a post card enabler.

Poking around the interwebs recently we came across this cool postcard archive from the New York Public Library. They have just added 500 postcards dating from the 1890s to the 1920 to their digital online collection.

And as today, postcards leave little space for any meaningful correspondence, in a sort of precursor to the abbreviated message of a tweet or a text - although way classier.

From the NYPL site,describing the hippo postcard above: "A new dimension to these latest postcards in the Digital Gallery is that both the front and the back of the postcards have been digitized. This added feature opens windows on typographic style, on the content and creator of the card, and on the perspective of the individual long ago penning greetings to a friend, a family member or a fellow worker. Here, a father instructs his child about the habits of a New York City hippopotamus."



UP THERE from The Ritual Project

We've always been curious about the hand-painted billboards that pop up around the city. This awesome shot doc profiles one of the last few remaining sign painters of New York City.

UP THERE from The Ritual Project on Vimeo.


What lies beneath

New York is a city that invites you to look up: the skyline, the canyons of glass, the kamikaze pigeons that have it out for you. But there are some really interesting things to be found below street level.

This past summer I had the pleasure of sneaking in to an abandoned subterranean bowling alley complete with manual ball return and several decades of dust and grime. It was dark, musty and a little creepy, but it was also amazing to see that after all these years, the basic mechanisms still worked.

Apparently underground bowling alleys were not uncommon back in the day. You can read about another one here.


Um.. hi there!

Welcome to Old New York. This blog is a repository photos, videos, places and stories that reflect the New York City of the past; it could be last year, last decade or last century. Our goal is to share info on old school experiences you can still check out for yourself should you be so inclined. However, since we make up the rules, every now and then we might post experiences that you may not be able to replicate, but such is life.

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