WEEKEND HISTORY: NEW SITE MAPS PHOTOS OF CITY STREETS IN THE 1980’S


Broadway between 95th and 96th Streets in the 1980’s.

Two tech-savvy history buffs have mapped thousands of photos from city archives to create a streetview map of 1980’s New York City. The photos come from the city’s Finance Department, which sent photographers out to snap shots of every property in the five boroughs to help with tax assessment.

These shots are not very artful, but they do have historical merit, as explained by project creators Brandon Liu and Jeremy Lechtzin.

“The photos of individual buildings represented by these thumbnails are not going to win any prizes for technical merit. They’re small, grainy, the color is washed out and often the subject buildings might not even be recognizable but for the identifying code. Still, taken as a whole, the thumbnails paint a distinctive picture of what New York City was like in the 1980s – in many places, still recovering from near-bankruptcy in the prior decade which left hulks of burned-out buildings and garbage-strewn lots; in other places, still hanging on to the grandeur and glory of the greatest city in the world.”

Check out the site here.

Other people have attempted similar projects. A man named Daniel Weeks posted photos of local storefronts that he shot in 1982, but the site he created came down and we haven’t been able to locate him. And the New York Public Library has posted a wide range of historical photos of the city in map form.

 

HISTORY | 6 comments | permalink
    1. Brandon Liu and Jeremy Lechtin, bless your nostalgic souls. This is a treaure to be cherished! Thanks for the news, WSR.

    2. Independent says:

      I remember both stores pictured. Also Wings, a block south I believe. Brings back many memories.

      80s.nyc is completely blank without JavaScript enabled. Bad. A site should never be that dependent upon JS.

    3. joe says:

      So cool. Amazing to see boarded up Brownstones in the West 90s that today would sell for many millions…

    4. Arlene says:

      How cool. Not only could I see my apartment windows but my building has been cleaned since then and I’d forgotten how dirty it was.

    5. Scott says:

      It is sort of interesting. Unfortunately most pics are grainy and blurry. Also, the city filing code is plastered on the bottom of the pics, obscuring crucial stuff, like that Chevy Citation parked on the street (I love pics of old cars). What we learn is that the businesses we lost from the 1980s fall into three basic categories: stationery stores, cleaners and copiers. Why anyone would be nostalgic for this era is beyond me. I guess if you didn’t buy real estate when you could have, then you would be nostalgic — and regretful!

      • lynn says:

        While I agree that the photos are grainy in some cases, I don’t see any filing codes or anything blocking them. I zeroed in on several places where I used to live and it’s slightly depressing to see how small and dirty everything was. I’d completely forgotten about copy stores!