People and Professions

The true dynamic of early-1900 New York City is illustrated best by the people who lived, worked and played there. And as far back as 1876, our authentic photo collection shows New Yorkers—immigrants to America arriving through New York Harbor, laborers, professionals, children and street vendors—and a street life like no other.

Lou Gehrig, 1938

Lou Gehrig, 1938

Lou Gehrig, the Iron Horse, played his entire 17-year career for the New York Yankees. In this black and white photograph, we see Lou at batting practice, in 1938 toward the end of his career. Gehrig retired in 1939 at the age of 36, having been stricken with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), now often called Lou Gehrig's Disease. During his career, he set several records, most famously for playing 2,130 consecutive games, a record that was unbroken for 56 years.

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Brooklyn Navy Yard Operating Room, 1908

Brooklyn Navy Yard Operating Room, 1908
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Boys in Front of 14th Street Theater, 1916

Boys in Front of 14th Street Theater, 1916

These boys, just exiting a the Fourteenth Street Theater, look like they are having the time of their lives. It's a beautiful spring day, April 30, 1916 to be exact, and nothing could be better than seeing an auto-racing movie and then palling around New York City with your chums. It's unlikely any of these boys knew or cared, but the theater they just exited had only recently become the "Downtown Home of Paramount Pictures." It had been built in 1866 as the Theater Francais and originally staged French comic operas. 

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The Photographer on Bow Bridge, 1875

The Photographer on Bow Bridge, 1875

In this 1875 photograph, the photographer himself is the subject. He stands on Bow Bridge in Central Park above a placid lake, which reflect both him and the bridge. The leaves on the trees are sparse, indicating that this could be late fall or early spring. The image almost has an Impressionistic quality, as if the photographer were trying to mimic the work of Monet.

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Wall and Broad Streets, 1916

Wall and Broad Streets, 1916

Ah, Wall Street. You can almost smell the money -- unless, like the gentleman in the extreme foreground, you have your finger jammed up your nose. On this day in 1916, the photographer captured the bustling activity of New York City's Financial District. Looking west along Wall, on the right you can see Federal Hall, which at the time was the United States Sub-Treasury building, on the left sit the newly-built House of Morgan and the New York Stock Exchange, and straight ahead, beyond Broadway is Trinity Church.

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Christmas Dinner Line at the McAuley Mission, 1905

Christmas Dinner Line at the McAuley Mission, 1905

The McAuley Mission, now the New York City Rescue Mission, was founded in 1872 by Jerry and Maria McAuley. Survivors of New York City's hard-knock life of the middle Nineteenth Century, they opened the doors of their Water Street mission every night of the year to the city's poor and outcast. In this photo, we can see they were doing a booming business on Christmas in 1905.  Hundreds of men and boys lined up for a Christmas dinner.

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1953 Brooklyn Dodgers Team Photo

1953 Brooklyn Dodgers Team Photo

This black and white portrait of the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers includes quite a few legends. Among them are Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snider, Gil Hodges, Ralph Branca, and quite a few other notables. Dem Bums took the National League pennant for the second year in a row, but again lost the World Series to their arch-rivals, the New York Yankees.

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Erecting a Skyscraper, 1906

Erecting a Skyscraper, 1906

Ironworkers take a lunch break high above Lower Manhattan atop a partially constructed skyscraper. These brave men seem never to have even heard the word harness. Many of the ironworkers who built the skyscrapers of New York City were Native Americans, predominantly of the Mohawk tribe.

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Taxis in front of the Hotel Manhattan, 1912

Taxis in front of the Hotel Manhattan, 1912

Taxicabs wait for a fare in front of the Hotel Manhattan on 42nd and Madison. Notice the dirty duster the cabby is wearing. Men and women of this era often wore such coats to protect their clothing from the dirt of the road as they drove around in open cabs. The signs behind the men advertise the Archibald Foss Real Estate Agency, a detective agency, and a "Depot for Manhattan Shirts."

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