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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • UNFAIR TO BABIES, 1936

Subway Fire: 1915

Subway Fire: 1915

On January 6, 1915, an electrical short in a manhole started a fire that filled the subway line under Broadway at West 55th Street with smoke, resulting in chaos for a quarter-million commuters. The New York Times reported that one person, Ella Grady, was killed. We note that photographer George Grantham Bain, like many of us writing checks just after January 1, was a year off in dating this photo. View full size. 5x7 glass negative, George Grantham Bain Collection.

 

Complete lack of crowd control

Amazing how all of the rubber neckers stand on the partially removed grates peering down into the subway.

An interesting contrast would be the mid 2007 steam line blow out near Grand Central where half of the emergency responders were dealing with crowd control.

Woodward Hotel

Which is now the Dream Hotel. It used to have a sister building across from it on 55th Street, long gone.

Lousy Experience

I was in a 1990 subway fire. Water leaked onto a transformer causing an explosion that sent thick brown smoke throughout the train. Nothing like feeling like you and your 50+ train-mates are going to die in a hole.

The building at left rear…

… (with the arches) seems to be the only building in this photo or the other one still extant. It's visible in Google Street View here.

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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