John Bachmann (after)
Fifth Avenue From 42nd Street, Looking North
Fifth Avenue From 42nd Street, Looking South
Robert A. Welcke, New York (lithographer and printer)
Max Williams, New York: 1904 (copyright and publisher)
15 x 20 inches, image
20 x 26 inches, overall
Price on Request
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Pair of views of Fifth Avenue from a bird’s-eye perspective -- one looking north from 42nd Street, the other looking south. According to the credit line, each is “from an old photograph by John Bachman 1879.” They feature the characteristic brownstone residences along with more prominent buildings.
The view looking south shows the Croton Reservoir, part of New York's first public water system. The reservoir was torn down in 1911 for the construction of the main branch of the New York Public Library on the site. The 250-foot spire rising in the center of the view surmounts the Brick Church at 37th Street.
The view looking north shows the spire of the Collegiate Church of St. Nicholas rising a few blocks away at 48th Street. It was constructed in 1872, when Fifth Avenue south of Central Park was home to many of New York's most prominent families. The brownstone church was razed in 1952, although the congregation has continued at other sites. Other notable structures along Fifth Avenue include the Moorish style synagogue of the original Temple Emanu-El in the right foreground and the unfinished St. Patrick's Cathedral in the distance on the right.
George Glazer Gallery's copies of these views were included in The Greatest Grid, an exhibition at the Museum of the City of New York (December 2011 through July 15, 2012) of maps documenting the development of the grid system of mapping Manhattan. They are also illustrated and described in the accompanying book to the exhibition. According to the exhibition book, the prints show the "types of edifices that lined the thoroughfare in 1879." It further points at that by the end of the 19th century, Fifth Avenue had become "synonymous with luxury living for Americans throughout the country. Members of the city's elite slowly built their elegant homes and institutions up the avenue, settling the area between 23rd and 34th Streets by 1868 and moving up to 59th through the next decade" (Ballon et al.).
Read more about The Greatest Grid exhibition and book, or order the book here.
John Bachmann, a German immigrant to the United States, was an artist and lithographer, credited with coining the term bird's-eye view, and was a prolific and prominent creator of such views. His first such panoramas were of Civil War battle areas in 1861. Bachmann produced a variety of bird's-eye views of New York City from different vantage points, some of which are on our web site.
Max Williams was a prolific New York City publisher, active at the turn of the century. He is generally known for republishing earlier works, including many famous ones from the original lithographic stones of Currier & Ives.
Condition: Generally very good with the usual light toning, soiling, wear, soft creases. A few marginal tears, professionally restored. Margins variously trimmed on each, still large.
Ballon, Hilary, ed. The Greatest Grid: The Master Plan of Manhattan 1811-2011. New York: Museum of the City of New York and Columbia University Press, 2012. Items 116 and 117. pp. 133-134.
"Commercial Mapping." Civil War Maps. http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/gmdhtml/cwmhtml/cwmcm.html (6 May 2002).
"MAP #: 361B5." Maryland State Archives. 23 May 1996. http://www.mdarchives.state.md.us/msa/speccol/1399/reports/html/361b5.html (6 May 2002)
"Rockefeller Center with Collegiate Church of St. Nicholas." Museum of the City of New York. http://www.mcny.org/abbott/a189.htm (6 May 2002).
"There's no stoppin' the Croton from hoppin.'" Forgotten NY: Street Scenes. 2002. http://www.forgotten-ny.com/STREET%20SCENES/Croton/croton.html (6 May 2002).