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.
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.
The Apothecary, C.O. Bigelow moved into its current location on Sixth Avenue between 8th and 9th Streets, in 1902.
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.
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 (above image) opened its doors, serving baked goods, in 1894.
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 (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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Moving to its current location at 205 East Houston Street in 1917, Katz Deli (above image) is a popular destination.
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.
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.
Find the interactive Street View of 1940s New York Here.
For the full article from Frommer’s, click Here.