Over the past 4 years the New York City Department of Records has been compiling an online database made up of rare photographs of “the greatest city on earth,” and now that database is available to the public. The compilation consists of over 870,000 photos ranging in subject matter from landmarks to crime scenes put together from a Municipal Archives collection of over 2.2 million photos.
The online gallery, which has been live for two weeks, was only publicized yesterday and already trying to access it yields the message:
Due to overwhelming demand, the New York City Municipal Archives Online Gallery is experiencing temporary difficulties. Please try again later.
If you want to see some of the images for yourself, order prints, or license them for commercial use make sure you check out their website and, for now, just keep reloading until it works. The database is still growing, as the Department plans to continue adding images, but you’re already likely to find something rare if you go digging.
Over 800,000 of the images were shot in color, and 1,300 of them are rare finds taken by local photographers of the Depression-era Works Progress Administration.
Image credit: AP Photo/New York City Municipal Archives, Department of Bridges/Plant & Structures, Eugene de Salignac