Brownsville section of
Brooklyn, New York
Area west and south of Betsy Head playground
Sutter Ave. to Livonia Ave.
Amboy St. to Barrett St.
part of the Lower East Side
New York, New York
Pike St. to Montgomery St.
East Broadway to South St.
Note: Left-click on the thumbnail photo to
see an enlarged image. Don't forget to further click on the
gold, arrowed enlargement icon that appears when you pass
your computer mouse arrow over the bottom right corner of
the already enlarged image.
You can see the location of the office of the Yiddish Daily
Forward (on East Broadway, between Rutgers and
Jefferson Streets), the Educational Alliance (corner of East
Broadway and Jefferson Street), and synagogues on Jefferson
Street and Henry Street. Certainly an interesting look at
These maps, produced in 1913,
are interesting and valuable for several reasons.
Between 1939 and 1941, as part of a government-sponsored WPA
project, a photograph was taken of every piece of property
in New York City. These photographs were taken for property
appraisal and tax assessment purposes. They were taken with
high quality 35 mm. cameras and are available for purchase
from the New York City Municipal Archives. For those who
wish to see what a particular property looked like back
then, whether it be an old family residence or just a place
of interest, this is a wonderful resource. If we have a
certain address of interest, we can find the building photo
with just a little work. To find the proper microfilm at the
Municipal Archives, one must first determine what the block
and lot number was for the particular address of interest.
Then it is necessary to consult a particular microfilm to
determine the correct microfilm roll that contains the image
of the property we want. Then we can look at this
microfilmed image through the microfilm reader and decide
whether we want to purchase it and add it to our collection.
It is possible to print the image out at the Archives, but
the quality is extremely poor.
These photos are also interesting because each one gives us
a fascinating look back in time. We can see where our
families lived, worked and played; what the buildings and
neighborhoods looked like in the latter years of the Great
Depression and the period of time before and during World
War II. We can see people milling about or sitting about in
front of their tenement building. We can view the old cars
and see how folks back then dressed. The maps also indicate
the lot size of each property and occasionally the names of
some businesses or public areas.
If you do not know the numbers needed to find the right
microfilm, you can have the Archives do it for a five dollar
The smallest size photo available is an 8
inch by 10 inch one (thirty-five dollars black and white,
forty-five in color), though you can always
pay more and get an 11 by 14 (fifty and sixty dollars
respectively.) There is also a small shipping
fee. You will receive the photo within three to five weeks. Of
course, they will refund your money if they cannot find the
photo. Note that the quality of the photos may vary, though
I have found the quality generally to be good.
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