The city recently made over 870,000 photos available from the Municipal Archives. Jen Carlson at Gothamist has been digging through that pile of wonder and has been placing thematic collections online a few times a week. Friday's gallery of urban bicyclists caught my attention because the top photo here was taken at 119th and Manhattan Ave, which I often walk past on my daily commute.
Almost nothing on this block in the 1931 photo is there today. The building in the background at left (in front of the elevated tracks) is the only building that remains on the block. The Ninth Avenue El ceased operation in 1940. Even the fire hydrant has been replaced (albeit in the same spot)!
The emptiness of this part of Harlem stands out when you look at the aerial photo from 1996. Sometimes I curse myself for not having the foresight to photograph all the vacant lots when I moved into the neighborhood.