Have you ever wondered what it was like before Bushwick became the modern, creative, controversial neighborhood we all know?
A new app called OldNYC lets you access an interactive map of NYC built with 40,000 historical images from the New York Public Library’s digital collection. Just open up the app in any of the five boroughs, and historical images near your current location will pop up on the map. Images, information and the year the photo was taken are all there.
Give the app a spin in Bushwick to discover two 19th century breweries that have since become bodegas. In the 1850’s, Bushwick had a huge brewery scene: “Brewer’s Row” was swath of 14 breweries in a 14 block radius.
OldNYC creator Orian Breaux tells Bushwick Daily that his favorite historical find in Bushwick is the Alhambra Theatre on 783 Knickerbocker Ave, a former vaudeville theatre turned family center turned (shocker alert) luxury apartment building. “It’s a building that mirrors our city, same in form for its entire history yet living multiple lives. It’s also a reminder that any unassuming corner can have rich history, ”
A goal for the app is to include every historical image of NYC, not just those within the current collection, photos of NYC from 1870s-1970s. “One day, we hope app users can augment reality by pointing their phones at any location to see “what was there”, like a historical x-ray vision for the city.” Until that’s a reality, you can support OldNYC by downloading it for free from the Apple App Store and taking it for a stroll in your neighborhood.