Beautiful Vintage Color Photos Of New York City In The 1950s

Pedestrians weave their way through traffic.

Ernst Haas is considered one of the pioneers of color photography and one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century. Taking up photography after World War II, his early work on the returning prisoners of war caught the attention of LIFE magazine.

Haas later declined their job offer as a staff photographer, deciding that he did not want to be limited by the magazine’s restrictive scope. Instead, in 1949, he joined the international photographic cooperative Magnum Photos at the invitation of another acclaimed photographer, Robert Capa. He began his experiments with Kodachrome color film soon after moving to the United States. In 1953, his groundbreaking 24-page photo essay on New York City in color was published by LIFE.


A homeless man searches through trash cans for something to eat while 3 women behind carrying laden shopping bags.

People walking.

Blurred shot of people and traffic.

A vendor waits in his car by the paintings he has for sale which are displayed on a sidewalk wall.

A group of people waiting to cross a busy road.

A man reading a book while sitting on a Plymouth.

A driver pointing from a car window.

‘Clothes dealer’ talks to a prospective customer on the pavement.

An elderly man dressed all in black crosses over East 38th Street.

Horse-drawn carriages line 59th Street waiting for a fare.

Pedestrians crossing a street full of cars and yellow cabs on a dark, wet day.

A street vendor pushes his hot dog stand through Greenwich Village.

Two cloaked figures, probably nuns, standing outside a church.

People celebrating in Washington Square Park.

A pair of lovers on the grass in Washington Square Park.

A man selling hot knishes and potato kasha from a barrow.

Hat in hand, a man leans against kerbside railings.

A man resting on bench during a sunny day.

Three yellow taxis at a street crossing.

Traffic reflected in the windows of an office building.

Rows of box-like terraced houses of various colours in Queens.

A girl enjoys a swing in a city playground.

Traffic and people on a busy road mirrored on a window.

A man selling pretzels from a barrow.

Cars streaming along a three-lane highway during rush hour.

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