I would love to somehow display all of the fantastic photograph below, but cutting it in two does demonstrate an amazing change in the street scene of lower Manhattan.
Just by looking at this photograph below (from 1905), can you tell which Manhattan corner this is? (Click to get a closer look)
This is the right side of a long panoramic photograph. If you were to look at the left side of the photo, you'll be able to place it:
The building at the far right of the top photo is the City Hall Post Office, a controversial "monstrosity" which sat in the area of City Hall Park from 1878 until 1939. In the center sits the storied Astor House, extremely past its prime when this photo was taken. It would be demolished in the 1920s.
To the far left is of course St Paul's Chapel, one of Manhattan's most enduring, toughest buildings, surviving catastrophic fires, terrorist attacks and over two hundred years of tourists.
For a glimpse of the entire panorama, click here (pic courtesy LOC).
As a bonus, here's an Alice Austen photograph of some scrappy shoeshine boys from 1896, photo taken near the corner of Broadway and Vesey -- the same corner as depicted in the photographs above, ten years earlier (you can recognize the Astor House entrance):