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Rockwood's New York City Location
George Rockwood's career in photography spanned many years in New York City. Below is a photograph of Union Square, where Rockwood's building sign can be seen at 17 Union Square West (red arrow), his studio location during the late 1870s until about April 1891. He later opened a studio at 1440 Broadway.
Across the street, to the left-hand side of the photo, is a large five story cast-iron building that housed Tiffany & Co. until 1905. In the 1950s, a piece of cast iron fell off the building, striking and killing a pedestrian. The building was not demolished but stripped of most of the cast-iron facade and covered with white brick. In 2006 it was purchased for $30 million and is now being converted to condos. The developer decided to remove the brick and is now preserving the remaining cast-iron face by wrapping it in shaded glass (source: New York Times article in the Real Estate section, January 27, 2008).
The Lincoln statue at the bottom left is still in Union Square, but has been moved to the northern end.
Illustrated New York. The Metropolis of To-day (1888) describes Union Square:
At Fourteenth Street, Union Square, one of the handsomest of New York's minor parks, is reached. The park itself is oval in form, about three and a half acres in extent . . . . Its green turf is studded with trees, and the walks are well kept . . . . It contains statues of Washington, Lincoln and Lafayette . . . . In the early morning and late afternoon the park is a great resort of children and nursemaids wheeling baby-carriages . . . . The surroundings abound in emporiums of commerce, . . . the sight-seer passes by many fine buildings--hotels, theatres, jewelry and other stores--and mixes in a varied stream of pedestrian life full of interest and movement. The show-windows of the stores make a complete international exposition of industries; . . . the fancy stores . . . [and] the photographers; where pictures are sold of the last idol of the hour . . . .
Below a modern view of Union Square. Rockwood's building is long gone. Tiffany building is covered in steel mesh.