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Google Street View celebrated its 15th birthday yesterday. Among a host of new features, Google announced that users would soon be able to step back in time on their mobile phones and check out how things have changed since they debuted the service in 2007.
Ethan Russell, Director of Product at Google Maps, said in their birthday press release: “Street View is all about capturing the world as it changes, and it’s also a powerful way to reminisce about the past.”
We decided to take our own trip down memory lane (or at least Hell’s Kitchen’s streets and avenues) to check out the changes that Google Street View has recorded in the neighborhood. Typically, Google has photographed the street around 8-10 times over the past 15 years.
Google’s choice of image for their worldwide press release was The Vessel at Hudson Yards (which is a controversial New York structure) — and their lack of local knowledge was obvious when they had the address of the sculpture as 11th Street, not 11th Avenue!
It is impressive how a platform was constructed over an active rail yard so that Hudson Yards could be constructed — the most expensive real estate project in US history. The $25 billion Hudson Yards megadevelopment had its grand opening in March 2019.
The Western Railyards in July 2011 before construction began on Hudson Yards. Photo: Google Street View
Construction underway on Hudson Yards and The Vessel viewed from 11th Avenue in September 2017. Photo: Google Street View
Construction of Phase One of Hudson Yards is complete — July 2021. Photo: Google Street View
THE MARKET DINER BECOMES STARBUCKS
The legendary Market Diner closed in 2015. It hosted Frank Sinatra and featured in Seinfeld. In its place came the luxury rental building Oskar and a Starbucks.
The Market Diner on the corner of 11th Avenue and W43rd Street in May 2009. Photo: Google Street View
By August 2013, the luxury rental building Gotham West had risen up behind the Market Diner along 11th Avenue. Photo: Google Street View
By August 2021, the Market Diner had been demolished to be replaced by a luxury rental building called Oskar. Starbucks now occupies the space where the fabled diner used to be. Photo: Google Street View
TARGET REPLACES THE HESS GAS STATION
The Hess gas station on 10th Avenue between W44/45th Street was reputed to be the busiest in America. Hess sold the gas station to Speedway in 2014, then Speedway sold the site to developers in 2015. It’s now a luxury condo building called Bloom on Forty-Fifth — and Target has a store underneath.
Back in July 2011, the Hess Gas Station on 10th Avenue between W44/45th Street was renowned for being the busiest in America. Photo: Google Street View
In September 2013, it was still in use. You can spot Gotham West luxury rental building behind the station now. Photo: Google Street View
The gas station was closed (it changed from Hess to Speedway for a short while) and a luxury condo building called Bloom on Forty-Fifth, with a Target at the bottom, rose up. Photo: Google Street View
More Hell’s Kitchen Nostalgia
W57TH STREET SITE TRANSFORMS TO BJARKE INGELS PYRAMID
This end of W57th Street was famous for the movie Taxi Driver, the fight scene in West Side Story and nightclubs like the Red Parrot and Emerald City. Developers including Douglas Durst and TF Cornerstone have built luxury apartment buildings in the area. VIA, the vision of Bjarke Ingels, won ArchDaily’s best building in 2017.
Back in August 2008, W57th Steet was a wasteland. Check out the garage sign on the left. Photo: Google Street View
By June 2104, W57th Street was being built on and Bjarke Ingels’ VIA was being developed by the Durst Organization. Photo: Google Street View
By July 2021, the garage sign was gone (it’s now inside the luxury building The MAX on the left) — and VIA had risen to become part of the Hudson River skyline. Photo: Google Street View
ARRIBA ARRIBA — 9TH AVENUE CONSTRUCTION
Only last week, we were writing about Arriba Arriba and their challenges with construction on 9th Avenue. Google Street view (on the few occasions they passed along 9th Avenue) managed to capture the road works hell on camera. Remember, these pictures are from before the current construction work.
Also, it’s fun to watch the movement of VYNL on 9th Avenue and the disappearance of the NETWORK sign on the corner.
Check out the corner of W51st Street and 9th Avenue back in June 2011. Yes, there was construction (hello Con Ed) — and spot VYNL next to Go Sushi on the opposite corner from Arriba Arriba. Photo: Google Street View
Unsurprisingly, in September 2014 there was construction on this corner outside Arriba Arriba. VYNL had by then taken over the corner spot. Notice the NETWORK sign is still there. Photo: Google Street View
A few months later in December 2014, the construction had taken over its more familiar spot in the middle of 9th Avenue. Photo: Google Street View
By September 2015, construction had moved to the west side of 9th Avenue. Photo: Google Street View
Yayyy! PRIDE is a much more cheerful look than construction. This is June 2019 (and VYNL has become ‘ritas) and that NETWORK sign has gone. Photo: Google Street View
The most recent picture from June 2021 memorializes some outdoor dining (and Arriba Arriba without scaffolding). Photo: Google Street View
Check out Google Street View and email firstname.lastname@example.org if you uncover any historical gems in Hell’s Kitchen.