Image: Wells & Co./New York Public Library

Fifth Avenue in Manhattan stretches from Washington Square Park all the way to 143rd Street in Harlem, dividing the island’s streets between east and west

Originally a high-class residential street, Fifth Avenue first began to commercialize with the 1893 opening of the Astoria Hotel.

In 1906, the B. Altman and Company department store opened on 34th and Fifth, and the street transitioned to a hub of commerce

These panoramic photographs, taken in 1911 for a survey of Fifth Avenue, capture the thoroughfare in its first years as a commercial destination, long before it became synonymous with luxury shopping.  Along with private homes and small businesses, the pictures capture landmarks such as the Flatiron building, the New York Public Library and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Read more…

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