Are you trying to write a period-correct Captain America story or just have questions about NYC in the 1930s-40s in general? The tumblr Steve Rogers Is Historically Accurate is here to help.
"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.)
"A maverick theater and industrial designer, Norman Bel Geddes is best remembered for creating the undisputed hit of the 1939 New York World’s Fair. Mounted in the midst of the Great Depression, the Fair focused on America’s promise of a utopian tomorrow. Geddes’s Futurama, a piece of “immersion theater,” took six hundred visitors at a time on a swooping, simulated airplane ride across America circa 1960." "The City of Tomorrow, a model of Manhattan that Geddes created, in 1937, to promote Shell Oil Company’s new “motor-digestible” gasoline, is often cited as [Futurama's inspiration.] But Futurama’s beginnings actually harken back much further, to the meticulous, insanely detailed private games he created in the 1920s and early ’30s for the amusement of his friends." [more inside]
From 1945 to 1946, Leonard Rudoff served as Apprentice Seaman, 3rd Class on the troop transport USS Gen. H.F Hodge as it made its way to India, Egypt, NYC, and San Francisco. And he took photos along the way..[via mefi projects] [more inside]
Photographs of New York City from the 1940s in color via the Charles W. Cushman collection. The Lower East Side. Downtown - 1960. Landmarks and Times Square (via)
New York artist Ashley Hope's Ripeness is All exhibit at the Tilton Gallery recreates crime scene photographs of murdered women from the 1910s through the 1990s as oil paintings on huge 4' x 6' canvasses. [some nsfw art] [more inside]