Metropolis: Manhattan Then and Now

In the 1920s, New York City’s Manhattan was quickly raised to a towering metropolis — easily the most recognizable skyline in the US. See Manhattan from the 1920s and ’30 to present day.

Photo By: Eugene L. Armbruster/The New York Historical Society/Getty Images

Photo By: Frederick Bass / Getty Images

Photo By: Franz Marc Frei / LOOK / Getty Images

Photo By: Library of Congress



Photo By: Library of Congress

Photo By: Ben Hilder / Getty Images

Lower Manhattan with the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City

The Lower Manhattan skyline with the Brooklyn Bridge in the late 19th or early 20th century.

Brooklyn Bridge in New York City

Present-day Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge, viewed from across the East River.

Quiet South Street in Manhattan

A view of Manhattan down South Street in the 1930s.

South Street in Busy Manhattan

Today, Manhattan’s South Street is a busy thoroughfare thanks to the South Street Seaport's restaurants, farmers market and local boutiques.

A busy Columbus Circle in 1921

Even in 1921, Manhattan's Columbus Circle was a busy section of New York City for pedestrians and motorists.

Columbus Circle in New York City

Present-day Columbus Circle, with Central Park West to the east and Broadway to the north. Popular destinations in the area include the Shops at Columbus Circle, the Mandarin Oriental New York and, of course, Central Park.

View from the Empire State Building in New York City in the 1930s

Looking north from the top of the Empire State Building. Construction on the 103-story building began March 17, 1930, and its opening day was May 1, 1931.

View from the Empire State Building in New York City

Travelers from around the world visit the Empire State Building, making the 103-story trip up to the observation deck. Visit for tickets and tour hours.

Woolworth Building in New York City's Manhattan in the 1910s

When it was completed in 1913, the Woolworth Building was officially the tallest in the world. It lost that title with the 1930 construction of 40 Wall Street and the Chrysler Building.

Manhattan, New York City's Woolworth Building

Visitors to New York City can make reservations to tour the historical lobby of the Woolworth Building. The 60- and 90-minute guided tours are led by architectural historians. The lobby is decorated with beautiful marble and terra-cotta-colored walls inside and out.

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