A History of New York City, in 870,000 Photographs

Over 870,000 photographs of the municipal operations of New York City have been made public and tell the history of the city through a unique medium. Some of the photographs date back to the mid 1800s and highlight the unique physical and cultural evolution of the city – highlighting the construction of various important buildings and structures, the rise and fall of celebrities, and even grisly gang-land murders.

The publication and availability of these photographs is a move by the Department of Records to make these records more readily accessible via the internet.

“We all knew that we had fantastic photograph collections that no one would even guess that we had,” Kenneth Cobb.

The database, while impressively large, still has some prominent gaps that the city is consistently working to fill – and it is growing daily.

To learn more about the project, read the article at MSNBC (or the Photoblog here) or search the archives yourself at the NYC Department of Records.

1914 - Painters Suspended from the Brooklyn Bridge

1936 Babe Ruth and his Second Wife Signing Autographs for the Crowd

1918 Police Investigate the Homicide of Gaspare Candella

7 thoughts on “A History of New York City, in 870,000 Photographs

  1. sharmans18

    These pictures are really neat. I am glad that they have been put on the internet for everyone to use. I especially like the first picture of the painters suspended on the bridge; this picture really depicts New York city very well (bold and daring). Were these collective photographs from a variety of people, or did one photographer photograph all these?

  2. oncampusandonline

    What is the job title of the lucky folks who got to see all of the photos? I’m sure they worked hard, but they were treated to the visual history of one of the most vibrant cities in the world.

    Looks like I’ve got even more to see the next time I’m in NYC.

    Thanks for showing us the great pics.


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