You ready to dive into the 1940s? Because has CUNY got an interactive map for you. The Center for Urban Research at the school's Graduate Research Center today launched Welcome to 1940s New York, a slick mash-up of 1940s Census data, web maps and a rare 1943 book called NYC Market Analysis found by then-graduate student Steven Romalewski in 1997 and painstakingly scanned and placed onto a map of the city. Want to know what the average rent on your block was in 1943? Now you can!
Using newspaper and census data (including info from the Times, the Daily News, The Daily Miror, and the New York Journal American) the site gives you a peek into the "City of a Hundred Cities," with each neighborhood getting a clickable description with photographs, block-by-block rental breakdowns and population statistics. Williamsburg at the time was 114,598 "native white" with 61,488 "foreign-born white" folk ("Scattered Italians, Russian and Polish Jews comprise three-quarters of the foreign-born; Negroes in the southeast corner.") with the majority of the rents being under $30 a month! Even adjusted for inflation, pretty darn affordable.
In addition to neighborhood data there is also borough data to dive into (including the number of manufacturers and stores open at the time, citywide), not to mention links to the now-available individual 1940s Census data for the area if that's your thing. Oh, and there are also a bunch of good neighborhood pictures from the era slipped in there too, to set the tone. And if you want more of those, well, have we got your covered.