These incredible black and white photographs document everyday life in New York City in the 1940s and offer a glimpse into a long-gone era.
From street peddlers selling fish or fresh ears of corn, to cars stalled under mounds of snow, scenes are both familiar and nostalgic.
The New York City that emerged from World War II was a dramatically different place than the city that had entered it four years before.
The change was in large part due to the war itself, which had finally lifted the city out of the Depression, and ushered in an era of unparalleled prosperity.
The explosion in commercial activity brought on by the war had reignited the city’s economic engine, carrying it to a level of economic power and dominance like nothing before or since.
By the late 1940s, New York had become the world’s largest manufacturing center, with 40,000 factories and over a million factory workers. It was the nation’s largest wholesaling center, accounting for a fifth of all wholesale transactions in America.
It was the world’s biggest port, handling 40 percent of the nation’s waterborne freight, 150 million tons a year. And it was the world’s financial capital, trading hundreds of millions of dollars each day.
Over 900,000 New Yorkers served in the war and approximately 63 million tons of supplies and more than 3 million men shipped out from New York Harbor.
During the height of the war, a ship left every 15 minutes. Efforts were made to protect New York from attack, during the war famous landmarks such as Times Square and Broadway were dimmed out to protect New York from an air raid.
Beverley Nichols, an English writer, described the NYC of 1940s: More than ever before, as the shop windows filed past in a glittering parade, there was the sense of New York as a great international city to which all the ends of the world had come.
London used to be like that, but somehow one had forgotten it, so long had it been since the Hispanos and Isottas had glided down Piccadilly, so many aeons since the tropical fruit had glowed in the Bond Street windows.
Coming from that sort of London to America, in the old days, New York had seemed just, American; not typical of the continent, maybe, but American first and foremost. Now it was the centre of the world.
(Photo credit: Library of Congress / New York City Library / Wikimedia Commons / PBS: The Center of the World: New York, A Documentary Film).