The Harlem Waterfront at the turn of the century was full of horse drawn carriages and street cars rolling over cobblestone streets in 1902. The earliest means of transportation around New York Harbor, to Brooklyn and Staten Island and to trading was moored offshore was rowboats. The rowboats would unload trade goods at the rear of the buildings (on the left) and then the goods would be picked up by the horse drawn carriages (in the center of the photo).
The manufacturing industrys, railroad tracks, shipping piers, boat clubs and the Harlem River Drive was priority in the Harlem. We think this photo looks north with the Hudson River to the left (the two ship stacks to the left is where we think the Riverbank Park now sits).
Along with the manufacturers their were the Harlem Rowing Clubs along the Harlem River coastline. By the 20th century the priorities of the Harlem coast line changed and brought the need for development with the goal of allowing public access to the water. In 1936 the boat clubs and the manufacturing businesses were notified by Commissioner of Parks Robert Moses that the entire area would be demolished.
By 1937 the manufacturing and boat buildings were torn down by Robert Moses who stated in the New York Times that “the strip of waste land they occupied would be available … for people living in Harlem.”
- The Harlem Hall, in Harlem 1873 (harlemworldmag.com)
- The Harlem Edge On The Waterfront (harlemworldmag.com)
- The Harlem Rail-Road ‘Open Cut’ 1871 (harlemworldmag.com)