Here are some fascinating historic photos showing what life in New York City used to be like in the early 20th Century. Click on the photos to view them at full size.
1930s Airship over Manhattan
This first photo is of the USS Akron flying over Manhattan in the early 1930s. The USS Akron was an airship capable of carrying and launching three F9C Sparrowhawk airplanes.
Here’s a Sparrowhawk airplane hooking in for a landing in the USS Akron:
One of the cool facts about the Empire State Building is that it originally had an airship docking station on it!
This photo shows the spectacular view from over the City during a sunset in 1932:
Empire State Building Construction, 1930
This photo from 1930 is of a construction worker who is helping to complete the Empire State Building. The Empire State Building was finished in 1931.
Little Italy around 1900
This colorized photo of Mulberry Street was taken in NYC’s Little Italy around 1900.
Ellis Island at the Beginning of 20th Century
Ellis Island is an important part of US history, since it’s estimated that over 40% of the US population has ancestors that immigrated to the US through this entry point! Ellis Island was in operation as an immigration facility between 1892 to 1954.
This photo of Ellis Island is from 1900:
Ellis Island immigrants in 1902:
Lower East Side in 1903
This is a photo of Hester Street in the Lower East side, 1903. At the time, the Lower East Side was a center of Jewish immigration.
Here’s a panoramic photo of Hester Street from around 1902:
Hester Street was featured in a movie of the same name.
Easter Parade, 1900
This photo of an Easter Parade is from 1900. Note the horse-drawn carriages!
New York City Lights, 1935
The stunning City lights, over 70 years ago:
Madison Square’s Famous Skyscrapers
This first photo of Madison Square is from 1908. Note the horses and carriages as well as the trolleys. It’s difficult to see what the trolleys are powered by, but New York City was running horse-drawn trolleys until 1917 — 9 years after this photo was taken!
Here is the Flatiron Building from Madison Square in 1903 — also seen in the above photo on the right:
Also viewed from Madison Square, this is another of New York’s historic buildings — the Met Life Tower in 1911 during its peak as the tallest building in the world!