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NYC circa 1924
February 1, 2010 8:01 AM   Subscribe

Precursor to Google Maps? Overhead photos of NYC circa 1924. (Click the camera icon and slide to 1924)
posted by jefficator (35 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hey! I can see the lot that would eventually become my house from here!
posted by The Whelk at 8:03 AM on February 1, 2010


What? No "Helicopter View"?
posted by tybeet at 8:07 AM on February 1, 2010


This is wonderful.
posted by dunkadunc at 8:08 AM on February 1, 2010


That's really cool. Although sadly, the Empire State Building wasn't built then and this map doesn't cover the Statue of Liberty so you can't see either of the only two real things that exist in NYC.
posted by DU at 8:09 AM on February 1, 2010


I love this kind of thing. In Minnesota you can get aerial photographs for much of the state going back to the 1930s.
posted by norm at 8:09 AM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


They forgot to label the blocks.
posted by Throw away your common sense and get an afro! at 8:11 AM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


That's really cool. Although sadly, the Empire State Building wasn't built then and this map doesn't cover the Statue of Liberty so you can't see either of the only two real things that exist in NYC.

Clearly you have never been here. Real New Yorkers don't go to either of these places. Ever.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:15 AM on February 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


It'd be really cool if Google would pick up these photos (surely they're in the public domain, right?) and use the Google Maps API. Since the roads are basically the same, maybe it could be a cool little easter egg for NYers.
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:16 AM on February 1, 2010


>the only real things in NY
GOOGLE THE CHRYSLER BUILDING HOLOGRAM DECEPTION! WAKE UP SHEEPLE!
posted by mccarty.tim at 8:18 AM on February 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Clearly you have never been here. Real New Yorkers don't go to either of these places. Ever.

Real New Yorkers don't exist. There's only foul-mouthed but kind-hearted taxi drivers, women who talk about sex, men who bust ghosts and neurotic Jews.
posted by DU at 8:19 AM on February 1, 2010 [10 favorites]


It's lovely and strange realizing that at least two of my grandparents, along with millions of other now mostly dead people, were there as that plane flew overhead snapping pictures.
posted by mareli at 8:34 AM on February 1, 2010


And they're still trying to replace that 2nd Ave train.
posted by TrialByMedia at 8:39 AM on February 1, 2010


This is fantastic. (And partially answers the question of how old my apartment building is -- at least 86 years, apparently!)
posted by Narrative Priorities at 9:07 AM on February 1, 2010


Roosevelt Island has an erection.
posted by jessssse at 9:10 AM on February 1, 2010


Holy cow, that's neat.
posted by brundlefly at 9:10 AM on February 1, 2010


Narrative Priorities: And partially answers the question of how old my apartment building is

Have you tried PropertyShark.com?
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 9:10 AM on February 1, 2010


This is fantastic. (And partially answers the question of how old my apartment building is -- at least 86 years, apparently!)

You can find out how old your building is (along with lots of other info) by looking up its certificate of occupancy at http://www.nyc.gov/html/dob/html/bis/bis.shtml.
posted by jessssse at 9:14 AM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is like candy for me. So awesome. Look at how many piers there were on the Hudson side! Just a small fraction of them remain today. Reminds me of the line from Moby Dick:

"There now is your insular city of the Manhattoes, belted round by wharves as Indian isles by coral reefs - commerce surrounds it with her surf."
posted by pziemba at 9:15 AM on February 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Having played with this for a while, some bits and pieces I found interesting:

- The ways in which the construction of the BQE transformed the Brooklyn waterfront. Note, in particular, neighborhoods like Vinegar Hill (located just west of the Navy Yards), which were shrunken and isolated by the new highway.

- The original Penn Station.

- The west side of lower Manhattan, in the area that later became Battery Park and the World Trade Center.

- The deterioration of "Admiral's Row," the officer's houses just to the south and west of the Navy Yards.

- Downtown Brooklyn and the housing projects north of Fort Green Park -- almost none of the grid from the 1920s remains.

- A whole lot of housing projects, come to think of it.

- The construction of the Red Hook Ikea between 2006 and 2008. (Which, btw, also doesn't show up on GoogleMaps -- apparently they're somewhat out of date?)

