SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
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About the Photos

Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Big City: 1941

Big City: 1941

December 1941. "Elevated train structure and buildings -- Lower Manhattan." Medium format negative by Arthur Rothstein. View full size.

To stay online without a paywall or a lot of pop-up ads, Shorpy needs your help. (Our server rental alone is $3,000 a year.) You can contribute by becoming a Patron, or by purchasing a print from the Shorpy Archive. Or both! Read more about our 2019 pledge drive here. Our last word on the subject is: Thanks!

Another view of this spot from that time

On is a color photo from more or less the same spot taken just about 6 months earlier by a photographer called Charles W. Cushman.

The site gives a comprehensive then-and-now (where "now" is about 2008-2010) of Cushman's photos of NYC taken in the 1940s and 1960s.

And a sad comparison it is.

Locomotion Extravaganza

The photographer has caught the various forms of locomotion in Manhattan at that time--autos, trucks of many descriptions, a bus, a train and people walking--in a wonderfully composed photo where they all seem to be converging. Today he'd have to include bicycles and skateboards I suppose.


The hustle and bustle with a great skyline, I expect to hear someone yell "Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird ... It's a plane ... It's -- "


Looks more like an artist's drawing or a stage backdrop than reality. Wonderful.

All Gone Now

It still amazes me that New York City had these elevated railroads dominating a number of the main streets like that, even though they had the subways as well.

Not Much to Say, Except --

Wow. Great picture!


Below is the same perspective (from the Staten Island Ferry landing up Whitehall Street) in September of 2014.


Ah, looking north on Whitehall Street, East Side El turning right into Water Street. The distinctive 26 Broadway in the distance still stands.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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