Streetcar jumps the tracks at Nostrand and Putnam Avenues, crashing into a drug store in July 1931. Photo via NYC Municipal Archives
It often took an excellent photographer, such as Arthur Welig aka Weegee, to skillfully encircle a New York City crime scene, capture it through his lens and ultimately translate a temporary moment in time into one of permanence. However, the public display of crime photos from the New York Police Department is actually a rarity. Various photographs taken by the New York City Police Department from 1914 to 1975 are set to be released for the first time, with a set of photos recently featured in The New York Times.
Photographs from a New York City crime scene are often confined to evidence lockers, boxed up and obscured from those hoping to relish in the artistic flair often shielded underneath their macabre overtones. However, it won’t take long for these relics of time to be unearthed to the photo viewing public. The National Endowment for the Humanities has also awarded a $125,000 grant to the Department of Records and Information Services to ensure that 30,000 of the pictures are scanned, digitized and displayed. Here are 10 samples from the NYC Municipal Archives.
The body of Vincenzo Argo, killed in 1925 in front of 35 Thompson Street. Photo via NYC Municipal Archives
These soon to be digitized collection of photographs hearkens back to the black and white cinematography and trademark grittiness found in 1940s film noir. Those with a vested interest in photography and looking to crave a piece of New York City nostalgia will surely be satisfied.
A multipurpose gun, shank, and brass knuckle weapon photographed in 1939. Photo via NYC Municipal Archives
Stills from illegal alcohol produced out of a Brooklyn apartment in 1927. Photo via NYC Municipal Archives
Bed in a Bronx apartment where a woman was found dead of strangulation and stab wound in 1939. Photo via NYC Municipal Archives
Police climb the barricades at a 1968 Columbia University protest sparked by the proposal of a gym in Morningside Park. Photo via NYC Municipal Archives
Murder victim Dominick Didato on Elizabeth Street in 1936. Photo via NYC Municipal Archives