October 26, 2015 6:47 AM   Subscribe

Old NYC Mapping New York City (and beyond) using old photos from the NYPL.
posted by ColdChef (12 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
Awesome, it's like walking around my neighborhood with a time machine.
posted by fungible at 7:59 AM on October 26, 2015

Living in a historical district means everything is the same, but more sepia.
posted by The Whelk at 8:04 AM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

Oh my God, this is amazing! Super helpful for my research.
posted by chainsofreedom at 8:39 AM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]

Plug: if anyone wants to help out with my shameless copy for DC (which I haven't done much work on besides plopping the images from the DCPL's relatively small online public photo archive), I'd be glad for it!
posted by waninggibbon at 9:02 AM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

Wow, this is like a dream come true. ( My old nabe.) Thanks for the post!
posted by languagehat at 10:53 AM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

Nice--it's very similar to Sepiatown, which additionally offers the option of viewing the vintage scene alongside the current view.
posted by HunkeredUp at 11:42 AM on October 26, 2015

I remember it well.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 1:36 PM on October 26, 2015 [2 favorites]

Happy to help on an ad hoc basis, waninggibbon. (This church near my house hasn't changed in over 100 years, looks like.)
posted by marguerite at 2:33 PM on October 26, 2015

Cool! And, I assume, related to Old SF.
posted by delight at 4:38 PM on October 26, 2015

I entered my address, and while there is no shot of my apartment building (completed 1930), there is a photo ca. 1929 showing the beautiful old houses across the street and catty-corner from it. Two of the Victorians in the picture are still around (if covered in gawd-awful siding) and lived in.

The other houses are long since gone and were replaced by blocks of flats in the 1930s and 1940s. They all have their own lovely Art Deco details, my building included, even if today they are a little like down-at-heel dowagers who still wear their old finery. There's a lot of gorgeous old Victorian houses around my way - or there are if you can see in your mind's eye past the fake brick and plastic siding that cover most of them today. There's still a few that are more or less untouched, but not many, and it's obvious that they need repair.

The one across the street on the corner, though. I could almost weep. It's been reduced to just a beautiful old hulk that should be bulldozed out of its misery, poor house. There is no modern siding on the house, just the wood from when it was built, which I imagine was in the 1890s or early 1900s. In the photo, the trees are maybe 20 ft., but today, those trees in the big front yard are majestic and at least 50 ft. high, and just drop blackberries like rain from the end of May to almost the beginning of August. You could see where the stained glass was in the busted-out windows. Anything copper was stripped long ago. The frame is sturdy, though, and the porch isn't even sagging. I can only imagine how nice it all was in, say, 1910.

It's still standing with a fence around it, and the real estate agent of the holding company of the holding company of the holding company of whoever owns it are purportedly asking $450K for the lot.

Which s/he is not going to get for it in my part of NYC any time soon, friends. I doubt anyone even paid the equivalent of that for it in its glory days prior to the 1920s.
posted by droplet at 5:53 PM on October 26, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'd also love to help, waninggibbon. What needs doing?
posted by chainsofreedom at 5:46 AM on October 27, 2015

Thanks, chainsofreedom and marguerite!

Likely the next step for "OldDC" would involve finding other image collections (and deciding which to include), geo-referencing the photos, and tagging them by date.

I've been meaning to talk to someone at the DCPL archives about what other photographic collections are available. The map already has all the photographs up on DigDC.

Some other city agencies, like DDOT (e.g. here and here and here), also have historical photos they've shared, though the geographic metadata isn't as helpful as DCPL's.

The GitHub repository is here.
posted by waninggibbon at 10:11 AM on October 27, 2015

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