30 Amazing Before-And-After Snapshots That Show How New York Has Transformed Over Time

Graphic designer Paul Sahner has been taking pictures of New York’s streets since he moved to the city nine years ago. He loves the feeling of capturing an ever-shifting urban landscape for posterityon his blog NYC Grid.

Inspired by the changing shops and street corners he saw while walking around, Sahner started a before-and after-series on NYC Grid. The photographer would match his own photos of New York City with old pictures from the Library of Congress or Flickr to showcase the transformation of the city’s landmarks and streets.

“I don’t share the hopeless sense of loss that many other NY bloggers and writers express,” Sahner writes. “I don’t dislike modern architecture, I don’t fear gentrification, I enjoy change and relish new ideas. But I do feel there’s something special about the time we’re experiencing here. Once this time, this moment, has passed it will never return.”

Over at NYC Grid, readers can use a toggle function to compare the old and new photos interactively. We’ve presented them here back-to-back in slideshow format so you can get the full effect of each image.

1900: Mott Street has been the center of New York's Chinatown for more than 100 years.

2013: Even today, the buildings remain largely unchanged, with the exception of modern conveniences and signs.

1907: Bowling Green is the oldest public park in NYC, built in 1733.

2013: After suffering neglect after WWII, the park was restored in the '70s and is now one of the most visited places in the city.

1915: The arch and colonnade that welcomes motorists on the Manhattan Bridge was built as a part of the City Beautiful movement 'to create moral and civic virtue among urban populations.'

2013: After decades of being covered in graffiti, the city made the arch a landmark in 1975, and restored it in the 1990s.

1922: Bryant Park has evolved over the years. Here, a 'demonstration garden' is planted on the eastern end of the park.

2013: More than 90 years later, the park is still and urban sanctuary. Note the New York Public Library in the background.

1937: When the 8th Avenue/14th Street subway station opened in 1931, this impressive building was home to the New York Savings Bank.

2013: Today, the neoclassical structure is a CVS pharmacy, and the subway station has an elevator.

1938: A man crosses First Avenue on the Upper East Side during the Great Depression.

2013: The building in the center remains largely untouched, but the UES has markedly transformed with cars, trees, and paved roads.

1942: From the steps of St. Bart's Church, one could see the New York Central Building rise above the other structures on Park Avenue.

2013: Today the building is known as the Helmsley Building, and is dwarfed by Midtown's skyscrapers.

1965: New York's Racquet and Tennis Club on Park Avenue was surrounded by skyscrapers 50 years ago.

2013: The buildings may be taller, but the Racquet and Tennis Club looks the same.

2013: Today, Delancey Street is much cleaner and has more trees (though you can still see the Manhattan Bridge!).

2013: Those brick buildings are still there, but the street looks much quieter.

2013: Now, the market is run by the New York City Economic Development Corporation, and still houses a few dozen stalls.

2013: There are more cars than people, but the bank is still there.

2013: The buildings were renovated in 1983, but The New York Times said the changes made the block 'into something flat and dull.'

1970: The Chapel of the Good Shepherd was erected on Roosevelt Island in 1888. At the time of this picture, residential complexes were just about to be built on the island.

2013: Today, Roosevelt Island is home to apartments, pharmacies, public parks, and more.

1982: This snapshot shows the Brooklyn Bridge, framed by the Watchtower building in Brooklyn Heights.

2013: Today, this area is thriving thanks to the popularity of tourist attractions like Brooklyn Bridge Park and Grimaldi's Pizza.

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