City releases 870,000 archival photos of amazing New York history
The unveiling Tuesday by the Department of Records of an online treasure trove containing 870,000 archival photos and other media that span 160 years of city history drew so many visitors that its host website was unavailable for hours due to "overwhelming demand."
The online gallery, which took four years to assemble, includes images, maps, audio recordings and more for free.
"We're making New York City's rich, vibrant past more accessible than ever before," Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. "This one-of-a-kind gallery will give New Yorkers a new look on our city."
The gallery spans many aspects of city living for the past century and a half. It features things like color photos from the 1980s of every building in all five boroughs, which were taken for tax assessments, and compilations of estate and farm maps, photos from every mayoral administration and extensive records of the city's construction projects. The oldest photo in the collection - from 1858 - depicts an empty lot on the site of present-day Central Park.
The gallery's media were culled from the Municipal Archive's collection of more than 2.2 million photos and media, the mayor's office said. The archive is available at nyc.gov/records. Reprints can be purchased for a fee.