West Side Story: New York City borough looked before hipsters took over
For years it has been a mecca for hipsters, with their music, art and sustainable living ethos, but Brooklyn has long been attracting creative types willing to travel across the world in search of a better life. A series of photos taken by Life magazine's photographer Ed Clark after the Second World War shows how New York City's most populous borough has supported a thriving community for decades. Many of the scenes reflect life in Kings Country today. Couples embrace on the beach with the bright lights of Coney Island behind them, roof tops provide the perfect place to chat with friends in the summer, and families gather in Bed-Stuy. However, the vintage photos show a more family orientated feel compared to today, where an influx of hipsters with their trendy clothes and remarkable facial hair has led to a rash of organic cafes, vintage boutiques, record shops and micro breweries. 'Models, writers, actors, and artists have been flocking to New York’s Left Bank for its destination restaurants, bustling farmers’ markets, Parisian-style parks, and passionate dedication to l’art de vie,' a recent post on vogue.com stated. However, as this collection of photos from Life and other 1940s photographers shows, the love affair with Brooklyn is nothing new and the borough still has the same power to sustain free-thinking, creative communities.
Bustle: Cars and trolleys fill the roads around Flushing Avenue, Graham and Broadway
Rooftop living: Two women make the most of the top of their building as they gossip in the sun
Baby boom: Families fill the street in Sumner Avenue, now Marcus Garvey Boulevard in Bed-Stuy, which is still popular with families
Pop up community: Neighbors chat outside one of the metal huts put up in Canarsie after the Second World War to house about 8,000 veterans and their families
Unchanged: A couple embrace on the beach under the bright lights of Coney Island
The real thing: A gang of boys huddle in front of an advert for Coca-Cola in 1946
Skyline: Manhattan's skyscrapers and buildings can be seen across the water in 1946
City view: Brooklyn Bridge still offers a perfect place to view the city from
Cool off: Members of Brooklyn's Norwegian community escape the July heat with a dip in a Bay Ridge pool
Fun of the fair: Children play on the whirling discs at Coney Island
Well stocked: A storekeeper puts up a sign among the canned goods at Al's Food Market in Dean Street
Trend: Brooklyn has become a mecca for young hipsters in recent years
Arty: Young couples are now drawn to the borough for the music and creative lifestyle it offers
New York City in the 1960s, where hippies in Greenwich Village avoided the squares uptown and baby boomers worried about the war on the horizon. Photographer James Jowers walked the streets of Manhattan capturing immigrants dancing in the streets downtown while throngs of World War II veterans streamed into their Midtown offices. Taken only a few years after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, but before the Vietnam War becomes a national rallying cry for the disenchanted masses, the pictures capture New York in a period of transition unlike any other in its history.
Mr Jowers caught it all, and now these images are part of a permanent collection at the George Eastman House, a film and photography museum in Rochester, New York.
The museum has made many photos available online to the interested masses unable to make the trek upstate but wanting to go back in time.
1st Avenue: A woman exits a fish market that has since become an Indian grocery
West 3rd Street: A man casually rests against a car while smoking a cigarette.
Old and young: The man on the left was captured on Fifth Avenue, the young girl at right First Avenue
New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue: A woman leans on a railing in front of the library on the corner of 42nd and 5th
St Mark's Place: A woman walks by the empty side of a building - a rarity both then and now
The Lower East Side: A young girl looks down from a fire escape as young children play beside her
Two people dance in the street on East Third (left) and a man rests in front of a store on Broadway
Thompkins Square park: Couples and a dog enjoy an afternoon in the Lower East Side park.
