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March 6, 2017

15 Amazing Vintage Photographs Show How New York City Dealt With Snow Removal Over 100 Years Ago

By the 19th century, New York City was persistently and famously filthy. While other urban centers had begun to clean up their streets, approaching vessels could still smell New York far out to sea. Back then, there was no warning when a blizzard was on the way, so the city would have to scramble to deal with clean-up.

Snow removal was a daunting task at the time, without the more sophisticated equipment that we have today, removing snow meant shovels and carriages. They were still testing out methods of removal, and it wasn't always quick and efficient. For the most part, you would see masses of snow shovelers out on the street, who would load snow into horse-drawn carriages. From there, the snow would be dumped in the East River (which is not allowed anymore).

Snow removal, 1896.

Bring cart-loads of snow to the East River, 1899.

Dumping snow into the East River, 1899.

Snow removal, 1896.

Snow removal, 1896.

Circa 1899

Circa 1899

Shoveling at Broadway and 36th, 1898.

Circa 1899

Circa 1899

Shoveling at the Herald Building, 1898.

Cleaning the streets after a snow storm, 1905.

Piles of snow on Broadway, after storm, 1905.

On 23rd Street, after a snow storm, 1905.

Fifth Avenue, after a snow storm, 1905.

(Images courtesy of the NYPL, via Gothamist)


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