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1940s New York City
June 8, 2012 8:41 AM   Subscribe

"In 1943, four newspapers published a "NYC Market Analysis" with photos, maps, data, and a profile of each NY neighborhood. Largely forgotten since, it offers a unique window into New York from another era. The CUNY graduate center has republished the profiles via this map." The Center for Urban Research has also provided a comparison of a number of characteristics between 1940 and today. (Links via Sociological Images: 1943 Map of New York City; photos of 1940s NYC previously on MeFi here and here.)
posted by flex (9 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is an awesome project (and post). Ephemera is always the best history.
posted by MattD at 8:50 AM on June 8, 2012


Ha, the average monthly rental price for the block I live at now in Brooklyn is listed as "Under $30." That covers about an hour or so now probably.
posted by Falconetti at 9:04 AM on June 8, 2012


It really is astonishing how the densest parts of Manhattan and the adjacent bits of Brooklyn have shifted in desirability. I know it's true, I know the shift took place, and yet I'm still astonished when I see a map like that with enormous chunks of lower Manhattan sorted into the very lowest rent category.
posted by nebulawindphone at 9:13 AM on June 8, 2012


I need to get my hands on an exhaustive history of the various demographic changes to NYC over the last century. Looking through this, it's interesting to see which neighborhoods have stayed on roughly the same path and which have made wild shifts in one direction or another.

For instance, basically all of Manhattan is now at the upper end of both rent and income for NYC, including longtime-holdout neighborhoods like the Lower East Side and Clinton/Hell's Kitchen. But Flatbush is now climbing its way out of decades of poverty and neglect, having taken a sudden turn away from the affluence we see on this map somewhere along the line. I lived in Flatbush for years, in a building with cracked marble steps and badly repaired mosaic floors and sculpted plaster molding hiding under fifty years of paint -- a building that was obviously beautiful and luxurious, once, but spent a lot of time being mistreated by negligent landlords and rented by struggling families.

I want to know what happened. And why Flatbush? Why not Sunset Park, where I live now, which seems to have chugged along with its family-friendly mix of middle and working class-ness since this map was made? Why did the neighborhood perched right at the corner of gorgeous Prospect Park fail, while the much less flashy little park south of Greenwood Cemetery did not?

I'm sure that I'm missing a wealth of detail and nuance from the stories of both these Brooklyn neighborhoods, and I wish that I was not!
posted by Narrative Priorities at 9:30 AM on June 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


"What cost $150 in 1942 would cost $1984.08 in 2010."

The most expensive apartments in Manhattan in 1942 cost less in real terms than nearly every apartment in Manhattan today. That money will probably rent you a fifth-floor walkup studio in a tenement today.

And these rents are mostly in the same buildings. New York is silly.

One could probably just raise the top marginal tax rate to 50%. The rich folks in New York would see very little change in their standard of living, as Manhattan rents would simply fall proportionally as less total money goes to chase after the same stock of apartments, and the prices are bid up less.
posted by akgerber at 10:43 AM on June 8, 2012 [2 favorites]


The most expensive apartments in Manhattan in 1942 cost less in real terms than nearly every apartment in Manhattan today.

Sure - but real prices in prime nabes in 1928 were higher than prices today.
posted by JPD at 12:57 PM on June 8, 2012


One could probably just raise the top marginal tax rate to 50%

I don't think you know what the top all-in marginal tax rate is in NYC.
posted by JPD at 12:58 PM on June 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


One could probably just raise the top marginal tax rate to 50%. The rich folks in New York would see very little change in their standard of living, as Manhattan rents would simply fall proportionally as less total money goes to chase after the same stock of apartments, and the prices are bid up less.

I'm curious — is this a generally accepted economic principle? "Higher taxes make more things more affordable for the poor" or something like that? It seems plausible but I don't know shit about economics.
posted by nebulawindphone at 3:29 PM on June 8, 2012


Well, there goes my day.
posted by benbenson at 7:39 AM on June 9, 2012


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