Fifth Avenue in the 19th Century


In the early 19th century, Fifth Avenue was a country road to Yorkville. Construction of 5th Avenue began in 1824. The site of Washington Square, where 5th Ave. begins, became a public park in 1827. By mid-19th century, part of the avenue in Midtown Manhattan was home of institutions like the Colored Orphan Asylum, the Deaf and Dumb Asylum, the Roman Catholic Orphan Asylum, and Saint Luke’s Hospital. Later, it became place of mansions, cultural institutions, fashionable life and luxury hotels.

Central Park opened for public use in 1859. In the same year, the Fifth Avenue Hotel opened at the intersection of Broadway, Madison Square. The Metropolitan Museum of Art opened 1872. The Cathedral of Saint Patrick was dedicated in 1879. In 1889, to mark the centennial of Washington's inauguration, the Memorial Arch was erected in Washington Square to frame the beginning of Fifth Avenue. The first installation of truly ornamental electrified cast-iron posts occurred on Fifth Avenue, in 1892. Waldorf Hotel opened in 1893. Asphalt pavement was laid down in 1898.


5th Avenue 19th century


Old City of New York




19th century NY


NY 1900

North from Fifty-first Street.




New York City 19th century



Fifth Avenue New York


Historic Hotel NY


Fifth Avenue Church

Looking south from 39th Street. Brick Presbyterian Church is in the distance.


Looking south on Fifth Avenue from 22nd Street in the 1870s. Illustration drawn from a rare photo in possession New York Historical Society. Published in Fifth Avenue Old and New, 1824-1924, by Henry Collins Brown.

The view shows the Union Club at right and the South Dutch Reformed Church at 21st Street, now site of the 160 Fifth Avenue building, completed in 1892.


Broadway NY 19th Century


Cathedral New York


Washington Square Arch

The beginning of 5th Avenue.


5th Avenue NY


Fifth Avenue 42nd Street

Hotel Bristol is on the left.


Liberty torch

Statue of Liberty torch on the right.


Central Park Plaza


19th century


Broadway 5th Avenue


Junction Broadway 5th Avenue


NYC Fifth Avenue


Vanderbilt Mansion, Fifth Avenue

Photo between 1893 and 1904.


Fifth Avenue NY


Hotel Bristol


Madison Cottage

Site of the later Fifth Avenue Hotel.




New York NY


Fifth Avenue Hotel


5th Avenue NY


Hotel Windsor NY

Fifth Avenue between 46th and 47th Streets.


Manhattan 19th century

Lower Manhattan, looking south from 42nd Street, showing the Croton Reservoir and the Crystal Palace, built for the Exhibition of the Industries of All Nations, 1853/1854.


Hotel Netherland


Copyright © Geographic Guide - 5th Ave. 19th Century NYC.



New York NY


Original Hotel NY

The Hotel Savoy about the time it was open in 1892, before the first expansion.


Holland House




Fifth Avenue



Fifth Avenue in the 19th Century