In Photos: A Trip Through the Streets of New York As They Were a Century Ago

From the shanty town in Central Park to the crime-plagued slums of Lower Manhattan, these vivid images allow you to inhabit the streets of New York as they were a century ago.

Check them out for more information and start to see our world through photos!


A bootblack stands near City Hall Park. July 1924.

Lewis Hine/Library of Congress; Ryan Stennes

Shanty town dwellings sit in Central Park at the height of the Great Depression. 1933.

Bettmann/Getty Images; Ryan Stennes

A beggar, perhaps disfigured during World War I, sits on the street. Date unspecified.

Bain News Service/Library of Congress; Ryan Stennes

The interior of a subway car including well-dressed female passengers and a uniformed male conductor. Circa 1910.

Hulton Archive/Getty Images; Ryan Stennes

Harlem. 1943.

Gordon Parks/Library of Congress; Ben Thomas

An Italian immigrant woman and her three children at Ellis Island, on their way to join the family patriarch in Scranton, Pa. 1908.

Lewis W. Hine/Museum of the City of New York/Getty Images; Marina Maral

Central Park. 1933.

Samuel H. Gottscho/Library of Congress; Jecinci

Nikola Tesla at work in his office in Manhattan. 1916.

Jecinci

A Ruthenian immigrant at Ellis Island. Circa 1906.

Augustus Francis Sherman/New York Public Library; Dynamichrome

“Lunch Atop a Skyscraper.” Laborers take their lunch break on a steel beam atop the 70-story RCA building in Rockefeller Center, more than 800 feet above the street. Sept. 20, 1932.

Bettmann/Getty Images; Ryan Stennes

At 72nd Street and Broadway, a horse-drawn fire engine races toward a blaze. Circa 1910.

Bettmann/Contributor/Getty Images; Ryan Stennes

A peanut vendor at work in Lower Manhattan. 1945.

Todd Webb Archive; Ryan Stennes

A Guadeloupean immigrant at Ellis Island. Circa 1911.

Augustus Francis Sherman/New York Public Library; Dynamichrome

Men and women stand in an alley known as “Bandit’s Roost” off Mulberry Street in Manhattan. Circa 1887-1890.

Jacob Riis/Wikimedia Commons; Ryan Stennes

An impoverished young girl, holding a baby, sits in a doorway next to a garbage can. Circa 1890.

Jacob Riis/Museum of the City of New York/Getty Images; Ryan Stennes

Waiters serve lunch to two steel workers on a girder high above the city during construction of the famed Waldorf-Astoria Hotel. Nov. 14, 1930.

Keystone/Getty Images; Ryan Stennes

Romanian shepherd immigrant at Ellis Island. Circa 1906.

Augustus Francis Sherman/New York Public Library; Dynamichrome

The German airship Hindenburg flies over New York City, just hours before suffering its deadly explosion in Lakehurst, N.J. May 6, 1937.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Ryan Stennes

A butcher poses with his tools. Circa 1875.

Wikimedia Commons; Ryan Stennes

Kids playing in the street join hands. West Harlem. 1946.

Todd Webb Archive; Ryan Stennes

Soliders and sailors sit by Father Duffy’s statue in Times Square as some boys shine their shoes. June 1943.

CORBIS/Corbis via Getty Images; Ryan Stennes

A Cossack immigrant at Ellis Island. Date unspecified.

Augustus Francis Sherman/New York Public Library; Dynamichrome

A window washer at work on the Empire State Building poses during a brief break from his duties. March 24, 1936.

Bettmann/Contributor/Getty Images; Ryan Stennes

Children play near a dead horse left to rot in the street. Circa 1905.

Wikimedia Commons; Ryan Stennes

Schoolboys in Harlem. 1930.

Keystone-France/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images; Ryan Stennes

Immigrant at Ellis Island identified as a “Hindoo boy.” 1911.

Augustus Francis Sherman/New York Public Library; Dynamichrome

Orchard Street in the Lower East Side. Circa 1902-1914.

New York Tenement House Department/New York Public Library; Ryan Stennes

Jackie Robinson. 1954.

Bob Sandberg/Library of Congress; Dana Keller

The Brooklyn Bridge. Circa 1904.

Library of Congress; Dana Keller

Infamous gangster Albert Anastasia, victim of a gangland slaying, lies murdered on the floor of the barber shop inside Manhattan’s Park Sheraton Hotel. Oct. 25, 1957.

George Silk/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images; Ryan Stennes

Children lick a massive block of ice in order to stay cool on a hot day. July 6, 1912.

Library of Congress; Ryan Stennes

A couple share their farewell kiss at Penn Station before he ships off to war. Circa World War II.

Alfred Eisenstaedt/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images; Ryan Stennes

An Algerian immigrant at Ellis Island. Circa 1910.

Augustus Francis Sherman/New York Public Library; Dynamichrome

Bar patrons hold up their glasses and toast the end of Prohibition. December 1933.

Imagno/Getty Images; Ryan Stennes

A boy and several men pause from their work inside a sweatshop. 1889.

Jacob Riis/Library of Congress/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images; Ryan Stennes

A laborer works on the frame of the Empire State Building. 1930.

Lewis Hine via Wikimedia Commons; Ryan Stennes

The Brooklyn end of the Manhattan Bridge while still under construction. 1908.

AP Photo/Eugene de Salignac/NYC Municipal Archives; Jecinci

Mulberry Street in Mahattan. Circa 1900.

Detroit Publishing Co./Library of Congress; Dynamichrome

Newsies and other child laborers gather outside a newspaper office. February 1910.

Lewis Hine/Library of Congress; Ryan Stennes

A laborer during construction of the Empire State Building. 1931.

Lewis Hine/New York Public Library; Ryan Stennes

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