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About the Photos

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 • SYPHILIS ... SIX OUT OF TEN CURED, 1941

Surf Avenue: 1903

Surf Avenue: 1903

New York circa 1903. "Surf Avenue, Coney Island." Plus: Delicious Ice Cream and Pop Corn. 8x10 inch glass negative, Detroit Publishing Co. View full size.

 

Loop the Loop

The photo's giveaway is the Loop the Loop on the right, the first roller coaster to have the vertical ellipse on Coney, which was built in 1901. That would put this image at Surf and West 10th Avenue.

West 10th was removed in favor of the rail and condos, and the current occupant on the south side at this site is the famous Cyclone.

Wires gone

NYC eventually mandated the burial of most electrical wires in the city, which is why you won't see that same overhead mess in Coney today.

Speaking of which, does anyone have any idea exactly where this photograph was taken on Surf? I'm trying to get a handle on the pre-Robert Moses geography of Coney Island.

Yes, the wires

Gotta wonder if anyone ever debated worth of the blight. My own home town has a 2.5 inch cable sagging on the poles all the way down the street. My new camera wasn't much fun when every shot I could take was marred by lines.

Look - up in the sky!

There are so many electric wires they practically blot out the sun!

What a mess

How interesting it would be to view this collection of buildings without that incredible jumble of wires obscuring the scene. But, even today in towns that have similar poles and power lines people don't seem to notice. Interesting how we can edit to suit our preferences.

"Real German Beer"?

I find it amusing that Piel's sold its product with that slogan back in 1905. By 1965, during the days when Bob and Ray did the "Bert and Harry" cartoon commercials on TV, Piel's had turned itself into a flavorless, highly carbonated product that Bob and Ray couldn't even help to move it to consumers.

On the other hand, Trommer's was always a good and flavorful brew.

What a Turning Point

Horse poop on the cobblestone road and an incredible tangle of wires overhead.

 
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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