Throwback Thursday: A New View of the Old Neighborhood

The city recently digitized 720,000 photos that were taken taken for tax purposes between 1939 and 1941, and made them available on the internet. The archive shows every building in the city at the time. Check out the location of Gray’s Papaya on 72nd Street and Broadway, which only seems like it’s been around forever.

Browse the archives yourselves here, and let us know what you find!

NEWS | 27 comments | permalink
    1. Jeff Berger says:

      Does anyone know about the cafeteria? What was on top of the cigar shop? I see the word “National” but I can’t make out the rest.

    2. yoyomama43 says:

      Cool! the fire hydrant in the foreground hasn’t moved!
      Thanks for posting this!

    3. Jean says:

      Most of the mom and pop stores of my past, are gone.
      “Progress”.

      • Tony says:

        My father owned the Signal Diner which was across the street from St. Paul’s Chapel which was on the site of the WTC, old and new. He lived in the west 70’s as a young man and I know he probably peered into the 5 cent burger joint in the old photo to compare how they did business.

    4. drg says:

      These photos have been online for more than 5 years. I ordered one on line from w 95, and hung it on my wall.

      Are there newer digitized ones?

    5. Ken J. says:

      5 cent hamburgers!

    6. Tom says:

      Exact same fire hydrant!

    7. UWSHebrew says:

      check this out that was posted on youtube two days ago! 106th street with sound, 1930!

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpJxoHDcppM

    8. lyla b ward says:

      The Schulte cigar boxes were ideal for marble games–the lid, lowered, became a ramp, and the player, shooting across the avenue had to get her marble up the ramp and into the box to win a prize–the further the distance, the greater the number of marbles she won.

      • manhattan mark says:

        Lyla, on 104th street & WEA in the 40’s and 50’s we cut holes in the front of the cigar box and blacken a space that looked like the openings. The boxes were from the Bering cigar co. My father was a salesman for Bering and he always had an empty box around the house. Rolling a marble across WEA was not an easy game. P.S. I enjoyed your book, thanks for
        letting me participate.

    9. Teri L Tilwick says:

      Wow . . . it looks like the fire hydrant is the exact same one!

    10. jimbo says:

      As a child I remember the Horn and Hardart resturant just off the corner of 72nd street.

      • geoff says:

        that H&H building is now a CitiBank, and when viewed from across the street is pretty much evident once you get past all the signage.

        it’s between Gartner’s and Gray’s Papaya.

    11. Naomi Sheiner says:

      My elementary school, PS 93, is not there. I attended in the late 1940’s but the school was very old, I think 19th century. It was located at 93 St. and I think Amsterdam Ave.

    12. PaulCons says:

      Wait a minute… hasn’t Gray’s been there since the turn of the century?

    13. Mark says:

      That Gray’s Papaya has been there for years. I watched an episode of Rhoda (aired October ’74) where she gets married. Phyllis forgot to pick her up so she is running through the streets trying to get a cab. During her final attempt, you can see that same Gray’s in the background. She finally gives up and catches the subway at the 72nd St. station.

      https://youtu.be/wJO0I52w5Pw?t=2258

    14. It's Over, Rover...It's Gone, Juan says:

      All of this nostalgia-stuff brings back a great line from the 1980 film “Atlantic City” (Burt Lancaster & Susan Sarandon)>

      Lancaster plays Lou, a has-been/never-was “gangster”, now a sad old man with memories of the past, as when he says:

      “The Atlantic Ocean was something then. You should have seen the Atlantic Ocean in those days..”