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History of NYC - 1955 to 1960

In the late 50s New York is still coasting on the success of the previous decade. The economy is strong and the population has just passed 7.7 million people. Air travel has become affordable for the working class, leading to the construction of TWAs iconic terminal, and a lot more immigration. Puerto Rico becomes a US territory, granting citizenship to its inhabitants and establishing a strong link between the City of Dreams and the caribbean’s richest port. The Puerto Rican Parade begins its yearly celebration and the musical “West Side Story” becomes a box office hit. The Guggenheim Museum building opens and The Village Voice newspaper begins publication. A sister city relationship is established with Tokyo, Japan – a move which benefits both communities in the long term while increasing the City’s international profile.

1957: Midtown Manhattan from Roosevelt Island

Panoramic photograph of Manhattan's skyline taken from Roosevelt Island, known at the time as "Welfare Island".

1959: Cars Parked Near Saint Paul's Chapel

Photograph of cars parked along Broadway & Fulton Street in front of St. Paul's Chapel in downtown Manhattan.

1959: Saint Paul's Chapel

Historic American Buildings Survey photograph showing the church yard of St. Paul's Chapel from the west, framed by Broadway & Fulton Streets.

1957: The Bowery

Photograph of The Bowery and Delancey Street showing cars at a stoplight and signs for the People's Bar, and the Crystal Hotel and Pioneer Hotel in distance.

1956: Balthazar Korab with TWA model

Photograph of architect Balthazar Korab with a scale model of his proposed design for the Trans World Airlines Terminal and John F. Kennedy Airport in Queens.

1955: TWA Terminal, Exterior Facade

Photograph of an exterior wall of the Trans World Airlines Terminal which highlights its mid-century modern aesthetic.

1955: TWA Terminal Ticket Counters

Photograph of TWA Terminal Interior. On the left we see the mezzanine support structure with ticket counters beyond the right.

1956: Fly TWA Advertisement

Art poster featuring an abstract interpretation of Times Square in New York with a TWA jet and jetstream at the top of the image.

1956: A New Diamond in Manhattan's Sky

Photograph shows beacon lights beaming brightly from atop the Empire State Building at night illuminating the clouds in the sky.

1956: Two Women Talking in Midtown Manhattan

Photograph of two women in striped sweaters chatting on a sidewalk corner near East 41st Street.

1957: Man Standing in Front of Macy's

Photograph of a man in shorts with feathered cap, standing on a street curb with Macy's department store in the background.

1955: Woman Holding an Umbrella

Photograph of a woman holding an umbrella and leaning on a bannister against a bustling backdrop of pedestrians, traffic, and storefronts.

1957: The King of Pizza

Photograph of customers lined up for a slice at The King of Pizza.

1956: Marquee in Times Square

Photograph of Marquee in Times Square - The neighborhood would become renowned for go-go bars and peep show establishments.

1955: Rivington Street Scene

Photograph of Rivington Street bustling with pedestrians against a backdrop of business signs and the local elevated railroad.


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