New York opens trove of city photographs

Around 870,000 images of New York City and its operations have been made available online to the public for the first time, retracing 160 years of the Big Apple's history.

The new site, www.nyc.gov/records, was so popular that it was unavailable on Wednesday, a day after its official launch.

Among the 25 collections put online is a series of color photographs of each building in the city, taken in the 1980s.

Another group includes a selection of more than 15,000 photographs taken by municipal worker Eugene de Salignac, who served as the official photographer for the Department of Bridges/Plant & Structures from 1906 to 1934.

One of his iconic photographs, showing painters relaxing on wires suspended above Brooklyn Bridge, is now available online thanks to the New York City Municipal Archives.

There are also about 1,300 black and white photographs from the Great Depression, a series of drawings of Central Park, hundreds of crime scene photos taken by police, thousands of snapshots of daily life in New York throughout the ages, as well as maps and audio documents.

The oldest photograph in the digital archive dates back to 1858.

Viewers can also share the New York images they view on social networks and order prints directly from the city's website. Prints can be delivered to overseas addresses.

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