That’s a circa-1931 panorama, taken from roughly 34th Street and Second Avenue, looking north and west. We’re moderately high up, looking down on the roofs of tenements, so maybe at the eighth or tenth floor level.
On the left, the newly-completed Empire State Building, due west on 34th Street from our location. The dark multi-wing building in front of it is Four Park Avenue. On the far right, the vertically-striped Daily News Building, between Second and Third Avenues, with Second Avenue made visible more by the Second Avenue Elevated than by the street itself. The three tallest towers to Daily News’s left are Chrysler, Chanin, and Lincoln.
The weirdest thing visible is the T-shaped elevated station at Third Avenue and 34th, with tracks running east on 34thtowards the camera. Because of the angle, this is the only place the Third Avenue el is visible, but I had no idea what the 34th Street tracks were. It turns out there was a two-block-long shuttle that ran from First Avenue, near the Long Island railroad ferry terminal on the East River, to the Second Avenue and Third Avenue els. The LIRR ferry was made obsolete in 1910 when rail service to Penn Station opened, and the ferry was finally abandoned in 1925. The elevated shuttle was closed in 1930 and presumably demolished shortly after.