Revisiting the Fairchild Aerial Surveys of New York City from the 1940s [PHOTOS]

Posted on: January 20th, 2014 at 5:26 am by
Willaimsburg Bridge and Corlears Hook, ca. 1947; Photo: NYS Digital Archives

Willaimsburg Bridge and Corlears Hook, ca. 1947; Photo: NYS Digital Archives

Sherman Mills Fairchild, American businessman and inventor, was denied military entry as a pilot during World War I. He was determined to help the war effort, though, and instead honed his energy to develop an advanced aerial camera. Fairchild would eventually win a government contract for his cameras, and by the second World War, 90% of the flight-equipped cameras were of Fairchild design.

Fairchild then turned his attention to our great city, commissioning aerial surveys. These photographs would become commercially popular, and Fairchild Aerial Surveys was born. Lucky for us, the New York State Archives categorically collected the results of these missions, and posted them online.


Stuy Town looking northwest, ca. 1948; Photo: NYS Digital Archives

We’ve included stunning images of the Lower East Side, Stuyvesant Town, SoHo, and Lower Manhattan, all snapped between 1947 and 1951. The neighborhoods are simply breathtaking.

[h/t Steve Hernandez]

Recent Stories

‘Sixty LES’ Hotel Adds Spotlights for Better Hell Square Exposure

When it comes to Hell Square development, the Sixty LES hotel (née Thompson LES) on Allen Street is old guard. Maintaining the spotlight after seven years, and in the face of such competition, apparently requires just that. Lights. The lodge installed tacky accent lighting on its north face to help differentiate itself from the beast […]

‘Upstairs on Rivington’ is the Latest Nightlife Entrant at the Hotel on Rivington

Upstairs on Rivington is the newly renovated lobby lounge at the Hotel on Rivington. It’s a Thursday-through-Saturday joint that joins Cafe Medi on the ground level and the upscale Jia Lounge next door. The second-floor hangout opened a couple weeks ago with a launch party featuring its “artist in residence,” Domingo Zapata. The stunt – […]

‘Lanzhou Ramen’ Opens on East Broadway in Time for the Cold Season

Ramen season is definitely upon us. And here’s another Chinatown establishment to test. Lanzhou Ramen debuted last week at 107 East Broadway, thus concluding the tenant drought here. The requisite grand opening flags dangle from the entryway. This wasn’t the original plan for the ground level of 107 East Broadway, though. Last December, a gaggle […]

‘LES Popped’ Finds a New Home with Wendy Mink Jewelry on Orchard Street

Two Lower East Side retailers are coming together at 72 Orchard Street. One, a veteran; the other, more freshman. The Wendy Mink boutique just welcomed a co-tenant after more than eight years selling jewelry on the block. Brand of choice is LES Popped, the local artisan market that briefly occupied 365 Grand Street for several […]

Dylan Rieder, Skater and Owner of ‘The Hunt,’ Memorialized with Skateboard Tribute on Canal Street

Dylan Rieder, a professional skateboarder and model out of California, died two weeks ago after a two-year battle with Leukemia. He was 28. Rieder also co-owned the eclectic oddities shop at 27 Canal Street called The Hunt with fellow skateboarders Jake Lamagno and Steven Ditchkus. Which explains the brief closure and makeshift memorial that now sits outside the gate. […]