We’re enjoying the Interactive Street View Map Showing NYC in 1940 as Part of The WPA Program




Street view of 1940s New York

Today on Frommer’s, we found the most interesting interactive street view map, showing what New York City looked like in and around the 1940s. The site is the creation of software engineer Julian Boilen, and includes all five boroughs. We are totally addicted!

Moving our curser up and down Fifth Avenue in Greenwich Village, we stopped at one of the oldest art clubs in New York, the Salmagundi Club (image below) still located at 47 Fifth Avenue between 11th/12th Streets.

Street view, 47 Fifth Avenue between 11th-12th Streets in the 1940s ~ now the Salmagundi Club

Viewers can either search by the map, clicking on the tiny black dots, or type in an address. Each image was taken by government photographers between the years 1939 and 1941 as part of the WPA Program. The Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the New York City Department of Taxation developed this program in an effort to photograph every building in the city.

C.O. Bigelow, 102 Sixth Avenue between 8th/9th Streets in Greenwich Village

The Apothecary, C.O. Bigelow moved into its current location on Sixth Avenue between 8th and 9th Streets,  in 1902.

The fabulous Gene’s Restaurant on West 11th Street in Greenwich Village

One of our favorite old-time restaurant’s is Gene’s on West 11th Street, just east of Sixth Avenue. The restaurant opened in 1919, but we see from the WPA photograph that they appear to be located next door to where they are now.

The Waverly Inn, 16 Bank Street in the West Village

Located at 16 Bank Street in the West Village, The Waverly Inn opened its doors in 1844. It began as a tavern and bordello, of which there were many during that time period. It transformed into a carriage house, storing the coaches and steeds of the city’s elite, and then a tea house with patrons the likes of Robert Frost and Edna St. Vincent May. Today, you may find it near impossible to make a reservation.

Veniero’s, 342 East 11th Street

Veniero’s (above image) opened its doors, serving baked goods, in 1894.

McSorley’s 15 East 7th Street, NYC

John McSorley arrived in New York City on a ship from Liverpool in 1851. He opened McSorley’s Old Ale House in 1854 (‘The Old House at Home’). He and his family moved into the building above the bar in 1864. Women were not permitted inside until 1970.

The Ear Inn, 326 Spring Street

The Ear Inn (above) was constructed around 1770. At that time, the Hudson River shoreline was just five-feet from the front door! In time, the river was filled to West Street, and new piers were built for shipping traffic.

Schrafft’s on 13th Street

The above image is of Schrafft’s, the famed New York eatery that first opened in 1898. They had several locations throughout Manhattan, as well as Yonkers, Boston, Syracuse and Philadelphia. The image above is of the Schrafft’s on Fifth Avenue and 13th Street.

Pete’s Tavern, 129 East 18th Street, NYC

The building that houses Pete’s Tavern (above image) was built in 1929, and was originally the Portman Hotel. The present name (Pete’s Tavern) was established when Peter Belles purchased the building in 1926.

Street view of Gansevoort in the 1940s

According to Boilen, the interactive map includes more than 684,000 images. Some of today’s addresses may not have existed then, and many building had already been torn down.

Raffetto’s, 144 West Houston Street, NYC

Marcello Raffetto opened M. Raffetto & Bros at 144 West Houston Street in 1906. Today Raffetto’s is still a thriving family-owned shop in Greenwich Village.

Street view of Columbus Circle in the 1940s

While these images belong to the NYC Department of Records, they are free for viewers to enjoy online, and available to purchase at an un-watermarked, higher resolution.

Lexington Candy Shop, still owned by the same family, 1226 Lexington Avenue at 83rd Street

Surfing around the site, we found one of our favorite luncheonettes. The Lexington Candy Shop is the oldest family-owned luncheonette in New York City, now in its 95th year and looking very much today as it did in the above image in 1940.

Katz Deli, 205 East Houston Street, NYC

Moving to its current location at 205 East Houston Street in 1917, Katz Deli (above image) is a popular destination.

Street view of Astor Row in the 1940s

Above, we walked along the beautiful Astor Row in Harlem, as it appeared in the 1940s.

Below, look at the fabulous marque on the famed Apollo Theater in Harlem.

Apollo Theater on West 125th Street in Harlem in 1940

East 125th Street at Park Avenue looks to be a thriving area, with a wonderful image of the historic Corn Exchange Bank Building, below.

Corn Exchange Bank Building on East 125th Street

So who is the software engineer that so lovingly put all of this together? Julian Boilen. On his page, he will tell you that his goal is to “create software that’s elegant inside and out.” He is currently with FreeWill, by way of Squarespace.

Brownstones along Madison Avenue across from Marcus Garvey Park. Address typed in, 1901 Madison Avenue, East Harlem

Find the interactive Street View of 1940s New York Here.

For the full article from Frommer’s, click Here.