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Street Photography on Steroids – Over 870,000 pics of New York’s last 150 years

AP Photo/New York City Municipal Archives, WPA Federal Writers' Project, Jack Rosenzwieg

This was a project going on for the last four years. The New York City Department of Records digitalized over 870,000 documents, most of them are pictures. Now the archive has been put online and is accessible to everyone. 150 years of NYC’s history at your mouse click! You’ll find everything that belongs to NYC’s past and chronicles: Mafia bosses, working scenes, street life, and much much more. Most of the pictures have not been shot by famous photographers but by public workers, employees etc. In one word: normal people like you and me. There are also lots of pictures shot by police officers while investigating a crime scene (hence, a lot of death people – be warned). This is an exceptional historical and photographic documentation. And it is free! You can access the archives clicking here, but be warned that due to the high traffic volume there may be problems or slow-downs. Update: for the time being the service is unavailable. :-(

Welcome to the New York City Municipal Archives Online Gallery.  This ever-expanding gallery is your entry point into the vast visual holdings of the Archives.  The Online Gallery provides free and open research access to over 800,000 items digitized from the Municipal Archives’ collections, including photographs, maps, motion-pictures and audio recordings.

I had a chance to enter the site and check some of the pics (“some” because there are 870k documents). Some of the images are simply great, and totally unknown. This is history in pictures, and as I said in the title it’s also “street photography on steroids”. Many images show everyday’s street life, and it covers 150 years. For sure worth a look! Enjoy.

 

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