A Look At Some Of The Oldest Photographs Of New York City

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The oldest known photograph of New York City is a daguerrotype—a common early photo process used to make images publicly available—which is believed to have been taken in 1848. 

It may be hard to imagine, but the photo depicts a home on a hill in the Upper West Side! According to Gizmodo, the road shown at the forefront of the image is none other than Broadway, and was noted as “a continuation of Broadway” on the image which was likely that of Bloomingdale Road, which was the street’s name prior to being incorporated into Broadway. 

1848-Upper-West-Side-Sothebys-NYC

Daguerrotypes were not introduced to the world until 1939 and took several minutes to take. Prior to this photo’s discovery, the oldest known photo of NYC was of lower Manhattan’s Chatham Street, believe to have been taken sometime between 1848 and 1853. 

Chatham-Street-1848-GIZMODO
Photo via Gizmodo

One brand, OldNYC, decided to map all of the city’s oldest photos pulled from the New York Public Library. You can check out the map here and discover photos that range from the 1800s up until the early 2000s.