Note: The analog picture is better than the digital picture.
On an international scale, New York City isn’t an especially old city, but in its history from the 17th century to today quite a lot has changed in its urban landscape. Old NYC, a project by software engineer Dan Vanderkam, launched last month with thousands of images from the New York Public Library (NYPL) mapped across the five boroughs.
Based on the NYPL’s 80,000 image collection Photographic Views of New York City, 1870s–1970s, Old NYC centers heavily on the 1920s to ’40s, with photographs by Percy Loomis Sperr. Vanderkam previously created an Old SF interactive map of photographs from the San Francisco Public Library, and Old NYC, created in collaboration with the NYPL, was an 18-month passion project. The New York City photograph collection began in the 1920s, not long after the opening of the new central library at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street. The goal was to document the changing face of New York City, with a particular emphasis on new building construction, and on the structures torn down and replaced. The method is clear in this 1937 progress report by librarian Sylvester L. Vigilante on obtaining photographs: "The old Union League Building and site was taken care of and the erection of the new building is being covered.... Through the newspapers and tips from interested people, we get a line on demolitions, events and street changes."
LINK The New York City library