New York first expanded along the East Side. Unlike the West Side’s rugged hills and valleys, the low, flat topography of the East Side invited construction.
As the city opened streets on the East Side, it broke up the old country estates owned by prosperous New York families: the Beekmans, Schermerhorns, Lenoxes, and Rhinelanders. Some heirs unsuccessfully tried to hold the city at bay and maintain the integrity of their ancestral land, while others, such as James Beekman, divided their property into lots and increased their family’s wealth in the real estate market. Read More
The 1830s brought about a residential housing boom in New York, fueled by a nationwide economic expansion from railroads, a local population explosion, and the wealth generated by the opening of the Erie Canal in 1825. To accommodate this growth, the city began a massive street opening campaign, leading to a burst of uptown residential housing construction. By 1837, when an economic panic ended this period of speculation, the city had opened gridded roads to roughly 52nd Street.
The next boom, from the mid-1840s to the Panic of 1857, brought the border of development further uptown, but it was not until after the Civil War that the city’s eastern limit moved north of 59th Street. In the late 1860s, the Upper East Side underwent tremendous growth when it acquired a patron in City Hall in the form of Boss Tweed.
As the grid filled out, the East Side divided economically. Wealthier residents built mansions to the west, along the area’s parks and landscaped boulevards. Once Central Park was largely finished in the late 1860s, elite New Yorkers built homes along Fifth Avenue. In the 1870s, when the Fourth Avenue railroad was sunk below ground and converted into a landscaped boulevard, Park Avenue, it also became a choice address. Show Less
George T. Hope, the secretary of the Jefferson Insurance Company in New York, pioneered the genre of the modern fire insurance map. Read More
In 1889 the D. A. Sanborn Map Company, established roughly two decades earlier, absorbed Perris & Browne’s venture. Read More
The Bromley insurance map of 1920–22 shows that the blocks east of Fifth Avenue between 65th and 71st Streets were fully developed by the early 1920s… Read More
By the end of the 19th century, Fifth Avenue, the “street of a thousand palaces,” had become synonymous with luxury living. Read More
The view of Fifth Avenue north of 42nd Street includes many of the city’s premier institutions. Read More
This is the first of 10 photographs that provide a 360–degree panorama from Park Avenue and 94th Street. This view faces south, down Park Avenue. Read More
2 of 10: This view faces southwest, toward Central Park. Baab’s panorama portrays the spotted development of the city, as new structures slowly filled in the landscape. Read More
3 of 10: This view faces west, toward Central Park. The Central Park reservoir appears in the distance as well as an empty Fifth Avenue along its border. Read More
4 of 10: This view faces northwest, toward Central Park. Ehret’s home sits on the frontier of formal development. To the northwest, one can see farmland and Central Park. Read More
5 of 10: This view faces northwest, at the intersection of 95th Street and Park Avenue. Read More
6 of 10: This view faces north, with 95th Street in the foreground. Read More
7 of 10: This view faces northeast, toward the East River and Ward’s Island. It encompasses a mix of the old and new features of the neighborhood… Read More
8 of 10: This view faces east, with 94th Street at left. From his house, George Ehret had a view of his own Hell Gate Brewery, the largest beer venture in the country. Read More
9 of 10: This view faces southeast, at the intersection of 93rd Street and Lexington Avenue. Read More
10 of 10: This view faces south, with 92nd Street in the foreground and Park Avenue at right. Read More