48 Amazing Photos Showing Life in New York City in the 1940s

New York City in the 1940s was buzzing with activity, with the population of Manhattan almost reaching 2 million inhabitants. These incredible black and white photographs, which document everyday life in New York City, are a glimpse back at this era.

Rows of cars line the curb as a result of free parking over Labor Day weekend in New York City, Sept. 6, 1942
A crowd of customers gather at Sloppy Joe’s soft drink stand during a dimout in Times Square, New York, May 21, 1942
An Italian spaghetti house and a German health food store next to each other on 86th St. in New York, Jan. 22, 1942
Customers gather at soft drink stand during a dimout in Times Square, New York, May 21, 1942
The bright lights of Times Square during the New Year’s Eve celebration, Dec. 31, 1942
Times Square dimout, New York, March 1, 1942
Times Square looking north from the New York Times newspaper building at 42nd St., during a dim-out in midtown Manhattan, May 20, 1942
Workmen prepare to lower one of the 100-pound metal cornices from the Hotel Ansonia in New York, Sept. 22, 1942
A boy swings and misses at a ball during a practice session in Brooklyn, N.Y., June 9, 1943
After 18 months in the dark, theater marquees on Broadway light up again while underneath the crowds come out of the dimout gloom in New York, Nov. 2, 1943
Two black Army soldiers assist a white man who was involved in a scuffle that occurred during the outbreak of a race riot in the Harlem area, Aug. 2, 1943
Ice skaters in New York’s Central Park look from the top of the Savoy Plaza Hotel at 59th St. and Fifth Ave., Jan. 9, 1944
Pedestrians strolling Broadway stop to peek into one of the many photo studios looking for diversion in New York,Dec. 1, 1944
A huge crowd in New York’s Times Square jubilantly welcome the news that the Japanese had accepted the allies terms of surrender on Aug. 14, 1945
People observing the death of President Roosevelt, the United Nations flags fly at half mast at Rockefeller Plaza, New York, April 13, 1945
People sunbathe on the beach and walk along the boardwalk at Coney Island in Brooklyn, May 27, 1945
A Christmas Eve shopper with a crated rocking horse tries to hail a cab outside Macy’s department store in New York City on Dec. 24, 1946
An pushcart vendor cleans fresh fish before weighing it for a customer at the corner of Orchard St. and Stanton in the Jewish section of New York’s Lower East Side, June 1, 1946
Enticing delicacies on Mulberry Street in Little Italy, in New York, June 1, 1946
Men stop to look at fabric for sale at an outdoor table in front of a store in New York’s Lower East Side on June 1, 1946
Soldiers stand rigidly at attention in their vehicles which carry 8-inch Howitzers, during the Victory Parade of the 82nd Airborne Division on Fifth Avenue in New York, Jan. 12, 1946
The Third Avenue el winds its way through lower Manhattan, February 12, 1946
A longshoreman listens to his radio as he sits on the terrace wall in front of the New York Public Library on the corner of 42nd Street in New York January 29, 1947
A man stares at the prices scribbled on the window of Bowery restaurant on New York’s Lower East Side, Sept. 26, 1947
A pedestrian stops and enjoys a hot ear of corn from the vendor in New York, July 14, 1947
A pedestrian walks between drifts of snow in Times Square, Dec. 27, 1947
A row of red-brick mansions peek through Washington Square Park’s Washington Arch in New York City’s Greenwich Village on February 25, 1947
An elderly street merchant wheels his push cart loaded with crockery slowly along at the corner of Orchard and Delancy Streets on the Lower East Side of New York, July 14, 1947
Passengers scurry to buses at 49th Street and Fifth Ave., as snow continues to fall reaching a depth of 10.5 inches, Dec. 26, 1947
Pedestrians make their way in between cars stalled on the bridge while crossing the Grand Central Parkway at Union Turnpike, Kew Gardens, Queens, Dec. 27, 1947
Smoke from a massive fire pours out of Pier 57 on the Hudson River at 15th Street in New York, Sept. 29, 1947
The Bowery where it intersects with Canal Street in New York, 1947
The Empire State Building is seen at right in this aerial view of buildings in Manhattan’s Garment District on Seventh Avenue on Dec. 9, 1947
The Fulton Fish Market from corner of Fulton St. looking north, New York City, Jan. 6, 1947
A huge balloon in the form of comic fireman floats over Broadway during the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, Nov. 25, 1948
A man takes a nap on the ground in New York, July 17, 1948
A pretzel vendor displays his wares on an approach to the Manhattan Bridge in New York City, April 29, 1948
A young boy makes a chalk drawing on the sidewalk in front of a tenement house on 36th Street, NYC, May 12, 1948
Early morning in the Fulton Fish Market, New York City’s wholesale fish center, on Sept. 5, 1948
Police and pickets scuffle at the entrance of the New York Stock Exchange at 11 Wall Street in New York, March 30, 1948
The bridge crossing over the East 34th Street station, looks north over the Third Avenue Line El train, New York City, 1948
The crowded beach at Coney Island in Brooklyn, Aug. 28, 1948
Two workmen eat their lunch beside their excavation on fashionable Fifth Avenue between 56th and 57th Streets in New York, June 8, 1948
People crowd into Times Square, in New York, Dec. 31, 1949, to welcome in the New Year
Skaters glide on the ice at the center’s skating rink in midtown Manhattan, New York, Dec. 8, 1949
Snow-covered trees in Central Park are seen against the Essex House building on Central Park South, NYC, March 1, 1949
West Broadway looking north from Vesey Street in New York City on July 21, 1949
Yellow cabs line New York’s Fifth Avenue, Jan. 15, 1949

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