The New York Public Library has done it again. No, they haven't compiled first edition books to stand beside a Christmas tree, nor have they located Sylvia Plath's childhood notebooks. Those were both last week's news.
This week, they've unveiled historic photos of New York City, all in one astonishing map.
Do you want to check this map out for yourself? Doing so is easy. You've just got to check out OldNYC.org.
When you visit the site, all you have to do is click on a coordinate on Old NYC's map. Then, your computer screen will be filled with shots of that place from yesteryear.
Once you've got that screen full of pictures, click on the one that suits your fancy. You'll be able to see the year it was taken, the picture's coordinates, and a brief description of what was going on when the picture was taken.
First of all, the map is fun. Our city is bursting with vibrant history, and this map is one crucial step toward understanding the city's past.
Second of all, the map is sort of heart wrenching. We mean, the oldest pictures have a ton more trees and green life than the more recent. Even more heartbreaking are the OG NYC establishments that have been driven out for corporate chains.
This map shows us that #SaveNYC is a very real concern.
Doom and gloom aside, the map is very cool. Are you curious what the area around your apartment looked like a century ago? Click on the map and check it out. Really, it's pretty crazy knowing which buildings near your apartment have been there since the early 1900s.
It's also sort of depressing to find out there was a beautiful park near your apartment in 1934, and there isn't anymore.
Still, the map can feed your rampant curiosity. Wondering what Times Square looked like before it was shoved to the breaking point with ads and blinking lights?
Just consult the map. It'll blow you away, we guarantee it.
The collection, titled the Milstein collection, ranges from the 1870s to the 1970s. Many were collected by Percy Loomis Sperr, a Staten Island native who snapped more than 30,000 photos of the city in the years between 1924 and 1940.
All-in-all, the Milstein collection contains more than 80,000 photos. Have at it, NYC, but be warned: it's addicting.[via OldNYC.org]