Time to play Spot Your Grandma!
April 15, 2010 7:08 AM   Subscribe

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)
posted by The Whelk (19 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
Is that you, Steven Spielberg?
posted by bwg at 7:21 AM on April 15, 2010

I love this! Thank you for ruining my morning's productivity, and I mean that sincerely!
posted by pziemba at 7:23 AM on April 15, 2010

Beautiful, thanks! I wish I could walk into some of these photos and walk around all afternoon, get some good lox at a diner, smoke cigarettes like it's the most wholesome activity on Earth and then buy some fantastic vintage housewares in brand new condition and dirt cheap too.
posted by applemeat at 7:33 AM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

All beautiful photos. Those LES shots are the best. So many great characters in those shots.
posted by JBennett at 7:37 AM on April 15, 2010

Wow, great post. Those photos were really enjoyable, especially the LES. It's all pretty much like it looked the years I lived in NY (84 to 95), really hadn't changed that much. And McSorely's, yeah, I guess that's still there today?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:51 AM on April 15, 2010

I took ColdChef there for a light and dark just this tuesday!
posted by The Whelk at 7:53 AM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:53 AM on April 15, 2010

Weird, that one shot of Washington Heights doesn't look much different from what you see looking north from the bridge today. I can't really convince myself that it's from the forties.
posted by invitapriore at 8:03 AM on April 15, 2010

Times Square then and now. Also

Delmonico's Steak House then and now.

McSorley's Old Ale House Then and Now. More. McSorley's is the city's oldest (since 1854) continuously operated bar.

Wonderful pics, especially of the LES. Thank you for posting this!
posted by zarq at 8:05 AM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


One nonconformist has no hat on his head.
posted by rahnefan at 8:07 AM on April 15, 2010

I remember one Calvin and Hobbes cartoon strip wherein the father explained why old photos were not black & white, they were in fact color photos and the world was just black and white back then. I tend to subscribe to that theory and these photos are disturbing my world view.
posted by jlowen at 8:29 AM on April 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

One nonconformist has no hat on his head.

Congratulations! You've won this round of Spot the Commie!
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:00 AM on April 15, 2010 [2 favorites]

In my mind, I sometimes divide recent history between the time when everyone wore suits and hats, and when they didn't. These pics into the former time are priceless.

(FWIW, when I started watching Mad Men, the signifier, to me, that Don Draper represented an established past that was to change was the fact that he was still wearing a hat.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:23 AM on April 15, 2010

Neat, my grandfather could have been one of those guys in suits and hats walking around. Chances are that he was familiar with McSorley's although my grandmother probably wouldn't have approved since they didn't let women in at that time.
posted by octothorpe at 9:23 AM on April 15, 2010

The janitor at the Brooklyn Public Library branch that I worked at in the early 90s grew up there, and would tell me that, back in the 40s, they still had horse-drawn carts for deliveries and garbage collection. I thought he was pulling my leg. I shouldn't have doubted you, Frank.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:21 PM on April 15, 2010

Not to derail too much, but there are some great photos of San Francisco in the Cushman collection, too. This one has been a longtime favorite.
posted by vickyverky at 1:47 PM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]

With regards to cars, it would seem black was the old silver.
posted by CynicalKnight at 2:29 PM on April 15, 2010

Surely Charles Cushman couldn't have been the only Kodachrome photographer from the 1930s-1940s. I mean his shots are awesome, but I wonder if that's all there is, or if Cushman's work just scratches the surface on what's out there.
posted by crapmatic at 7:05 PM on April 15, 2010

Thank you for the links! This is the best post on the site in a looooooong time!
posted by Mael Oui at 8:37 PM on April 15, 2010

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