A vintage image of neighborhood boys sitting on a gate, midday outside a brownstone at the corner of Lexington Avenue and 118th Street in Harlem, NY. Circa 1912.Simple photographs can tell the best stories. For this image, the photographer stands on the northeast corner and shoots diagonally across to capture subjects at the (as marked “S. W. Cor.”) southwest corner. The picture frame is a mashup of trolley railroad tracks, long wooden planks on either side of the rails, running in different directions but holding it all together. This image captures these Harlem boys perched atop a gate, staring at the camera, as neighbors look back on the stoops of Brownstones from farther down the block.
Little did everyone know, ten to fifteen years later, these same streets would be paved with asphalt, and trolley cars would be replaced by subway cars.