The Vibrant Life and Landmarks of New York City from 1940s to 1960s through Charles Cushman’s Lens

Charles Cushman was an amateur photographer who loved capturing everyday moments on film. He used a special type of film called Kodachrome. This film made his pictures very colorful and sharp, which was rare at the time. Cushman’s photos of New York City, taken mostly in the 1940s and 1950s, give us a unique look at the city during this period.

Cushman started taking photos of New York City in the early 1940s. His pictures show a city that was very different from what we see today. The buildings, the streets, and the people all tell a story of a past era. His photos include many famous places like Times Square, Central Park, and the Brooklyn Bridge. But he also captured everyday scenes, like kids playing in the street or people walking to work.

One of the things that makes Cushman’s photos special is the use of Kodachrome film. Before Kodachrome, most photos were black and white. Kodachrome allowed photographers to capture bright and vivid colors. This made the photos more lifelike. Cushman’s use of this film helps us see New York City in a way that feels real and immediate.

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In Times Square, Cushman captured the hustle and bustle of the city. The photos show the bright neon signs and crowded sidewalks. You can see the fashion of the time, with men in hats and women in dresses. The cars and buses look different from those today, giving us a glimpse into the past. These photos show Times Square as a lively and exciting place, just as it is now, but with a vintage charm.

Central Park is another place Cushman loved to photograph. His pictures of the park show people enjoying nature in the middle of the big city. There are families having picnics, children playing, and couples strolling. The park looks beautiful in every season, whether it’s covered in snow or full of green trees. These images remind us that Central Park has always been a peaceful escape from the busy city.

Cushman also took many photos of the Brooklyn Bridge. This bridge, which connects Manhattan and Brooklyn, is one of New York City’s most famous landmarks. Cushman’s photos show the bridge from different angles, sometimes with the city skyline in the background. These pictures highlight the bridge’s impressive structure and its importance to the city’s landscape.

He was also interested in the everyday life of New Yorkers. His photos show street vendors selling their goods, children playing games, and people going about their daily routines. These images give us a sense of what life was like for ordinary people in New York City at the time. They show us the city’s diversity and energy.

#15 Statue of Liberty from the Battery New York harbor, 1941

#26 New York City Lower East Side Flat bldgs. Clinton St., 1941

#28 New York Central famous 999 at Chgo RR fair, 1948

#29 Empire State and Chrysler bldgs. Seen from Gov. Clinton hotel, 1950s

#30 Empire State tower seen from Governor Clinton hotel, 1960s

#31 Empire State bldg tower seen from Herald Square, 1960

#32 Italian bake shop Mid-Manhattan Below Canal St. 58 Mulberry St., 1942

#33 From City Hall Square. The World and Tribune bldgs, 1941

#34 View high from 50th St. alongside St. Patrick’s Cathedral, 1960

#35 Stores near corner of Broome St. and Baruch Place, Lower East Side, 1941

#36 Skyscrapers Looking toward financial District from an East River pier, 1941

#38 Three bums from South Ferry flophouses at Battery Park, 1941

#41 Whitehall street from Peter Minuit Plaza near Battery, 1960

#48 Empire State building from Broadway near 31st St., 1960

#55 Tower of Brooklyn Bridge from South St. Manhattan, 1941

#56 Above river side drive just north of George Washington Bridge, 1941

#70 The old Fulton Market Manhattan’s Lower East Side Sat. afternoon, 1941

#79 American Airlines N.Y.-S.F. Flight No. 15 above East river, 1960

#80 West up Maiden Lane from Pearl street Manhattan, 1960

#84 Up 4th Ave from Astor Place Cooper Union at right, 1942

#92 These boys live here. Block north of Wmsbgh Bridge, 1942

#95 Old lady reads Sunday paper. Lower East Side, 1942

#98 Crowd gathers during Salvage collection in lower East Side, 1942

#101 Two views looking up a street of many races, lower Manhattan, 1942

#104 Doorway – Lower East Side. Manhattan Sunday morning, 1942

#105 Lower East Side Corner Broome St. Baruch Pl., 1941

#106 Residents of lower Clinton St near East river, 1941

#107 Manhattan’s skyscrapers from Jersey City ferry boat, 1941

Written by Makayla White

An amateur content creator and dreamer. I Run, Cycle, Swim, Dance and drink a lot of Coffee.

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