VINTAGE NEW YORK

State of the Arts NYC selected some vintage photographs of NYC to share.

Experiencing a crisis, will prompt folks to look at the past. These urbanscapes hopefully will gives a moment to pause and reflect on our city and where we wish to go moving forward. Below we describe the photos from George P. Hall and William J. Roege Collection, courtesy of the NY Historical Society.

George P Hall Photographs

The collection consists of approximately 1,500 modern photographic prints, 275 glass negatives, and 2 log books, and dates from ca. 1876 to 1914. Photographic prints in this collection were printed in the 1960s and 1970s from Hall’s original glass negatives. The large-format views in this collection provide clear, extremely detailed and flattering depictions of a variety of subjects, including Manhattan’s early skyscrapers, hotels and theater exteriors, harbor activity, and downtown streets, as well as Brooklyn business areas and resorts. George P. Hall & Son photographed the Battery skyline repeatedly from the 1880s through the 1910s, documenting the dramatic changes that occurred as New York progressed from a low-rise to a high-rise city. Many of Hall & Son’s views are notable for their high-angle perspectives. Views in this collection also depict many of the U.S. Navy’s new steel battleships of the 1890s. Sagtikos Manor and other Long Island sites are well documented. There are also some photographs of the Hall Studios and Hall family members.

William J. Roege Collection 

Photographer William J. Roege (1883-1970) worked for commercial photography firms and independently in New York City from at least 1914 through the 1950s, turning his camera toward the businesses and residences of Manhattan and Brooklyn. From at least 1914 through 1923, Roege worked for the firm American Studio at 87 Nassau Street, while making his home in Newark and then Belleville, New Jersey. Photographs within this collection indicate that he was working as a photographer as early as 1910. By 1925, Roege was working at Boyette, the eponymous commercial photography firm owned by Fine Boyette located at 105 West 47th Street, and had moved his residence temporarily to Manhattan. By the 1950s, Roege had moved back to New Jersey, and in 1957 he began using his Belleville address as his sole business address. The business continued to be listed in his name in city directories through the 1970s, although Social Security records indicate that Roege died in December of 1970. Little is known of Roege’s life beyond his professional work.

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