The New York Public Library just announced www.OldNYC.org, an amazing site that superimposes a map of New York City with corresponding links to the Library’s vintage street view photos of New York City. Some photos date as far back as the 1870’s.
A collaboration with Dan Vanderkam, the site relies heavily on thousands of photos from the NYPL’s Millstein Library (Irma and Paul Milstein Division of United States History.) The Milstein Division collects materials documenting American History on the national, state, and local level, Genealogy, Heraldry, Personal and Family Names, and Flags. NYPL Labs coordinated this effort.
Visitors can browse most popular images and click dots on the map that refer to vintage photographs. Nearly every Manhattan intersection has a corresponding vintage photograph, and many other locations are represented as well. Additionally, users can explore the boroughs of New York City.
Around 40,000 photos appear on www.OldNYC.org, and there is accompanying information about each photograph and address. For instance, 310 West 93rd Street is now a five-story elevator apartment building with around twenty units. Old New York City reveals early plans for “The Allenel,” a building with whole-floor family homes as well as medical office space.
In many cases, architectural renderings and floorplans for buildings accompany photographs. Users are invited to fix incomplete or incorrect content.
NYPL Labs is an interdisciplinary team working to reformat and reposition the Library’s knowledge for the Internet age. Labs combines core digital library operations (digitization, metadata, permissions/reproductions, etc.) with a publicly engaged tech, design, and outreach team focused on enabling new uses of collections and data, collaborating with users on the creation of digital resources, and applying new technologies to library problem-solving.