NYC Municipal Archives Collections
Borough President Manhattan, 1900-1950s. 16,000 images in collection. The Office of the Borough President was created in 1898 to compensate the formerly independent communities in the four counties of New York, Kings, Queens and Richmond for the loss of governmental power to the consolidated Greater City of New York. They operated as "local mayors," with substantial control over construction and maintenance of streets, sidewalks, highways, sewers and public buildings. The Manhattan photographs document construction of the West Side (Express) elevated highway, East River Drive, Riverside Drive extension in Upper Manhattan, Sixth Avenue extension, removal of the elevated trains, street-widenings and sidewalk improvements. These large-format photographs provide detailed street scenes showing shopfronts, pedestrians, automobiles, private homes, billboards, gas stations, etc. Approximately 16,000 negatives and silver-gelatin prints, mostly taken by Savastano Studio.