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Thu Jan 31, 2019, 07:21 AM

Every building in NYC, circa 1940..

The NYC Municipal Archives recently digitized a collection of photos taken during the 1940s of every building in NYC.

The black and white photos were intended to aid the city in assessing property taxes: as a result, they're not exactly worthy of framing. But if you are familiar with an area and want to see how it looked 70-some years ago, it's kind of cool. When I looked at the building where I grew up, I was quite surprised to see that it once had a small garden area in front of it.

Between 1939 and 1941, the Works Progress Administration, in conjunction with the New York City Department of Taxation, organized teams of photographers to shoot pictures of every building in the five boroughs of New York City. The photographs were taken to improve the process of determining and recording property value assessments.


This link is to the Manhattan set: http://nycma.lunaimaging.com/luna/servlet/NYCMA~5~5
The 'category pages' option lets you select places/streets by name from a list.

You can select a different borough using the menu on the left.

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Arrow 12 replies Author Time Post
Reply Every building in NYC, circa 1940.. (Original post)
Princess Turandot Jan 31 OP
pansypoo53219 Jan 31 #1
Sherman A1 Jan 31 #2
PJMcK Jan 31 #3
oldsoftie Jan 31 #4
3Hotdogs Jan 31 #5
Recursion Jan 31 #6
Alliepoo Jan 31 #7
zentrum Jan 31 #8
Dennis Donovan Feb 1 #9
defacto7 Feb 1 #10
shenmue Mar 24 #11
NYMinute 17 hrs ago #12

Response to Princess Turandot (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2019, 07:30 AM

1. cool.

time travel.

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Response to Princess Turandot (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2019, 07:34 AM

2. Thanks for posting

Love the old pictures

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Response to Princess Turandot (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2019, 08:11 AM

3. Fantastic!

Thanks for the link, Princess.

We live in an older building on East 97th Street and it was very easy to find. Weirdly, it almost looks exactly the same! For years, we've wondered how old the building actually is; now we know it was built in 1920.

It's really fun to browse the old photos.

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Response to Princess Turandot (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2019, 08:28 AM

4. Thats really neat. I sent the link to a friend who owns several buildings in town.

She didnt live there till the late 90s, so all this will be cool to her.

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Response to Princess Turandot (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2019, 08:47 AM

5. This was a W.P.A. project. Another was the iconography of New York City.

It is a compilation of municipal legislation, newspaper articles and other primary sources from 1620 to the thirties -- whenever it was completed. As I recall, it was three volumes and expensive. I talked my high school library into ordering a copy and had my students use it and N.Y.T. microfilm for extra credit research.

One of my students published a book about crime in N.Y.C. in the 1870. He has since published in the N.Y.T.

I recall reading about the problem of pigs being allowed to roam the streets. In 1720, this was forbidden. Other stuff was fun. Such as Peter Stuyvesant not being popular as governor of N.Y. Or the response to King George's Stamp Act where an estimated 2/3 of the city's populaton showed up at the harbor and chased away the ship carrying the stamps.

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Response to Princess Turandot (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2019, 09:58 AM

6. This is supremely cool, thank you! (nt)

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Response to Princess Turandot (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2019, 10:06 AM

7. How COOL!!!

This is so interesting!! Thanks for posting this!!

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Response to Princess Turandot (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2019, 10:10 AM

8. Thanks!

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Response to Princess Turandot (Original post)

Fri Feb 1, 2019, 07:16 AM

9. The WPA hired hundreds of photographers before WW2...

...specifically, the Farm Security Administration and the Resettlement Administration, sent them out all over the country to photodocument aspects of American life. Dorothea Lange, Jack Delano, John Collier, et al.

I visit shorpy.com daily - they post all of these photos in high resolution.

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Response to Dennis Donovan (Reply #9)

Fri Feb 1, 2019, 11:48 AM

10. This is a great site!

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Response to Princess Turandot (Original post)

Sun Mar 24, 2019, 02:02 PM

11. Very beautiful

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Response to Princess Turandot (Original post)

Mon Apr 22, 2019, 12:08 AM

12. Beautiful pictures of a bygone era

Appreciate your post

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