In May 2015, Brooklyn-based developer Dan Vanderkam launched  OldNYC  providing history and NYC fans a new way to experience NYPL’s Photographic Views of New York City collection and discover the history behind the places New Yorkers see everyday.

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OldNYC Maps Historical Photos

For me, the history of NYC is what makes this city a romantic place to live. Not romantic as in romance (though, it is that too) but romantic in the way that, around a corner, if you look with your eyes wide open, you’ll find a slice of history that adds to the experience of living in New York City.


Super genius (IMHO) software engineer Dan Venderkam recently launched OldNYC, a collection of tens of thousands of images of New York City dating back to the 1920s and even earlier, each plotted on an interactive map at their point of capture. Find your street corner and click on the red dot to see what it looked like 100 years ago.

The images come from New York Public Library, where Vanderkam has been working with library staff since early 2013. Users of OldNYC click on a point on the map to bring up a list of images showing what was once there. The images all come from the New York Public Library’s Milstein Collection. While many photographers contributed to the collection, the majority of its images are the work of Percy Loomis Sperr, who documented changes to the city from the late 1920s to the early 1940s.(see more on this below)

Users are encouraged to flag inaccuracies and add their own anecdotes about the snapshots on the map, crowdsourcing personal insight into the city’s history – I’ve already added to my block!  Read more