Astor Place — in one form or another — has been part of Manhattan’s landscape for centuries. It follows the path of an old Native American trail that appears on maps of the island at least as early as 1639. Today we thought we would take a quick look back at the area’s more recent history. From the building of the Cooper Union Foundation Building, to the landmarked IRT Astor Place subway station, to Tony Rosenthal’s Alamo cube sculpture, things are always changing on Astor Place.
In the then and now photos we see the massive billboard advertisement for Coca-Cola, celebrating its fiftieth anniversary in 1936. The Carl Fischer music building is also still there (though now obscured in the photo), but the large billboard and the building upon which it was mounted were demolished and replaced by a parking lot (and familiar al fresco pornography shop) for many years, and finally replaced by what we see today – Charles Gwathmey’s undulating Sculpture for Living condo tower.