Within blocks of each other: An immigrant looks out of his shop on the Lower East Side while a man hoists an American flag in the middle of East 3rd Street
Washington Square Park: People still play chess on the same tables these men are seen playing on almost 50 years ago
Tompkins Square Park: The woman sitting on this bench has likely had better days
East Second Street: This guy's too cool for school while smoking on the back of this Chrysler
42nd Street and 8th Ave: A lady stands on the corner just outside Times Square
St Marks Place: A woman stands in the doorway of a building on the infamous hippie haunt
'WEST SIDE STORY': PHOTOS FROM THE SET OF A HOLLYWOOD CLASSIC
"Sharks, bedeviled by the tormenting of the Jets, cook up some dirty tricks. Here they pour yellow paint down on a quartet of dejected Jets. Both gangs are itching for a fight
HIPSTERLESS BROOKLYN: VINTAGE PHOTOS FROM A VANISHED WORLD
From photographer's notes: "Trolleys & tracks at corner of Flushing Ave., Graham & Broadway."
Brooklyn, New York, 1946.
Corner of Middagh and Hicks, Brooklyn Heights, 1946.
Listening to a Dodgers-Giants ballgame on the radio, Brooklyn, 1946.
A chain-driven Mack truck belonging to the Street Cleaning Department, at 19th Street East, on August 4, 1920. (Eugene de Salignac/Courtesy NYC Municipal Archives) #
A 20-inch Discharge pipe, near the foot of West 8th Street, Coney Island, on September 1, 1922.(Edward E. Rutter/Courtesy NYC Municipal Archives) #
Shafts of sunlight penetrate through upper windows of the Vaulted room of Grand Central Terminal, as crowds gather near the information kiosk on the Terminal concourse, ca. 1935-1941.(Courtesy NYC Municipal Archives) #
Firefighters at work, as a steam pumper is hooked to a hydrant and two motorized hose tenders.(Courtesy NYC Municipal Archives) #
Interior view of Brooklyn Bridge station, on April 6, 1907.(Eugene de Salignac/Courtesy NYC Municipal Archives) #
An overturned car, near the 145th Street Bridge ramp at Lenox Avenue, on July 10, 1917(Eugene de Salignac/Courtesy NYC Municipal Archives) #
The overflowing wrecking yard of Academy Auto Wreckers, seen on November 4, 1963.(Courtesy NYC Municipal Archives) #
Children play in the street on a snowy day, 50th Street near 4th Avenue, on February 19, 1924.(Edward E. Rutter/Courtesy NYC Municipal Archives) #
The interior of a trolley car after an accident on the Williamsburg Bridge, on August 16, 1926.(Eugene de Salignac/Courtesy NYC Municipal Archives) #
Approach to the Brooklyn Bridge, seen from atop the bridge, on June 29, 1909.(Eugene de Salignac/Courtesy NYC Municipal Archives) #
Roller coaster and Boardwalk, Coney Island. View up West 10th Street, looking from the Boardwalk to Surf Avenue, on December 19, 1922. The old ride is gone, but a new one stands in its place, visible in this street view. (Edward E. Rutter/Courtesy NYC Municipal Archives) #
Load station entrance for the New York Times, 225 West 43rd Street, with newspaper delivery chutes visible inside, and lighted windows of editorial rooms 3rd floor, on December 11, 1937. Street view. (Courtesy NYC Municipal Archives) #
Manhattan Bridge nearing completion, viewed from Pier 33, East River looking South, on April 7, 1909. (Eugene de Salignac/Courtesy NYC Municipal Archives) #
Police officer carries unconscious child, believed to be a contagious case, to an awaiting ambulance, ca. 1910-1920. (Courtesy NYC Municipal Archives) #
Lower Manhattan, seen from East River docks in November of 1937(E.M. Bofinger/Courtesy NYC Municipal Archives) #
116th Street, looking west from east of Third Avenue. "Ride On the Open Air Elevated", written on the side of the El station, as a trolley approaches, on October 8, 1925. Present day street view.(Courtesy NYC Municipal Archives) #
First (oldest) Jewish Cemetery in Manhattan, Chatham Square. (Courtesy NYC Municipal Archives) #
The shadow of the photographer and camera appear on Jamaica Avenue East, Queens, between Hollis Court Boulevard and 212th Street, on October 26, 1928. Present day street view.(Courtesy NYC Municipal Archives)