- The construction of the JFK and Laguardia airports and the ways the waterfront was reshaped in the process

(oh my god this is going to destroy my entire day)
posted by Narrative Priorities at 9:43 AM on February 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Somewhere down there in The Village in 1924, my grandmother would have been a 17 year old high school student who had just gotten kicked out of the house by her strict Irish immigrant father for wearing makeup and going to movies.
posted by octothorpe at 10:16 AM on February 1, 2010


From this thread, I've learned that one of the buildings I lived in when I was briefly in NYC is "...classed as Homes for Indigent Children, Aged, Homeless (N2)". That's hilarious, considering what I was paying for rent.

Also this is awesome.
posted by shinyshiny at 10:48 AM on February 1, 2010


To see the big ships at Chelsea Piers shrink. . .that is stunning.
posted by Danf at 10:57 AM on February 1, 2010


It's nice to see what New York looked like back before Moses put highways everywhere.
posted by Rarebit Fiend at 12:40 PM on February 1, 2010


It's nice to see what New York looked like back before Moses put highways everywhere.

It took me a good 2 minutes to realize you meant ROBERT Moses and were not, in fact, blaming an Old Testament figure for modern NYC Metro Area traffic conditions.
posted by elizardbits at 12:59 PM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Rarebit Fiend, I was thinking the same thing. In 1924, Moses's reign was really just beginning. None of his most notable achievements existed. To wit:

- No Triborough Bridge
- No Riverside Park. You can see the at-grade railroad which Moses managed to get moved underground, and what a nasty mess it must have been back then. Move up to around 72nd street and the river, and slide back and forth between 1924 and 2006. Incredible!
- None of his famous WPA-era pools. McCarren Park pool seems to be just an empty lot.
- No Henry Hudson or FDR drives
- No Lincoln or Holland Tunnel. The Holland Tunnel was under construction in 1924, and was to open 3 years later. It seems from looking at the picture that there was some construction underway at where the tunnel empties out into Manhattan, though...
- Sara D. Roosevelt park, in between Chrystie & Forsythe, was still a glut of tenements.

One of the most astonishing things about this, IMO, is the ability to see the unbelievably dense living conditions that spread out across the LES, and how much was razed. Granted, a lot of those tenements still exist today, but look south of Grand and east of Essex - whole neighborhoods were basically wiped off the map, in some cases along with entire streets.
posted by pziemba at 1:18 PM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Needs more orchestra.
posted by Rhaomi at 1:24 PM on February 1, 2010


This is seriously one of the coolest things I've seen in a while - and produced by the city government?! New York City, I hereby forgive you for levying on me what I thought was such an egregiously large income tax for the past five years!

Next step: create a new point in time, and represent it as a bird's-eye-view by taking tons of pictures of the NYC diorama at the Queens Museum of Art.
posted by pziemba at 1:24 PM on February 1, 2010


It's nice to see what New York looked like back before Moses put highways everywhere.

And you had to like it, because getting out of the city would take hours. Like to get to NJ by car, I think the only option was to go all the way up to the GWB, which is a lot of blocks when you have no highways at all. (Actually, the GWB was built a few years after this map, so I guess there was no option? Car ferry, maybe?)
posted by smackfu at 3:47 PM on February 1, 2010


Cannot understand how anyone has not loved the fact that NY's "GIS" system is called the DoITT system. DoooIttttttt!
posted by tmcw at 4:36 PM on February 1, 2010


>the only real things in NY
GOOGLE THE CHRYSLER BUILDING HOLOGRAM DECEPTION! WAKE UP SHEEPLE!

I did, and words can't describe how disappointed I am that this page was the only real result.

**kicks can**
posted by Brainy at 5:56 PM on February 1, 2010


And you had to like it, because getting out of the city would take hours

Not true at all. You could take the Tube to Hoboken and a DLW train to many towns in Jersey. It wouldn't have been much slower than today.
posted by octothorpe at 8:55 PM on February 1, 2010


Fascinating. Am I the only one wishing for Google Earth to get these maps so we could have a real 'fly through' instead of just looking from above?
posted by scrm at 1:58 AM on February 2, 2010


Not true at all.

Interesting. I got that from The Power Broker, which is generally correct.
posted by smackfu at 6:32 AM on February 2, 2010


(I would find an actual cite but that's a damn long book.)
posted by smackfu at 6:33 AM on February 2, 2010


smack, you're right that driving out of the city would have taken forever on streets but I was just pointing out that most people didn't need to drive in and out of the city. There was a huge amount of public transportation by then.
posted by octothorpe at 6:42 AM on February 2, 2010


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