Curated by Joseph A. Gornail & Steven D. Garcia of Fine Print New York • 315 Madison Avenue • Email Us • 212.619.5446

History of New York City - 1880s

The 1880’s NYC would see increased commerce and growth in outer boroughs with the completion of both the Brooklyn and George Washington Bridges. Other iconic moments during this decade include the dedication of the Statue of Liberty, the opening of Katz’s Delicatessen and the building of Hotel Chelsea and The Dakota. The Great Blizzard of 1888, also known as the “White Hurricane”, paralyzes the Eastern seaboard, causing temperatures in New York City to fall as much as 60 degrees.

Photograph of workmen constructing the Statue of Liberty in Bartholdi's Parisian warehouse workshop before it was shipped to New York.

1882: Statue of Liberty Construction

Photograph of workmen constructing the Statue of Liberty in Bartholdi's Parisian warehouse workshop before it was shipped to New York.

Photograph of a the trolley tracks on the Brooklyn Bridge. A city worker is seen cleaning the platform on the left while commuters are seen walking on the right.

1898: Brooklyn Bridge Trolley

Photograph of a the trolley tracks on the Brooklyn Bridge. A city worker is seen cleaning the platform on the left while commuters are seen walking on the right.

Various Companies Operated Local Trolley Lines over the Brooklyn Bridge.

1898: Brooklyn Bridge Trolley Station

Various Companies Operated Local Trolley Lines over the Brooklyn Bridge.

A view looking down elevated railroad tracks. A train is approaching around the curve.

1880: New York Elevated Railway

A view looking down elevated railroad tracks. A train is approaching around the curve.

View north along Sixth Avenue shows the Third Judicial District Courthouse, 425 Avenue of the Americas, currently known as Jefferson Market.

1880: Jefferson Market

View north along Sixth Avenue shows the Third Judicial District Courthouse, 425 Avenue of the Americas, currently known as Jefferson Market.

Aerial photograph of City Hall with its neighborhood buildings and surrounding park in downtown Manhattan.

1880: New York City Hall

Aerial photograph of City Hall with its neighborhood buildings and surrounding park in downtown Manhattan.

Aerial photograph of Fifth Avenue looking south with Rutgers Female College on left and Croton Reservoir on right.

1880: Croton Reservoir Looking South

Aerial photograph of Fifth Avenue looking south with Rutgers Female College on left and Croton Reservoir on right.

Photograph of 660 Fifth Avenue - the mansion of William K. and Alva Vanderbilt.

1885: The Vanderbilt Mansion

Photograph of 660 Fifth Avenue - the mansion of William K. and Alva Vanderbilt.

Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi's "Statue of Liberty" is erected on Bedloe's Island, in New York Harbor, becoming a symbol of American freedom and opportunity.

1886: Statue of Liberty Completed

Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi's "Statue of Liberty" is erected on Bedloe's Island, in New York Harbor, becoming a symbol of American freedom and opportunity.

Magazine Illustration depicting the completion of Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science & Art

1853: Construction of Cooper Union

Magazine Illustration depicting the completion of Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science & Art

Photograph shows a view of Fulton Street toward the ferry after snow plows have cleared a path through the blizzard.

1888: Blizzard of 1888 - Fulton Street

Photograph shows a view of Fulton Street toward the ferry after snow plows have cleared a path through the blizzard.

Photograph shows piles of snow taller than a group of men posing in front of a storefront during the Blizzard of 1888.

1888: Blizzard of 1888 - Piles of Snow

Photograph shows piles of snow taller than a group of men posing in front of a storefront during the Blizzard of 1888.

Photograph of pedestrians walking the Promenade of the Brooklyn Bridge, New York City.

1888: The Brooklyn Bridge Promenade

Photograph of pedestrians walking the Promenade of the Brooklyn Bridge, New York City.

An early photograph of the recently opened Brooklyn Bridge promenade - a much needed connection between Manhattan and Brooklyn.

1883: Entrance to Brooklyn Bridge Promenade

An early photograph of the recently opened Brooklyn Bridge promenade - a much needed connection between Manhattan and Brooklyn.

Photograph of East River boats passing underneath the Brooklyn Bridge overpass.

1885: Under The Brooklyn Bridge

Photograph of East River boats passing underneath the Brooklyn Bridge overpass.

A painting of ships sailing the New York Harbor against a backdrop of Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge in the distance.

1887: New York City Harbor

A painting of ships sailing the New York Harbor against a backdrop of Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge in the distance.

An illustration of downtown Manhattan from Jersey City, long before the era of skyscrapers.

1882: Manhattan Skyline from Jersey City

An illustration of downtown Manhattan from Jersey City, long before the era of skyscrapers.

The Collect Pond, or Fresh Water Pond, was a body of fresh water in what is now Chinatown in Lower Manhattan.

1880: The Collect Pond

The Collect Pond, or Fresh Water Pond, was a body of fresh water in what is now Chinatown in Lower Manhattan.

Aerial illustration of the Statue of Liberty and New York Harbor illuminated by fireworks at night.

