Explore NYC in the 1930s and 1940s with this street view photo map

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/08/14/explore-nyc-in-the-1930s-and-1.html


Hey @frauenfelder can you include a link?



Added, thank you!


Happy to help. I was looking at this a day or two ago, so I had the link handy.

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O_O This would be awesome for period piece comics like…oh… I dunno… The Shadow?


Good grief, that’s insane. I’m gonna need hours. And bourbon. Bourbon and a few hours.


i’d love to see a push to do something like in google maps. libraries and other large old photo repositories uploading and geotagging their collections. allowing you to click backwards in time in google maps photos or other services.

but it would probably be very human intensive as AI is likely nowhere close to being able to match most photos to most places.


You can get little tastes of that from some libraries. https://www.arcgis.com/apps/View/index.html?appid=ddb0ee6134d64de4adaaa3660308abfd

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that’s really cool except that its cleveland… /s

hopefully more cities/states/towns see that and follow the lead and start to include street level or aerial pictures too.

Here’s the future home of CBGBs, which would be on the first floor of the Palace Hotel.

Any other iconic locations on this map?

Around the corner from there, the house where Jean-Michel Basquiat lived, and died (57 Great Jones).

Ha, so when NYC put these photos up for sale a few years ago, they hadn’t finished scanning the whole collection, so had to buy them sight unseen. Anyway, my Grandmother’s house had been in the family since her mother bought it In the 1930’s.

So I order the photo, and i take it out of the envelope.

And standing there, on the sidewalk, is my Great Grandmother


No freaking way! Care to share it?

This is indeed a good start, but anyone could create similar examples using https://www.historypin.org/ and photos sourced from anywhere.

What I would really like to see is the Google Street View interface expanded back in time using historical blueprints, and then get AI to fill in the shading. The more reference photos you feed the interface, the better the AI shading would become.

The VR-like navigation interface of Google streetview, as clunky as it may be at times, is one of the compelling aspects of streetview.

City planning departments should (in my mind) retain historical blueprints, but perhaps this notion is fanciful and not as universal as I would hope.

The City of Vancouver added the fire insurance map of 1912 to their open van map interface, which is quite a useful incorporation when digging into historical addresses.


But that’s really just one year out of 100.

Building this historical interface might take 100 years, but in the end, I’d like to think it would be worth it.

Sue them for breach of privacy!

Another site for exploring the past, in aerial photos and topo maps: Historic Aerials. It’s US-specific and has limited coverage, but if you’re in a covered area, it can be quite interesting.

If you’re willing to limit yourself to 1990s at earliest, the Google Earth desktop application also has a time slider you can engage.

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