Thursday, September 23, 2021

1914 Street View of New York

Chris Whong has mapped out a collection of vintage photos from the New York Historical Society to create a virtual Stroll Down Flatbush Avenue circa 1914. Chris recently discovered the society's Subway Construction Photograph Collection, 1900-1950". This collection of vintage photographs of New York includes a continuous series of photographs taken on Flatbush Avenue, from Grand Army Plaza to the present-day Barclays Center. Chris has geolocated and mapped every one of this series to create an historical Street View tour of 1914 Flatbush Avenue.

It is not often that you get a chance to travel back in time over 100 years. I had a lot of fun walking down Flatbush Avenue on Chris's map just noting the many sights that you now no longer see in New York. These sights include barber poles, cigar store Indians, trolley stations, hat cleaners and horse-drawn delivery carriages. 

Being a bit of nerd I also took a virtual walk along the same section of Flatbush Avenue using Google Street View. The 21st Century walk is a lot more unpleasant than the early 20th Century walk. Nowadays there are four lanes of busy car traffic (with an additional two lanes of street parking), 90% of the stores seem to sell fast food and worst of all there are far fewer hats than there used to be. 

If you enjoy exploring the New York of yesteryear then you can also explore vintage photographs of the city on the excellent Street View of 1940's NYC and Street View of 1980s.NYC. In the 1940's, and again in the 1980's, the New York Works Progress Administration took photographs of every building in the city, in order to help estimate property values and property taxes. These two interactive maps allow you to browse these huge collections of New York street scenes by location. Like Chris's map they allow you to travel back in time and explore Street View scenes of New York during different eras of its history.

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