OldNYC Maps Historic New York City

Have you ever wondered what New York City looked like back when your ancestors lived there? There is an interesting resource that can help you find out. It is called OldNYC.

The OldNYC project was started in May of 2015 by Brooklyn-based developer Dan Vanderkam. He launched the project to provide users a new way to experience the New York Public Library’s New York Public Library’s Photographic Views of New York City collection.

Later, in May of 2016, fans New York City history, maps, and technology, took things one step further. Orian Breaux and Christina Leuci created the OldNYC app. It is available on the iTunes Store. The app requires iOS 9.0 or later. It is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.

The images on OldNYC and the OldNYC map come from the New York Public Library’s Milstein Collection. The majority of the images in that collection are the work of Percy Loomis Speer, who documented changes to the city from the late 1920s to the early 1940s. Other photographers contributed to the collection, too.

The New York City photograph collection began in the 1920s. The goal was to document the changing face of New York City, with a particular emphasis on new building construction, and on the structures torn down and replaced. Historical photographs complemented contemporary images, as the collection continued to grow systematically through commissioned photographs, purchases, and gifts into the early 1970s.

The images were digitized by the New York Public Library (who retrains the copyright for the images.) The creators of the OldNYC website associated latitudes and longitudes to the images in the Milstein collection. This was done by a process called geocoding. Doing this allows the images to be placed at points on a map, which enables new ways of exploring this collection of photos.

To use the OldNYC website, simply click on any red dot on the map. This instantly brings up a group of photos that are connected to that location. Click on a specific photo to get more information about it. You can zoom in or out on the map, in order to find the street where your ancestors lived or worked. You can subscribe to the OldNYC website to receive updates.

Related Articles at FamilyTree.com:

* Maps-Atlases of New York City

* Collections From New York City Library

* Old New York City in Photos

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