See what NYC looked like in the 1940s through 720,000 digitized photos

NEW YORK CITY — Want to see what New York City looked like almost 80 years ago? The city’s Municipal Archives agency has made it a lot easier.

The New York City Department of Records & Information Services has digitized more than 720,000 photographs. The pictures are from the city’s 1940s tax photos and were taken between 1939 and 1941.  Every building in all five boroughs were photographed.

Until this recent release, the collection had only been available for research on microfilm. Now that they are published online, people will be able to preview the images, as well as purchase high-resolution digital files.

There are a few different ways to see how your street or any New York City landmark looked like.

The entire collection is available on the NYC Municipal Archives Online Gallery. Each borough has its own Department of Taxation photo collection which you can click on.

From there, you can decide if you want to browse all of the images, or choose a category, such as a particular park or street name.

If you want to look for a more precise location, you can search by address or by assigned block and lot numbers which can be found using NYCityMap. 

And for those feeling nostalgic, you can also see what New York City looked like 40 years later thanks to a website called 80s.nyc. The projects creators also used Ed Koch-era photographs taken for taxations purposes.