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12 Extraordinary Color Photographs Of Mid-Century New York City

Taken between 1941 and 1960, these rare color photos offer a look into what life was like in mid-century New York City. From the men in suits to the cars with fins, these street scenes are one of a kind. It’s not often we get to view such great images in color from that early. The pioneering photographer, Charles Weever Cushman was a skilled photographer who was prolific with his snapshots of people on the street. He managed to capture insights into their lives with what appears to be no staging whatsoever. Have a look below at these wonderful photos (with original captions) below.

Three bums from South Ferry flophouses. At Battery Park N.Y.C.

“Three bums from South Ferry flophouses. At Battery Park N.Y.C. 1941.” Via/ Flickr

Whitehall street from Peter Minuit Plaza near Battery NYC

“Whitehall Street from Peter Minuit Plaza near Battery NYC 1960.” Via/ Flickr

Residents of lower Clinton St near East River Saturday afternoon

“Residents of lower Clinton St near East River Saturday afternoon 1941.” Via/ Flickr

Portable soft drink stand at Bowling Green

“Portable soft drink stand at Bowling Green 1942.” Via/ Flickr


City Hall Square from Park Row

“City Hall Square from Park Row 1960.” Via/ Flickr

Street in New York's Chinatown

“Street in New York’s Chinatown 1942.” Via/ Flickr

The vibrancy of the city is undeniable in these stunning photographs by one of the best unknown photographers of the mid-century era. Charles Weever Cushman’s color photos of Paris in 1960, for example, are simply stunning, and are part of the nearly 15,000 slides he bequeathed to his alma matter (Indiana University) upon his death. Cushman really had a way of capturing the action around him and preserving in photos how life was lived back then.

Hot sweet potatoes on Sidewalk store

“Hot sweet potatoes on Sidewalk store 1942.” Via/ Flickr

The Amy B and Brooklyn skyline

“The Amy B and Brooklyn skyline 1960.” Via/ Flickr

Chinese store windows New York

“Chinese store windows New York 1942.” Via/ Flickr



Collecting the salvage on lower East Side.

“Collecting the salvage on lower East Side 1942.” Via/ Flickr

Peter Minuit Plaza lower Manhattan 1960

“Peter Minuit Plaza lower Manhattan 1960.” Via/ Flickr

East 7th St. between 3rd and 2nd Ave. 1942

“East 7th St. between 3rd and 2nd Ave. 1942.” Via/ Flickr

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