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.