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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 - 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".

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

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.

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

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.

Artist Credit: Historic American Buildings Survey. Reprinted with permission. Library of Congress

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.

Artist Credit: Angelo Rizzuto. Reprinted with permission. Library of Congress

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.

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

1955: TWA Terminal, Exterior Facade

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

Artist Credit: Balthazar Korab. Reprinted with permission. Library of Congress

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.

Artist Credit: Balthazar Korab. Reprinted with permission. Library of Congress

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.

Artist Credit: David Klein. Reprinted with permission. Library of Congress

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.

Artist Credit: Associated Press. Reprinted with permission. Library of Congress

1956: Two Women Talking in Midtown Manhattan

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

Artist Credit: Angelo Rizzuto. Reprinted with permission. Library of Congress

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.

Artist Credit: Angelo Rizzuto. Reprinted with permission. Library of Congress

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.

Artist Credit: Angelo Rizzuto. Reprinted with permission. Library of Congress

1957: The King of Pizza

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

Artist Credit: Angelo Rizzuto. Reprinted with permission. Library of Congress

1956: Marquee in Times Square

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

Artist Credit: Angelo Rizzuto. Reprinted with permission. Library of Congress

1955: Rivington Street Scene

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

Artist Credit: Angelo Rizzuto. Reprinted with permission. Library of Congress

Next Chapter: History of NYC - 1960 to 1965

During the early 60s, New York City and its infrastructure continued to grow under the direction of Mayor Warner and prolific architect Robert Moses. Not all of his ideas were a... Continue Reading

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