Wonderful Photos of Postwar New York City in 1946

Todd Webb's photographs of New York City - "Life goes on about me, and I am a living breathing part of it. I feel things, the people, the buildings, the streets, and I have something to say about them and my medium is photography."

 

1948 Sixth Avenue between 43rd and 44th Streets

1948 Sixth Avenue between 43rd and 44th Streets

Todd Webb (1905-200) was discharged from the US Navy in 1945. Before fighting in the war, Todd had worked as a stockbroker, a field in which he’d enjoyed notable success til losing all his money in the 1920s crash, prospected for gold in California and Panama, and worked as a forest ranger. In the 1930s whilst working for Chrysler in his native Detroit he joined the Chrysler Camera Club. A workshop class with Ansel Adams stoked his interest in photography. And so it was that after the war he picked up his camera and in search of anew life headed to New York City. There he “nurtured a friendship with Alfred Stieglitz”, whom he met in 1942, and his wife, the hymned artist Georgia O’Keeffe. She introduced Tood to Beaumont Newhall – in 1946 Newhall curated an exhibition of Todd’s photographs for The Museum of The City of New York: I See A City. Some of those you can see here.

 

1946 From Empire State Building, looking southeast.

1946 – View from Empire State Building

New York City 1940s 1950s

1946 – 125th Street, Harlem.

New York City 1940s 1950s

1948 – 3rd Avenue El looking south from Fulton Street Station

1946 East 7th Street New York City 1940s 1950s

1946 – East 7th Street

“I have an intense interest in and feeling for people. Often, I find subject matter with no visible persons to be more peopled than the crowded street scene. Every window, doorway, street, building, every mark on a wall, every sign, has a human connotation.”
– Todd Webb

 

New York City 1940s 1950s 1946 Fulton Fish Market wharf

1946 – Fulton Fish Market wharf

New York City 1940s 1950s 1946 Watching Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

1946 – Watching Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

New York City 1940s 1950s 1946 Tenements and Graveyard from Chatham Square El Station.

1946 – Tenements and Graveyard from Chatham Square El Station.

New York City 1940s 1950s 1946 125th Street, Harlem. Whisk broom salesman.

1946 – 125th Street, Harlem. Whisk broom salesman.

New York City 1940s 1950s 1945 The Battery.

1945 – The Battery, New York

New York City 1940s 1950s 1945 3rd Avenue from 42nd Street El Station

1945 – 3rd Avenue from 42nd Street El Station

1946 Maise, Queen of the Bowery.

1946 – Maise, Queen of the Bowery.

New York City 1940s 1950s 1946 125th Street and Broadway, Harlem

1946 – 125th Street and Broadway, Harlem

10th Street 1946 New York City 1940s 1950s

10th Street, NYC – 1946

1948 Sixth Avenue between 43rd and 44th Streets

1948 – Sixth Avenue between 43rd and 44th Streets

New York City 1940s 1950s 1948 Sixth Avenue between 43rd and 44th Streets

1948 – Sixth Avenue between 43rd and 44th Streets

New York City 1940s 1950s 1948 Sixth Avenue between 43rd and 44th Streets

1948 – Sixth Avenue between 43rd and 44th Streets

New York City 1940s 1950s 1948 Sixth Avenue between 43rd and 44th Streets 4

1948 – Sixth Avenue between 43rd and 44th Streets

New York City 1940s 1950s 1946 Suffolk and Hester Streets

1946 – Suffolk and Hester Streets

1946 Third Avenue and Bowery.

1946 – Third Avenue and Bowery.

1946 Times Square sign painter.

1946 – Times Square sign painter.

New York City 1940s 1950s 1946 Greenwich Village

1946 – Greenwich Village

New York City 1940s 1950s 1948 Mott Street.

1948 – Mott Street.

1946 Third Avenue.New York City 1940s 1950s

1946 – Third Avenue.

New York City 1940s 1950s 1946 Orchard Street.

1946 – Orchard Street.

New York City 1940s 1950s 1946 Amsterdam Avenue near 125th Street.

1946 – Amsterdam Avenue near 125th Street.

New York City 1940s 1950s 1946 37th Street.

1946 – 37th Street.

1946 Sixth AvenueNew York City 1940s 1950s

1946 – Sixth Avenue

New York City 1940s 1950s La Salle Street and Amsterdam Avenue, Harlem. 1946.

La Salle Street and Amsterdam Avenue, Harlem – 1946.

New York City 1940s 1950s A Park Avenue storefront church in Harlem. 1946.

A Park Avenue storefront church in Harlem – 1946.

New York City 1940s 1950s Near Fulton Fish Market. 1946.

Near Fulton Fish Market – 1946.

“They stood in a row and I asked them to just stand as though they were talking. The boy who seemed to be the leader said with an Eastside accent, ‘Oh, you mean nonchalant. OK guys, get nonchalant.’ It sounded funnier than it reads.”
– Todd Webb, April 20, 1946

 

 

New York City 1940s 1950s Mr. Perkins’ Pierce Arrow, Harlem. 1946.

Mr. Perkins’ Pierce Arrow, Harlem – 1946.

New York City 1940s 1950s A whisk broom salesman on 125th Street. 1946.

A whisk broom salesman on 125th Street – 1946.

New York City 1940s 1950s Third Avenue billboards, 1946. Todd Webb Archive:Museum of the City of New York

Third Avenue billboards – 1946

New York City 1940s 1950s Looking southeast from the Empire State Building. 1946.

Looking southeast from the Empire State Building – 1946.

New York City 1940s 1950s “Welcome home” signs on Third Avenue. 1945.

“Welcome home” signs on Third Avenue – 1945.

New York City 1940s 1950s Amsterdam Avenue, near 125th Street. 1946.

Amsterdam Avenue, near 125th Street – 1946.

A soldier getting a shoe shine on 125th Street. 1946.

A soldier getting a shoe shine on 125th Street – 1946.

A Third Avenue corset shop. 1946.

A Third Avenue corset shop. -1946.

New York City 1940s 1950s new york city 1946

Tenements flattened for new housing projects on 113th Street between Third and Lexington Avenues – 1946.

new york city 1946 new york city 1946