What was New York City like in 1916? To get an idea, let’s take a look inside this guide for tourists and visitors. It’s filled with information that you’ll probably find both interesting and surprising, especially compared to today. Here are some of the highlights: there were 4 elevated railways, the Third Avenue and Bronx [...]
What was New York City like in 1916?
To get an idea, let’s take a look inside this guide for tourists and visitors.
It’s filled with information that you’ll probably find both interesting and surprising, especially compared to today.
Here are some of the highlights:
- there were 4 elevated railways, the Third Avenue and Bronx Park Line, the Second Avenue Line, the Sixth Avenue Line, and the Ninth Avenue Line;
- the price of a room was $2.50 to $3.00 per night at top hotels including the Grosvenor (5th Ave. at 10th St.), Waldorf-Astoria (then at 5th and 34th St.), the Vanderbilt (Park Ave. at 34th St.), the Biltmore (Madison at 42nd St.), the Plaza (5th at 59th St.), the Ritz-Carlton (then at Madison and 46th St.), and the St. Regis (5th at 55th St.)
- New York City had an omnibus system, which, according to the guide, was largely confined to 5th Avenue and Riverside Drive, so to take up the slack, the Fifth Avenue Coach Company introduced a line of motor stage coaches (the fare was 10¢);
- United States Post Office stations were open daily from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., and 9 to 11 a.m. Sundays, and 7 to 10 a.m. on holidays;
- most of the recommended corset shops were on 5th Avenue between 42nd and 44th Streets;
- Riker Drug Stores had branches throughout the city;
- the newly opened 57-story Woolworth Building was the world’s tallest structure and one of the earliest skyscrapers;
- the top sporting goods shops included Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (at 53 W. 36th St.), F. L. Slazenger’s (12 E. 43rd St.), and A.G. Spalding & Bros (520 5th Ave., between 43rd and 44th St.);
- top trunkmakers included Crouch & Fitzgerald (177 Broadway and other locations) and Innovation Trunk Co. (329 5th Ave.);
- streetcars criss-crossed Manhattan;
- the Main Line (Flatbush Ave. in Brooklyn to 96th and Broadway), the Broadway Line (96th and Broadway to Van Cortlandt Park), and the West Farms Line (96th and Broadway to 181st St. and Boston Road) were New York City’s only 3 subways;
- the rate for public taxicabs was 30¢ for the first half mile and 10¢ for each quarter mile thereafter, with a charge of 20¢ for each trunk;
- the rate for horse cabs was 50¢ for the first mile and 20¢ for each additional mile, or $1.50 per hour for shopping and calling;
- telegraph offices of the Western Union Telegraph Company and the Postal Telegraph-Cable Company were situated throughout the city;
- moving picture theatres alternated vaudeville acts with the films they showed.
I like the part about the horse cabs for shopping and calling, the hotel rates, and the Post Office hours. Post Office workers today don’t know how nice they have it, do they?
It’s possible now to appreciate in comparison that the price of attending a Smart Set Athletic Club basket ball game (50¢, not including transportation) was no small thing considering it was 1/6th or 1/4th of the price of a night’s stay at the Waldorf!