Atlas Obscura Navigates New York City With a Guidebook Printed in 1899

Luke Spencer's Baedeker's United States Guide, at the Hotel Martinique, which opened in 1897.
Luke Spencer's Baedeker's United States Guide, at the Hotel Martinique, which opened in 1897.
Photo: Luke Spencer

In a recent article on Atlas Obscura titled The Delights and Perils of Navigating New York City With a Guidebook From 1899, author Luke Spencer recreates a recommended trip designed for a City that existed 116 years, ago, and finds that not too much has changed, other than the price.

Coming to the end of my travels with the Baedeker, I was struck by how accurate the guidebook still was. It was a testament to both the endurance of the city and the thoroughness of the guide itself. While many theaters, old hotels, saloons, and restaurants have long since disappeared, much of the Gilded Age of New York still remains. The Baedeker even turned up hidden treasures like the Little Church Around the Corner, which I might otherwise have overlooked.

The full article is a long read, but a fascinating one that shows how much and how little we have changed over the years.

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