Browse by...

NYC Grid is a photo blog dedicated to exploring New York block-by-block and corner-by-corner. Each post covers a new street or feature with a focus on the mundane and ephemeral.


« Before & After - Mott Street | Main | Before & After - Broadway, The Canyon of Heroes »

Before & After - Madison Square Park & Flatiron Building


The above photo is interactive. Drag the yellow handle in the middle to reveal more or less of the before or after image.

If you've ever stood and waited for an order at Shake Shack in Madison Square Park, you may have noticed a large dead tree with its own little fenced-off patch of land. Some may have written it off as just another in a long line of crazy art installations in the park, but they're wrong: It really is just a big dead elm tree in the midst of an otherwise immaculately maintained park. The reason it's still there, according to a 1995 New York Times article, is as a nest for squirrels.

Now, what I love about today's photo is that we have an opportunity to see the tree before it was trimmed back to its current sad state; it's right there near the middle of the image. Of course the trunk is noticeably bulkier in the modern image, but you can clearly see the original tree in the 1905 photo as it follows the same path. You can also notice that the fountain changed. The current one is a modern reproduction of the original from the mid 1860's. Apparently that original fountain didn't make it to the early 20th Century.

This photo also features the Flatiron building. I hear it's quite popular.

Photo source: Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

Reader Comments

There are no comments for this journal entry. To create a new comment, use the form below.

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>