Sunday, June 10, 2012

Stunning vintage photos of New York City: update

Photo by Eugene de Salignac/NYC Municipal Archives
People went bonkers last May, when New York City’s Department of Records unveiled its online collection of nearly a million digitized photographs from the Municipal Archives. Dating from the mid-1800s onward, the images document massive public structures being built, gritty crime scenes, night life in the city, immigrant neighborhoods, WPA projects, and all manner of fascinating views of the great metropolis. Interest was so keen all over the world that the server crashed the day after its debut. I know some of you tried to get in and were stymied, but it’s all fixed now. There's even a coffee-table book coming out on the hitherto unheralded Eugene de Salignac, who as the official photographer for the Department of Bridges/Plant and Structures compiled a breathtaking portfolio in the early 1900s. I'm spending way too much time immersed in the archives and will have many more fantastic images for you soon.

I wonder if they had alternate side street cleaning: "All horses and carriages must be moved M-F, 8-11 a.m."
 Wagner, tattoo artist on the Bowery, 1935-1941. Works Progress Administration.

July 29, 1908: Workers dig in the street along the sidewalk on the north side of Delancey Street. Eugene de Salinac.


  1. The photo on the bridge depicts very well how one often feels spiritually in New York, (and how we wish we were sometimes,physically, fed up with all the crowds.) A photo I wish I could take myself. A strange mix of reality and unrealized desires. Looking forward to more.

  2. Thanks for your beautifully expressed thoughts. Having just gotten back to my digs from the Met Museum closing rush (which intersected with the finale of the Puerto Rican day parade), I concur most heartily!

  3. Black and white photos are so classy. Especially when they're of one of the best cities in the world.

  4. Much obliged for your flawlessly communicated considerations. Having quite recently returned to my burrows from the Met Museum shutting surge.