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December 14, 2016

31 Historical Photos Show the Change of New York City during the 1920s

The end of World War I welcomed a new era in New York.

The 1920s was an era of contradictions for New York as a modern industrial city that, with engineering feats of wonder, had conquered the sky and constructed a hidden network of water lines, sewer lines, and power lines below the ground. In the 1920s the gap between the City's infrastructural capacity and its population once again widened. The City's roadways did not keep pace with the rapidly increasing popularity of the automobile.

Between 1918 and the end of the 1920s, there were more than a half a million new motor vehicles on the streets yet there had been no new highway construction within the City, choking the City with traffic. The Depression brought an end to construction of a West Side Highway, begun in 1927, and the Triborough Bridge, begun in 1929.

Yet the end of the 1920s and early 1930s did open the City to more traffic. The Holland Tunnel opened in 1927 and the George Washington Bridge in 1931. Like the roadways, development of parks lagged far behind the booming population. Land reserved for parks in Brooklyn was rented to commercial enterprises. Central Park-the gem of the City-fell into disrepair.

The 1920s represent the current end of this project, but it was the dawn of a new era of vast changes to the relationship between health and the built environment as Robert Moses transformed New York City's highway and parks systems.

Take a look at these vintage photos below to see how New York City has changed from the 1920s.

 A street scene in Canarsie, Brooklyn, 1920

 Father and daughter take in the scene at the Riverside Park boat club in the Hudson River, 1920

Fifth Avenue toward Washington Square, 1920

 Fish store at 57th and 10th Ave, 1920

 Horse carts and trucks near the Battery, 1920

Wyckoff Street looking east at Nevins Street, Brooklyn, 1920

A lone policeman guards the end of the trolley line on Roebling Street at the Williamsburg Bridge plaza, Brooklyn, 1921

Columbus Circle in 1921

 Atlantic Ave looking west from the Sackman St bridge, Brooklyn, 1923

 Columbus Circle, New York, 1923

 Fifth Avenue, 120th Street to Mount Morris Park, Harlem, 1923

 The SS Leviathan of United States Lines and Singer Building, 1923

Buses and taxis on Fifth Ave., 1924

 Lincoln Place toward Washington Ave in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, 1924

Luna Park on a busy weekend looking north along Jones Walk from entrance on Surf Ave, Coney Island, Brooklyn, 1925

An endless stream of 1920s cars and buses line up to take a ride through the brand new Holland Tunnel on opening day, 1927

Blake Ave. from east 98th St. toward Union St., Brooklyn, 1927

The Barclay-Vesey building (NY Telephone, later called Verizon) from the Hudson River, 1927

 TImes Square in 1927

West 77th Street, New York, 1927

An aerial view of New York City, 1928

Coney Island, 1928

Lower Broadway ticker-tape parade, 1928

Socony gas station specializing in Dodge and Studebaker, Brooklyn, 1928

5th Avenue and 57th Street, 1929

42nd Street, Manhattan, 1929

 Avenue M and Chestnut Avenue, looking east from East 13th St., Brooklyn, 1929

Cleaner sweeping the floor after the Wall Street crash, 1929

Pitkin Avenue looking west from Pennsylvania Avenue, Brooklyn, 1929

Utica Ave. (with virtually nothing built on its sides) looking south to Maple St. from east New York Ave., Brooklyn, 1929

Wall Street investor tries to sell an automobile, 1929

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