We get so caught up in the latest and greatest gear that it's often easy to forget that video and photography offer us a powerful window into past times. YouTube Channel Yestervid has put together a compilation of historical footage of New York City, shot between 1896 and 1905, and paired the individual clips with a map of their modern day location. It's a great tour through one of the nation's most storied cities.
Grainy, choppy, and yet still deeply fascinating, the compilation is a strong reminder of the documentary value of what we do. Seeing the footage paired with its modern locations really reinforces the evolution of the city in the past century; particularly striking is the view of Lower Manhattan with the World Trade Center towers superimposed upon what would be their eventual location. Other highlights include a panorama from the Times Building, a ride on the subway in 1905, ice skating in Central Park, and the oldest video of New York ever recorded, dating back to 1896. As we are now in an age in which we can document our reality in striking detail and quantity, one has to wonder what place our videos will hold 100 years from now. The way we interact with the past might be strikingly different then.
Lead image by Jack Delano, used under public domain.