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Explore 1940s New York

In 1943, four New York newspapers published a local market analysis aimed at advertisers. The document was based on the 1940 census and included hundreds of photos & color-coded maps portraying the geographic patterns of monthly rent levels across the city. It also featured statistics and short narratives about the neighborhoods.

The “New York Market Analysis” document was largely forgotten since its publication. Seventy years later, the Center for Urban Research at the CUNY Graduate Center is making the 1943 profiles available in a new project called "Welcome to 1940s New York." The site provides a window into New York’s neighborhoods of that era using digital maps.

Challenge

Steven Romalewski, from CUNY, highlights the main aspects of the project. The site is “still very much a work in progress,” he says, but, "it already offers a rich picture of life in New York more than seventy years ago."

CUNY collaborated with The Gotham Center for New York City History to produce an interactive, archival map of the "New York Market Analysis" powered by CARTO.

Solution

The map displays information on the 116 neighborhoods covered in the document. DocumentCloud provides easy access to the entire 1943 document. Map navigation is provided through Leaflet.js and the basemap is from MapBox.

“With the maps, you can see for yourself how closely or not the patterns match life in our city today”, observed Romalewski.

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