Discover historic New York with "OldNYC," a digital archive of the New York Public Library's "Photographic Views of New York City, 1870s-1970s" Collection. Bringing together an extensive catalogue of images from the library's Milstein Collection, OldNYC organizes photographs geographically, allowing users to view images specific to individual blocks and streets.
The project is also collaborative, asking visitors on the site to comment on photographs with "what's there now, what's changed, and what's stayed the same." Users can edit or add to captions on the back of each of the photos, creating a personal element in the latest retelling of New York's vibrant history.
Learn more about the project and view selected images after the break.
Comprised of some 80,000 original photographs and captioned versos, OldNYC is one of the most comprehensive photographic surveys of its kind to date. Built upon the New York City photograph collection from the 1920s, the archive has continually expanded through purchases, endowments, and commissioned photographs. Throughout its growth the Milstein Collection has retained one key objective: documentation of "the changing face of New York, with a particular emphasis on new building construction, and on the structures torn down and replaced."
OldNYC geocodes each image in the Milstein collection, precisely plotting them on a map of the city. The result is an interactive map of New York that users can navigate to explore the history of sites that interest them. The most popular images -- as determined by "likes" and social media shares -- are shown in a sidebar on the project's homepage, and currently feature images as diverse as birds feeding in Central Park, a steam-shrouded Brooklyn Bridge, and a family on their front porch.
Explore OldNYC here.