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.

nyc-aerial-stuytown-empire-state-1950s

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

yunnan-kitchen-closing
Ainsworth Owner Looks to Impart ‘Clancey’ on Clinton Street

After a withdrawal last month, the new restaurant proposed for the old Yunnan Kitchen space on Clinton Street is back on the Community Board 3 agenda next month to pitch for full liquor. As previously reported, it’s a project by restaurateurs Todd Birnbaum and Dennis Bogart. Now that the applicants have submitted their proposal to […]

kenmare-garage-demolition
With 7-Story Condo on the way, Death Finally Comes to the Last Garage on Kenmare Street

The last parking garage on Kenmare Street closed at the end of June and is already under the knife. Time has come. The gift box wrapping of nets and bars arrived last month, alongside announcements of the requisite rat baiting throughout the premises. After just a week of demolition activity, the the top floor is dismantled. […]

rutgers-bump
Humping on the LES (or How the DOT Installed New Area Speed Bumps)

Two sidestreets on the Lower East Side are recipients of speed bumps this month. Rutgers Slip, just above South Street, acts as an exit ramp of sorts for motorists coming from the FDR Drive/South Street. Cars tend to speed away northbound after turning onto the narrow street. The new road hump should deter that. In […]

near-far-rivington
Miller’s Near & Far Closes for Good on Rivington Street; ‘Hemlock Restaurant’ on the Way

It’s curtains for Miller’s Near & Far, thus concluding three years and change at 65 Rivington Street. The burger bar shuttered at the end of July, without much fanfare. Apparently that reboot one year ago wasn’t quite enough to sustain the bottom line. So, after sitting vacant for a month, the store is already accounted for. […]

cow-theater-closing
The Idea Distillery will ‘Give Curiosity a Home’ at Former COW Theater on Clinton Street

Where two experimental theaters failed in a basement on Clinton Street, a new “home for curiosity” will soon take hold. Following in the footsteps of the COW Theater and Judith Malina’s legendary Living Theater before it. When we last revisited 21 Clinton Street, the enormous subterranean space was being peddled for $11,000 per month and key […]