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53 Vintage Photos Show Crowds on New York Streets from the 1900s

New York City. The name itself conjures images of towering skyscrapers, bustling avenues, and a vibrant energy that never sleeps. But what about the faces that make up this iconic city? What stories do they tell?

Let’s travel back in time, to the early and mid-20th century, through the lens of vintage photographs. We’ll witness the city’s pulse through the crowds that gathered for celebrations, protests, and everyday moments. Each photo is a window into a different era, revealing the fashion, the expressions, and the very soul of New York City.

Imagine Times Square on August 14, 1945. The news of Japan’s surrender, marking the end of World War II, has just reached the city. A wave of relief and joy washes over the crowd. Sailors embrace nurses, couples kiss, and strangers hug, united in the euphoria of victory. The photo captures the raw emotion of a nation finally at peace, the faces reflecting a mix of elation, exhaustion, and hope for the future.

The Easter Parade in New York City wasn’t just about religious observance; it was a fashion spectacle. Vintage photos show Fifth Avenue teeming with men in top hats and ladies in elegant dresses, their outfits adorned with elaborate hats overflowing with flowers and feathers. The atmosphere is one of playful sophistication, a chance for New Yorkers to showcase their Sunday best and celebrate the arrival of spring.

The year is 1945. A somber mood hangs over the city as thousands line the streets for the funeral procession of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Men remove their hats in respect, women clutch handkerchiefs, and children peer curiously from the shoulders of their parents. The photo captures the collective grief of a nation mourning the loss of a beloved leader, a president who guided them through the Great Depression and World War II.

New York City has always been a hub for activism and social change. From the Suffrage movement advocating for women’s right to vote to the Civil Rights marches fighting for racial equality, these images reflect the city’s spirit of resistance and its continuous struggle for a more just society.

#1 East side crowd discussing price of meat in front of shops, New York, 1910s.

#2 Crowd watching a sign painter, Union Square, New York.

#3 Labor Day (May Day) parade in the rain, New York, 1909.

#5 Crowd watching “playograph,” World Series, 1911.

#6 Crowd with signs at the May Day rally of the Socialist Party, 1912.

#10 Typical crowded urban scene in Midtown Manhattan looking north on 5th Ave from 31st Street, 1948.

#11 Weegee: Afternoon crowd at Coney Island, Brooklyn, 1940s.

#12 Easter crowd on Fifth Avenue, New York City, 1910s.

#13 A police officer in front of a crowd of children and adults at a Works Progress Administration theater performance in Central Park, New York City, 1930s.

#14 Crowd at suffragette meeting, City Hall, New York.

#15 Berkman Addressing Anarchists in Union Square, New York City, 1910s.

#17 Rev. Dame speaking to a crowd on Wall St., New York.

#18 Socialists at a May Day rally in Union Square, New York City, 1910s.

#19 Weegee (Arthur Fellig): Retail butchers lined up at Ft. Greene Market, Brooklyn, March 19, 1943.

#20 Harlem celebrates Joe Louis’ victory over Primo Carnera, New York City, 1935.

#21 Bakers and a big loaf at a Labor parade, New York, 1909.

#23 New York City theater district with crowds going to theaters, 1974.

#24 Crowd before the failed bank of Pati & Son, Elizabeth St., New York, 1908.

#26 Crowd watching “playograph,” World Series, New York City, 1910s.

#27 Crowds around post office on the Lower East Side, New York, 1936.

#29 A crowd on D-day in Madison Square, New York, 1944.

#30 A crowd watching the news line on the Times building at Times Square, New York, 1944.

#32 Crowds watching the Anniversary Day parade of the Sunday school of the Church of the Good Shepherd, Brooklyn, New York, 1940s.

#34 Crowd listens outside radio shop at Greenwich and Dey Sts. for news on President Kennedy, New York City, 1963.

#35 Penn. R.R. Station when Sunday arrived, New York City, 1910s.

#36 Industrial Workers of the World (I.W.W.) demonstration, New York City, 1910s.

#37 New York, N.Y.–Suffragettes on 23rd Street, 1908.

#38 Curb brokers in Wall Street, New York City, 1920s.

#39 People flee after terrorists bomb Wall Street, 1920.

#40 Actors’ strike on 45th Street, New York City, 1910s.

#41 Men outside municipal lodging house, waiting for the doors to open, New York City, 1910s.

#42 Parade for Gertrude Ederle coming up Broadway, New York City, 1920s.

#43 Albany St., Pat’s Parade route (Fifth Ave.), New York City, 1951.

#44 Mrs. Harriot Stanton Blatch exhorted the Wall Street crowds, New York City, 1910s.

#45 Baseball fans watching baseball scoreboard during World Series game in New York City, 1910s.

#46 Crowd of people in Times Square on V-J Day at time of announcement of the Japanese surrender, New York City, 1945.

#47 Watching the election returns–great crowds before the Times B’ld’g. and Astor Hotel, New York, 1907.

#48 A view of the great crowd at the scene of the explosion in front of J.P. Mor[gan & Co.] office at Broad and Wall Sts, New York City, 1920.

#49 People waiting to be vaccinated at the Department of Health building, New York City, 1947.

#50 Crowd at Nathan’s from corner, New York City, 1947.

#51 Floor of New York Stock Exchange: with Union Pacific crowd, 1930s.

Floor Of New York Stock Exchange: With Union Pacific Crowd, 1930S.

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#52 Crowd on Arbor Day, N.Y. Public Schools, New York, 1908.

Crowd On Arbor Day, N.y. Public Schools, New York, 1908.

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#53 Part of crowd in Harlem chants and taunts police on Lenox Ave, New York City, 1964.

Part Of Crowd In Harlem Chants And Taunts Police On Lenox Ave, New York City, 1964.

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Written by Henry Parker

Content writer, SEO analyst and Marketer. You cannot find me playing any outdoor sports, but I waste my precious time playing Video Games..

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