70th and Amsterdam, 1888


This is a picture from the New York Historical Society of Jacob Harsen’s house, taken in 1888.  This is also a picture of the corner of 70th Street and Amsterdam Avenue, back when the area was not really known as the Upper West Side of Manhattan, as we know it, but rather the sleepy village of Harsenville, New York.

Harsenville, along with Bloomingdale, Carmanville, and many others, was one of the many small communities that dotted the island of Manhattan before the voraciously growing New York City swallowed them up by the end of the 19th century.  Just to the left of the house it looks like you can see some of those buildings starting to encroach up onto the property.

For a little perspective, here is the same area today:



Harsenville is the subject of a fascinating retrospective over at Ephemeral New York, along with the Manhattan towns of Strycker’s Bay and Carmanville.


See more at Ephemeral New York




About Michael Ballaban

Editor, The Ball-Aban News

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