Going back in Gotham: OldNYC lets you explore 19th and early 20th century streets of New York City


posted Sunday, August 7, 2016 at 4:59 AM EST


Earlier this year, I wrote a story about the New York Public Library (NYPL) adding nearly 200,000 high-resolution images to their Digital Collections archive. They opened up their files and offered an improved API for developers as well. Dan Vanderkam has taken advantage and collaborated with the NYPL to create what is essentially a Google Street View for 19th and early 20th century New York City.

It's fascinating to be able to turn back time and see what the Big Apple looked like way back when. The city was still bustling, but you see buildings that no longer exist and get a unique glimpse at what society and culture was like in earlier times of the city's storied history.

There are other interesting ways to interact with the NYPL Digital Collections that developers have created. You can create and share 3D images from the NYPL's stereograph collection here. There are visualization tools for the catalog available here. If you enjoy the Old NYC project above, then this "then and now" project for Fifth Avenue will interest you too.

As you can see, Vanderkam has plotted a lot of images for his OldNYC project.
This is just one example of the unique opportunity OldNYC provides. This series of images captured on Broadway by Percy Loomis Sperr show a building that was demolished in preparation for the construction of the iconic Woolworth Building.

OldNYC is one of the most impressive implementations of the NYPL's massive collection of digital files I've seen. Be sure to check it out.

(Seen via Tech Insider. Index image)