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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 - 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 Music & Art was also spearheaded by popular mayor Fiorello H. LaGuardia – a sign and symbol of the city’s investment in its youth. New York also would continue to establish its legacy as a major world center with the opening of the Ford Foundation Headquarters and the first World’s Fair.


1937: Brooklyn Bridge, Pier 21

Photograph of trucks and wagons parked on Pier 21 at the Brooklyn Bridge on the Manhattan side.

Artist Credit: Berenice Abbott. Reprinted with permission. New York Public Library

1935: Henry Street and the Downtown Skyline

A street level view of Henry Street and Manhattan's growing skyline. City Hall and the Woolworth Building are visible in the distance.

Artist Credit: Berenice Abbott. Reprinted with permission. New York Public Library

1935: Jefferson Market

Photograph of Jefferson Market Court on Sixth Avenue and West 10th Street.

Artist Credit: Berenice Abbott. Reprinted with permission. New York Public Library

1937: The George Washington Bridge

Photograph shows inbound and outbound traffic at the Manhattan side entrance of the George Washington Bridge, which was built in 1927.

Artist Credit: Berenice Abbott. Reprinted with permission. Getty

1936: Traffic at Herald Square

An overhead view of Herald Square the corner of 34th Street and Broadway showing cars, pedestrians and elevated railroad tracks in the foreground.

Artist Credit: Berenice Abbott. Reprinted with permission. New York Public Library

1935: The Chanin Building, Midtown Manhattan

Photograph of the Chanin Building and midtown Manhattan from a bird's eye perspective, taken from the Chrysler Building.

Artist Credit: Berenice Abbott. Reprinted with permission. Getty

1937: Empire State Building at Night

Photograph of the Empire State Building and surrounding skyscrapers illuminated at night.

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

1935: Manhattan Bridge Recreation Area

Photograph of a Recreation Area with various boats docked in front with the Manhattan Bridge in the background.

Artist Credit: Berenice Abbott. Reprinted with permission. Getty

1938: Harlem-125th Street and 7th Avenue

Photograph of traffic and pedestrians on the corner of 125th Street and 7th Avenue in Harlem.

Artist Credit: Jack Allison. Reprinted with permission. Library of Congress

1939: 47th Street and 5th Avenue

Photograph of Fifth Avenue traffic approaching 47th Street in the middle of the day.

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

1939: Entrance Plaza to Holland Tunnel

Aerial photograph of cars and toll booths at the Entrance Plaza to the Holland Tunnel.

Artist Credit: J. K. Hillers. Reprinted with permission. The National Archives

1939: Outlet From Holland Tunnel At Varick Street

Phtograph of cars exiting the Holland Tunnel on Varick Street, looking south.

Artist Credit: J. K. Hillers. Reprinted with permission. The National Archives

1939: Saint Patrick's Cathedral

Photograph of New Yorkers waiting for an uptown bus in front of Saint Patrick's Cathedral.

Artist Credit: Dorothea Lange. Reprinted with permission. Library of Congress

1939: The Woolworth Building and City Hall Park

A bird's eye view of the Woolworth Building towering above City Hall Park on a partly cloudy day.

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

Next Chapter: History of NYC - 1940 to 1945

The 1940s would mark a turning point in how society shares information thanks to widespread adoption of television. The first two TV stations in the city, WNBT (now WNBC) and WC... Continue Reading

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