1886: Statue of Liberty Fireworks

Aerial illustration of the Statue of Liberty and New York Harbor illuminated by fireworks at night.


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Frequently Asked Questions

What Is History101.nyc?

Welcome to the History of New York City - A Unique Online Gallery of NYC's Origins, Curated and Digitally Restored by Fine Print New York.

We're opening our archives to present this Collection of Vintage Photos, Historical Images and Rare Lithographs. This Exclusive Series of High Quality Art Prints are only Available for Purchase Exclusively on this Site.

Who started History101.nyc?

Joseph Gornail, printer/photographer and founder of Fine Print New York. Joseph grew up in SoHo, Manhattan and is part of a long lineage of NYC printers, learning the family trade from his grandfather. While working for Dolo Records/Stretch Armstrong in 1996, Joseph founded All City Marketing & Printing, and in 1999 Co-Founded the legendary street wear company "Orchard Street " with lifelong friends Benjamin Holloway and Greig Bennett. Fine Print NYC was established in 2004 with a Nike project being the launchpad for a commercial printing company that has not only survived, but thrived in the digital age.

Steven Garcia, designer/illustrator and creative director of Fine Print New York. Born and raised in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Steven attended Fashion Industries High School and F.I.T. before building a successful career at Saatchi & Saatchi for as a professional retoucher and storyboard artist in 1995. Steven started ShinyDesign in 1998 and partnered with Fine Print in 2004 as the exclusive design firm for the company. Steven has independently worked on major advertising campaigns for many brands over the years, such as Snapple, The Waldorf Astoria and Sony to name a few.

Together, Joseph & Steven are responsible for the curation and direction of the History101.nyc project, which has been under development since 2006. They have a long history of collaborating together, going back as far as 2001 when Joseph was gallery manager and Steven was a curator at The New York City Urban Experience, an art gallery & museum that was located at 85 South Street and owned by Mike Saes of the Nike Bridge Runners and True Yorkers.

What Time Periods, Eras, Decades of NYC History are available?

We cover a great portion of the city's history, ranging from its earliest days as New Amsterdam to the late 1980s. Artists are currently working on photos from the 90s to present day,

Here's a current list of what is covered:

Dutch Era: When New York Was New Amsterdam

NYC in the 1600s

Georgian Era

NYC in the 1700s • NYC from 1800 to 1850

Victorian Era

NYC in the 1850s • NYC in the 1860s • NYC in the 1870s • NYC in the 1880s

Progressive Era

NYC in the 1890s • NYC from 1900 to 1905 • 1905 to 1910 • 1910 to 1915 • 

World War 1

NYC from 1915 to 1920

Art Deco

NYC from 1920 to 1925 • NYC from 1925 to 1930

Depression Era

NYC from 1930 to 1935 • NYC from 1935 to 1940

World War 2

NYC from 1940 to 1945

MidCentury Modern Era

NYC from 1945 to 1950 • 1950 to 1955 • 1955 to 1960 • 1960 to 1965 • 1965 to 1970

Energy Crisis

NYC from 1970 to 1975 • 1975 to 1980

Reagan Era

NYC from 1980 to 1985 • 1985 to 1990
How many historical Images are on this site?

There are currently 714 photos, lithographs, illustrations and maps on this site. Each one has been digitally restored and cleaned up by hand, which makes this collection truly unique.

Can I License Any of These Images?

Digital licenses are available for educational institutions (schools, universities, non-profit organizations). Please contact legal@fineprintnyc.com to discuss conditions for licensing.

NOTE: Any form of commercialization or redistribution of these images, either as tangible goods or third party licenses, is expressly forbidden.

Can I purchase prints of the historical images available on the site?

History101.nyc is an ad-free and non-profit learning resource. We do not sell prints of these images. All operational costs are covered by Fine Print NYC

Do you accept admissions to this collection?

Absolutely! Feel free to send us an email with a preview of the image and we will let you know if it's a good fit for the archives.

How do you handle feedback or corrections regarding the historical context of images?

We welcome any feedback that you may have. If it proves to be historically accurate the changes will be reflected on the site shortly after our correspondence.

Do you collaborate with other historical societies or archives?

We have collaborated with NYC's Municipal Archives, The Tenemant Museum, Bronx Historical Society and a number of prominent NYC photographers to produce a series of limited edition postcards which free of charge, but only available via street distribution, primarily in Manhattan.

Do you also provide image restoration as a service for personal photos?

Yes, we can repair, restore and cleanup your old family photos, slides and negatives. You can either send us the digital files or the original photos to be professionally scanned.

Can you repair any type of image damage?

We can restore just about any level of damage or signs of aging, within reason. As long as most of the photo is intact we cn work with it. The one flaw we cannot fix is source material that is blurry. A poorly take photo can only be improved so much.

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History101.NYC is an ad-free learning resource available to the public at no charge.
This project is dedicated to exploring New York’s fascinating heritage through the restoration of vintage photographs and prints.