Amazing Photos of New York in the 1930s by Samuel Gottscho
Midtown Manhattan, New York City, December 15, 1931
Samuel Herman Gottscho (1875–1971) was an American architectural, landscape, and nature photographer. He was born in Brooklyn in New York City. He acquired his first camera in 1896 and took his first photograph at Coney Island. From 1896 to 1920 he photographed part-time, specializing in houses and gardens, as he particularly enjoyed nature, rural life, and landscapes.
Midtown Manhattan view from McGraw-Hill Building, New York City, October 9, 1931
After attending several architectural photograph exhibitions, Gottscho decided to perfect and improve his own work and sought out several architects and landscape architects. After twenty-three years as a traveling lace and fabric salesman, Gottscho became a professional commercial photographer at the age of 50.
Below Manhattan Bridge, New York City, 1930
During this time his photographs appeared in and on the covers of American Architect and Architecture, Architectural Record. His portraits and architectural photography regularly appeared in articles in the New York Times. His photographs of private homes in the New York and Connecticut suburbs often appeared in home decoration magazines. From the early 1940s to the late 1960s, he was a regular contributor to the Times of illustrated articles on wildflowers.
Midtown skyline from Central Park at 85th Street, New York City, April 16, 1931
Gottscho believed he created some of his best work at the age of 70. In 1967, his botanical work won him the New York Botanical Garden’s Distinguished Service Medal. He died in Jamaica, Queens, New York.
River House, 52nd St. and E. River, New York City. Shore line with clouds, December 1931
Approximately 29,000 of his images are held in the Gottscho-Schleisner collection at the United States Library of Congress. Additionally, over 40,000 are held by the Museum of the City of New York, where an exhibition of his work titled “The Mythic City: Photographs of New York by Samuel H. Gottscho, 1925-1940,” opened in November 2005. A third major archive of his work is held by Avery Architectural and Fine Arts Library at Columbia University.
River House, 52nd St. and E. River, New York City. View of power house, December 1931
River House, 52nd Street and East River, looking south from 27th floor, New York, December 15, 1931
The opening day of the Empire State Building, New York City, 1931
View from the parapet on the 27th floor of the River House at 52nd St. and E. River, New York City, December 1931
International Music Hall, Radio City, New York City. House with curtain down, from main orchestra, December 7, 1932
Lower Manhattan from foot of Brooklyn Bridge, New York City, April 4, 1932
Times Square at dusk, looking south from 47th Street, New York City, January 6, 1932
Times Square from above, New York City, February 16, 1932
View from Empire State Building to Chrysler Building, and Queensboro Bridge, New York City, low viewpoint, January 1932
Central Park, New York City, 1933
Financial district from Hotel Bossert, New York City, March 15, 1933
Fishing boat at Fulton Market Pier, New York City, April 11, 1933
General view of New York Hospital and Queens from Madison Avenue, January 1933
Looking down South Street in New York City, November 1933
Looking north from the Empire State Building, New York City, September 11, 1933
Midtown Manhattan skyline, night view from RCA Building, New York City, circa 1933
Night view of New York City from St. George Hotel to financial district, January 6, 1933
RCA Building, Rockefeller Center, New York City, Septembre 1933
Rockefeller Center and the RCA Building from 515 Madison Avenue, New York City, December 5, 1933
View from St. George Hotel, New York City, 1933
View of plaza buildings, over park lake, New York City, January 1933
Brooklyn docks, view of Manhattan, New York City, 1934
Midtown Manhattan, New York at night, circa 1934
Steuben Glass, business at 718 5th Ave., New York City. Exterior, general view, September 1937
Rockefeller Center, from the south, New York, 1938
315 Seventh Avenue, New York City. (William Hohauser’s 1920s skyscraper), October 8, 1939
Midtown Manhattan and Empire State building at dusk, New York City, circa 1930s