It's rare we can look back at an era of NYC like the 1940s and see it through such sharp, colorful images. Thanks to Charles W. Cushman, a tourist here during that time with a knack for photography, it's possible. We've looked at Cushman's vast archives before—which span the nation and overseas over a few decade—all in all containing 14,500 Kodachrome color slides. He donated the images to his alma mater, Indiana University, and they digitized everything after nearly tossing them in the garbage. Check out his 1960s NYC photos here, and click through for his shots of New York City in the early 1940s.
Here are a few things that were going on in 1940s NYC:
- Nazi saboteurs tried to infiltrate Grand Central's secret basement.
- A NYC bus driver spontaneously took a joy ride to Florida during his shift.
- Someone had a sweet party on their terrace.
- New York's New Yorkiest joint was expanding.
- LIFE magazine taught us how to kiss.
- A sailor must have read that article, and used his skills on a nurse in Times Square, creating one of iconic images of the WWII era.
- Our mass transit system looked archaic af.
- Weegee was out there taking grisly crime photos.
- A peanut Butter & Bacon sandwich went for 15 cents at LaGuardia Airport.
- It was the Golden Age of Jazz, man.
- Pennsylvania Station existed. The good one.
- Everyone fell in love with Eames at a MoMA exhibit.
- And there was a big push for tourism: