Early Films of New York City

In 1900, New York City was head­ing into a cen­tu­ry of unimag­in­able trans­for­ma­tion. And, thanks to The Library of Con­gress (LOC), you can now revis­it 43 videos show­ing the city lay­ing the foun­da­tions for their bur­geon­ing metrop­o­lis. The clips, all black & white and silent, appear on iTune­sUYouTube and the LOC web site. And I list iTune­sU first because it offers the eas­i­est way to nav­i­gate through the full col­lec­tion. Above, we fea­ture a scene show­ing New York­ers build­ing the city’s first sky­scrap­ers. The more you watch, the more of the per­ils you see. The col­lec­tion also includes scenes show­ing the Flat­iron Build­ing, the open­ing of the Williams­burg Bridge, skat­ing on a lake in Cen­tral Park, and the exca­va­tion of the tun­nel that would even­tu­al­ly enter Penn Sta­tion.

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.