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October 14, 2021

50 Amazing Photos Capture Street Scenes of New York City in the 1990s

At the dawn of the 1990s, New York City was in an unremittingly bleak state. Following two decades of continuous decay, 1990 brought yet another all-time record high in violent crime and to this day, 1990 and the three years that followed remain the most homicide-plagued stretch in the city's last five decades. The 1990s had quickly positioned itself to become the city's worst decade yet.

New York City in the 1990s

Yet something unprecedented occurred in the latter half of the decade: The crime rate fell by half and the murder rate by a third, with each year better than the last. By the time the decade was over, New York was a safer place than it had been at any point since the 1960s.

And it showed. By the time the 1990s ended, the city was pulling in 7 million more tourists a year while the city's population began to grow for the first time in decades.

The 1990s in New York City was an improbable success story on a level seldom seen before. What at first looked like a new nadir for America's biggest city instead became one of the greatest urban revitalizations in American history.

These amazing photos were taken by Steven Siegel that show what New York City looked like from the 1990s.

View from Liberty State Park, 1991

WTC, 1991

WTC, 1992

Marlboro billboard, circa 1993

Upper West Side, Manhattan, 1993

View from Jersey City, 1993

Cigarette billboard, Long Island City, 1994

New York skyline, 1994

New York street portrait, 1994

New York street portrait, 1994

Statue of Liberty, 1994

Times Square, 1994

WTC, circa 1995

42nd Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, 1996

42nd Street, 1996

42nd Street, 1996

42nd Street, 1996

42nd Street, 1996

42nd Street, 1996

42nd Street, 1996

42nd Street, 1996

42nd Street, 1996

Brooklyn Bridge, 1996

FDR Drive at South Street, Southport, 1996

Fifth Avenue and 21st Street, 1996

New York skyline, 1996

New York skyline, 1996

New York Subway, Williamsburg, Brooklyn, circa 1996

New York Subway, Williamsburg, Queens, circa 1996

Ninth Avenue and 40th Street, 1996

Sixth Avenue and 21st Street, 1996

Times Square, 1996

Times Square, 1996

Times Square, 1996

Times Square, 1996

Wall Street area, 1996

Steam train excursion, 1997

Billboard, 1998

Red Hook, Brooklyn, 1998

Sunset view from Eagle Rock Park, Essex County, New Jersey, 1998

Street/Lincoln Avenue in Woodside, circa late 1990s

New York City from Jersey City, circa 1990s

Subway on Williamsburg Bridge, circa 1990s

View from Liberty State Park, circa 1990s

WTC and commuter train, circa 1990s

WTC, circa 1990s

WTC, circa 1990s

34th Street, 1999

New York Subway, 1999

New York Subway, South Bronx, 1999

(Photo © Steven Siegel)




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