That’s One Perspective

by Don Friedman on December 1, 2016


When I’m researching old buildings, I tend to look around at the sources. In the good old days of library research, you could always hope for a serendipitous find on a shelf near your goal. In the current atmosphere of internet research, the equivalent is finding an interesting link when you perform a search.

There were a lot of tour guides published in the late 1800s, with King’s Views probably being the most famous. (For example, here’s Moses King on Philly.) For some reason, the employees of the elevated railroads of New York decided in 1887 to publish their own guide. It’s got the usual lists of things to see* and has only one unique** feature: for each possible destination, the location of the nearest elevated station is provided.

That’s a very…functional…perspective on New York.

* The lists are arranged so that “Places of Amusement” comes first and “Asylums and Homes” comes second. That may be a coincidence or that may be some Victorian moralizing.

** It does have some great ads. The JB and JM Cornell Iron Works ad on page 4 is a beauty.

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