Vintage Postcards from Old New York in the Early 20th Century

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Looking south along Fifth Avenue from 58th Street, the opulence and grandeur of the Cornelius Vanderbilt II mansion can be better viewed in this postcard which shows just a portion of the huge house. Seen here in 1905, Fifth Avenue below Central Park is filled with low profile buildings, mostly mansions and churches. There are two visible exceptions to those low buildings: on the east (left) side of Fifth Avenue and 55th Street, the 18 story St. Regis Hotel, completed in 1904. And directly across the street is the Gotham Hotel, which opened in 1905 and was considered just a tad less prestigious than its cross the street neighbor. In 1979 the Gotham began an eight year $200 million renovation. It was renovated again in 1998 and rechristened as the Peninsula Hotel. In 1916 a single room at the Gotham with shower and bath was $2.50 and a suite of rooms was $12.00. Today a one night stay at the Peninsula starts at $595. That sounds pretty prestigious to me.

Photo: SNCA