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History101.NYC is an ad-free learning resource available to the public at no charge. The project is dedicated to exploring New York’s fascinating past. We restore vintage photographs and prints that document the City's history and heritage. We also research the natural forces that shaped the environment, along with the people who formed the landscape and culture.

History of NYC - 1930 to 1935

The 30s would mark a far less jubilant period as the City would come to grips with the grim reality of the Great Depression. An economy at record lows and unemployment at all time highs would take place in the ironic shadow of the city’s growing skyline, which now includes The Chrysler Building and the RCA Building.


1931: Construction of the Empire State Building

Photograph of two construction workers, perched atop the steel framework of the EMpire State Building.

Artist Credit: Lewis Wickes Hine. Reprinted with permission. Getty

1933: RCA Building at Rockefeller Center

Photograph of the RCA Building at Rockefeller Center, as viewed from old Union Club.

Artist Credit: Samuel H. Gottscho. Reprinted with permission. Library of Congress

1930: Chrysler Building and Skyscrapers

Aerial photograph of Midtown Manhattan with the Chrysler Building as the focal point.

Artist Credit: Irving Underhill. Reprinted with permission. Library of Congress

1930: The Chrysler Building

Photograph of the Chrysler Building, designed by architect William Van Alen and completed on May 27, 1930.

Artist Credit: Unknown. Reprinted with permission. Library of Congress

1930: The Chrysler Building

Full length photograph of The Chrysler Building at the intersection of 42nd Street and Lexington Avenue in Midtown Manhattan.

Artist Credit: Unknown. Reprinted with permission. Library of Congress

1931: Midtown Manhattan Skyline and the East River

A view of Manhattan's midtown skyline from Queens. Visible in this photograph are both the Empire State Building and Chrysler Building.

Artist Credit: Unknown. Reprinted with permission. Library of Congress

1931: A View of Madison Avenue

Photograph of cars and pedestrians on Madison Avenue with a political banner for the New York Young Democratic Club hanging overhead.

Artist Credit: Arnold Genthe. Reprinted with permission. Library of Congress

1931: VIew of Downtown Manhattan

Photograph of the East River and Manhattan's famous downtown skyline taken from Brooklyn.

Artist Credit: Arnold Genthe. Reprinted with permission. Library of Congress

1931: Midtown Manhattan Skyline

A bird-s eye perspective of Midtown Manhattan, looking northeast towards The Chrysler Building.

Artist Credit: William Frange. Reprinted with permission. Library of Congress

1931: New York Harbor

Photograph of Manhattan's rapidly growing skyline on its southeastern waterfront.

Artist Credit: Arnold Genthe. Reprinted with permission. Library of Congress

1931: View from Skyscraper

Photograph taken from a skyscraper in Manhattan.

Artist Credit: Arnold Genthe. Reprinted with permission. Library of Congress

1932: Asleep on South Street

Photograph of men sleeping in the doorways of South Street's storefronts at the height of the Great Depression - an era of poverty as the city endured widespread unemployment and homelessness.

Artist Credit: Unknown. Reprinted with permission. Getty

1934: Wholesale Market in Lower Manhattan

Photograph of workers unloading trucks with dollies at a downtown Manhattan market.

Artist Credit: Samuel H. Gottscho. Reprinted with permission. Library of Congress

Next Chapter: History of NYC - 1935 to 1940

The Great Depression has come and gone, and the city is slowly returning to life. Rockefeller Center was built and the American Ballet Theatre was opened. The High School of Mus... Continue Reading

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