A Remarkable Photo History of New York City

Every so often a treasure-trove of previously inaccessible images is made available that makes me want to drop everything and just marvel at the collection. Such was the case with almost a million never-before-seen photographs unveiled one year ago that represent a remarkable visual history of New York City.

Most of the images in this stunning digital gallery, dating back to the 1800s, were taken by unnamed city workers and depict everything from stately municipal buildings to gangland killings and the city’s bustling ports. The collection also includes some 1,300 images taken by local photographers of the Depression-era Works Progress Administration.

According to Assistant NY Commissioner Kenneth Cobb, the painstaking, four-year project was an endeavor to enable everyone to enjoy this fantastic collection of photographs, share them online, or even purchase prints. While some of these images were published previously, most were only accessible in recent years and only by visiting the archive’s offices in lower Manhattan.

The few known contributors to the collection include Eugene de Salignac, official photographer for the Department of Bridges, Plants, and Structures from 1906 to 1934. Another group of images were taken by New York detectives during their investigation of crimes. The database of historical images continues to grow and will be periodically updated by New York’s Department of Records.

Over the past year I’ve frequently taken time to explore the gallery, and you may wish to do the same at the following link. Enjoy! http://nycma.lunaimaging.com/luna/servlet

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