One more look into the fascinating New York City Municipal Archives, and their recently-released database of over 870,000 photos throughout the 20th century, a follow-up to this earlier entry. Their subjects include daily life, construction, crime, city business, aerial photographs, and more. Today's selection from this remarkable collection includes numerous street scenes that are visible today through Google Maps Street Views, and links are provided to let you see the difference the years have made. [Update - Image sizes reduced at the request of the NYC Archive.] [50 photos]
Use j/k keys or ←/→ to navigate Choose: 1024px 1280px
Lower Manhattan skyline at night, seen beneath the Brooklyn Bridge, Brooklyn end in February of 1938. See this scene today in this Google Map street view.(E. M. Bofinger/Courtesy NYC Municipal Archives)
A blacksmith shoes a horse in the doorway of a smith shop at 33 Cornelia Street, in Greenwich Village, with two little girls looking on, in 1937. See this same storefront today in this Google Mapstreet view. (Courtesy NYC Municipal Archives) #
Italians playing a game of Bocce in Brooklyn in 1937. (Courtesy NYC Municipal Archives) #
View of Manhattan from the Brooklyn Tower of the Brooklyn Bridge, on April 24, 1933.(Eugene de Salignac/Courtesy NYC Municipal Archives) #
Trolley car number 311 at the car barn of the Williamsburg Bridge trolley line, photographed on March 22, 1928. (Eugene de Salignac/Courtesy NYC Municipal Archives) #
Vanderbilt Cup Race at Roosevelt Raceway, Long Island, in September of 1937.(Courtesy NYC Municipal Archives) #
A massive "W" in the Kent Avenue yard of the Williamsburg Bridge. The 20-foot "W", part of a giant "WSS", was placed on a tower on March 20, 1918. WSS stands for "War Savings Stamps." Letters were erected on the south side of the Manhattan tower during World War I.(Eugene de Salignac/Courtesy NYC Municipal Archives) #
View of midtown from Chanin Building, NY Central Building right, RCA Building left, in December of 1937. (Frederick W. Ritter/Courtesy NYC Municipal Archives) #
Crime scene with onlookers leaning out of tenement windows, a man's body on the sidewalk in front of laundry and Italian pasta makers and oil and wine importers, ca. 1916-1920.(Courtesy NYC Municipal Archives) #
Park Avenue tunnel, looking north from Murray Hill Tunnel Station, at 38th Street, on July 17, 1923.(Courtesy NYC Municipal Archives) #
Mr. and Mrs. Babe Ruth watch the World Series game with Kate Smith at the Polo Grounds, in September of 1936. The series matched the New York Yankees against the New York Giants, with the Yankees winning in six games. (Courtesy NYC Municipal Archives) #
The "Granite State", sunk and listing, after burning at her pier in the Hudson River on May 23, 1921. The Granite State was formerly the USS New Hampshire, built in 1825, launched in 1864, and served as part of the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron in the Civil War.(Eugene de Salignac/Courtesy NYC Municipal Archives) #
View from the roof of a shanty looking East, showing 3:50 PM congestion on the South footwalk of the Queensboro Bridge, on April 11, 1909. The bridge opened to traffic on March 30, 1909.(Eugene de Salignac/Courtesy NYC Municipal Archives) #
Play Street Detour sign stands in front of boys playing stickball, ca. 1916-1920.(Courtesy NYC Municipal Archives) #
A view of bustling port area on West Street, ca. 1900. (Courtesy NYC Municipal Archives) #
Part of a stitched-together panorama, composed of 9 photos taken of the East side of the wide West Street, from Rector Street to Morris St, in the 1940s. Be sure to view the full-size 5424-pixel-wide version. The odd overlaps in the stitching are due to the changes in perspective as the photographer moved down the street to take each shot. (Courtesy NYC Municipal Archives) #
A man in a diving suit, about to descend, ca. 1910. (Courtesy NYC Municipal Archives) #