Friday, April 17, 2009

How Manhattan Looked In 1873

Manhattan in 1873 was a powerhouse of finance, industry and trade. Great ships plied the Hudson and East Rivers and before the advent of Ellis Island, tens of thousands of immigrants streamed through Castle Garden, the round building at the lower left of the picture.

The mighty Brooklyn Bridge had been under construction since 1870 and would not be completed for another 10 years. Central Park, in the distance, opened in 1873. Its construction had required the removal of 10 million cart loads of manually dug solid rock and soil. The opening of the 700 acre park, landscaped with 4 million trees, shrubs and plants, was warmly welcomed by the citizens of Manhattan. Prior to the Park, people wanting to escape the grit and oppression of city life sought refuge in the only large green belts available - cemeteries.

The lithograph was made by George Schlyel.