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Scenes of Old New York City

Finding any old photographs is of great assistance to historians and those researching their family background. With so many people having lived at one time or another in the many boroughs of New York, the online collection of vintage photos offers a wonderful treasure chest to explore.

The site, Photographic Views of New York City, 1870s – 1970s, represent a hundred years of the people, streets, buildings, neighborhoods, businesses, transportation systems, entertainment and parades that helped define this massive city.  The largest range of images covers from the 1920s to the 1970s. Altogether there are over 54,000 photographs.

The five different boroughs are represented; Bronx, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island. The Manhattan section alone has nearly 17,500 images. You can search by individual boroughs, scanning though each one or use the search box at the beginning of each borough and type in a key word or a street name.  You can also search keywords on the main page without searching individual boroughs to find anything or place related to your search.  Placing the word ‘church’ will produce 313 images of churches from all across New York City.  For ‘school’ there are 110 photos and about 106 images about police and police stations.

On finding a desired image, click on it to enlarge the thumbnail image. If there was something written on the back of the photo, it can also be viewed. The address, the street names are written for each. Then a separate section titled “Image Details” can be clicked on for more information, especially a year when the image was taken (if known).  Various keys buttons at the top of each image allows you to zoom or resize.  By clicking on resize the image is much larger and you can view greater details.

There is a section besides each of the boroughs titled ‘Topics.’  Here is a wide variety of places scattered across all of New York City.  There are some great views of Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge, large advertising billboards, the subways, churches, Hudson River, along with some 28 different images of the Statue of Liberty.  Another location and one with fond memories for many of our ancestors would be Coney Island.  There are 234 images covering that famous location.

This is a good site to explore and gain a better view of American’s largest city.

The above photo image is of the New York City skyline in 1922.

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