Obscura Society NY: The Gilded Age - Manhattan's Forgotten City - Atlas Obscura
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Obscura Society NY: The Gilded Age - Manhattan's Forgotten City

Decode the architecture and cityscape of Midtown Manhattan to unveil the hidden history of an era gone by.

There was a time in New York City history, before subways and skyscrapers, when Madison Square was the epicenter of not just the city, but the world—the Gilded Age. And for one brief period there was a true city center, when districts of upper class brownstone opulence and the world’s finest hotels; carriage trade and middle class retail shops; Broadway theaters, concert saloons, gambling halls, brothels and entertainments running the gamut from legitimate to otherwise, pressed right up against one another radiating out from a central point where Broadway, Fifth Avenue and 23rd Street all cross, where the Flatiron Building is today. Traces of other-side-of-the-tracks kinds of divides are very evident in the streets around Madison Square today.
On this in-depth walking tour, history buff Robert Amell will guide us through New York's Gilded Age, an in-between era of sorts in Manhattan's growth uptown. Along with a compilation of historic images, Amell will guide us through the city's history and development, making sense of the buildings and streets of today and uncovering what remains of New York's past, often surprisingly hidden within plain sight. Where did that city come from? What did it replace? Where did it go? What created the look of the streets around the area today? Amell decodes individual buildings and the greater street walls, bringing logic and reason to an otherwise Frankenstein’s monster of history and architecture that is the area around Madison Square today.