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July 27, 2022

35 Amazing Photos of New York in the 1930s by Samuel Gottscho

Samuel Herman Gottscho (1875–1971) was an American architectural, landscape, and nature photographer. He was born in Brooklyn in New York City. He acquired his first camera in 1896 and took his first photograph at Coney Island. From 1896 to 1920 he photographed part-time, specializing in houses and gardens, as he particularly enjoyed nature, rural life, and landscapes.

New York in the 1930s by Samuel Gottscho

After attending several architectural photograph exhibitions, Gottscho decided to perfect and improve his own work and sought out several architects and landscape architects. After twenty-three years as a traveling lace and fabric salesman, Gottscho became a professional commercial photographer at the age of 50. During this time his photographs appeared in and on the covers of American Architect and Architecture, Architectural Record. His portraits and architectural photography regularly appeared in articles in the New York Times. His photographs of private homes in the New York and Connecticut suburbs often appeared in home decoration magazines. From the early 1940s to the late 1960s, he was a regular contributor to the Times of illustrated articles on wildflowers.

Gottscho believed he created some of his best work at the age of 70. In 1967, his botanical work won him the New York Botanical Garden's Distinguished Service Medal. He died in Jamaica, Queens, New York.

Approximately 29,000 of his images are held in the Gottscho-Schleisner collection at the United States Library of Congress. Additionally, over 40,000 are held by the Museum of the City of New York, where an exhibition of his work titled “The Mythic City: Photographs of New York by Samuel H. Gottscho, 1925-1940,” opened in November 2005. A third major archive of his work is held by Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library at Columbia University.

These amazing photos are part of his work that Samuel Gottscho captured New York in the 1930s.

Below Manhattan Bridge, New York City, 1930

Midtown Manhattan view from McGraw-Hill Building, New York City, October 9, 1931

Midtown Manhattan, New York City, December 15, 1931

Midtown skyline from Central Park at 85th Street, New York City, April 16, 1931

River House, 52nd St. and E. River, New York City. Shore line with clouds, December 1931

River House, 52nd St. and E. River, New York City. View of power house, December 1931

River House, 52nd Street and East River, looking south from 27th floor, New York, December 15, 1931

The opening day of the Empire State Building, New York City, 1931

View from the parapet on the 27th floor of the River House at 52nd St. and E. River, New York City, December 1931

International Music Hall, Radio City, New York City. House with curtain down, from main orchestra, December 7, 1932

Lower Manhattan from foot of Brooklyn Bridge, New York City, April 4, 1932

Times Square at dusk, looking south from 47th Street, New York City, January 6, 1932

Times Square from above, New York City, February 16, 1932

View from Empire State Building to Chrysler Building, and Queensboro Bridge, New York City, low viewpoint, January 1932

Central Park, New York City, 1933

Financial district from Hotel Bossert, New York City, March 15, 1933

Fishing boat at Fulton Market Pier, New York City, April 11, 1933

General view of New York Hospital and Queens from Madison Avenue, January 1933

Looking down South Street in New York City, November 1933

Looking north from the Empire State Building, New York City, September 11, 1933

Midtown Manhattan skyline, night view from RCA Building, New York City, circa 1933

Night view of New York City from St. George Hotel to financial district, January 6, 1933

RCA Building, Rockefeller Center, New York City, Septembre 1933

Rockefeller Center and the RCA Building from 515 Madison Avenue, New York City, December 5, 1933

View from St. George Hotel, New York City, 1933

View of plaza buildings, over park lake, New York City, January 1933

Brooklyn docks, view of Manhattan, New York City, 1934

Midtown Manhattan, New York at night, circa 1934

Steuben Glass, business at 718 5th Ave., New York City. Exterior, general view, September 1937

Rockefeller Center, from the south, New York, 1938

315 Seventh Avenue, New York City. (William Hohauser's 1920s skyscraper), October 8, 1939

Entrance to the Ford Motor Building at World's Fair, New York City, May 12, 1939

General view of barroom of Seagram's Distillers Corp., Chrysler Building, New York City, August 1939

House of Glass No. 4, New York World's Fair, June 12, 1939

Midtown Manhattan and Empire State building at dusk, New York City, circa 1930s

(Photo © Samuel Gottscho)




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