You were expecting to see pushcarts? At the turn of the 20th century that is what you would have expected to see on a visit to Orchard Street, perhaps the hub of retail activity for the lower east side of Manhattan in those days. I remember taking a shopping trip to Orchard Street with my family some time in the mid 50s, and it looked pretty much as it did in this photo, “Lower East Side: Orchard Street” (August 1962). If you like to bargain this is the place to do it. The give and take is expected in many, many places in the world as it is on Orchard Street. You can find just about anything if you look hard enough.
Two iconic images from the past. The lead photo is “Manhattan Bridge“, c.1919. You can see the Municipal Building through the cables and a trolley entering the scene at the left. Below is “Penn Station“. c.1949.