What a difference a century makes!
From the files of the New York Public Library: seen above is the view of downtown’s Fifth Avenue between West 8th Street and Washington Square Park in 1911. The young Arch is visible at the far left. The west side of Fifth Avenue is pictured. Today, the far right corner houses Le Pain Quotidien organic bakery/restaurant. On the south side of the street, what was once a block of quaint, individual, low height buildings is now Two Fifth Avenue, large apartment building/Coop. The Judson Church steeple is visible in the background to the right of the Arch. The Arch was just reaching twenty years old at this time!
See the current day Greenwich Village view as well as all the way up Fifth Avenue to 143rd Street in a then-and-now at the Daily Mail.
The original image was published by Welles & Co. and is listed as: Washington Arch – No. 12 Apartment house, West 8th St.
Photo: From The New York Public Library