New York 1940s


The various billboards splashed with film titles – Tomorrow the World, 3 is a Family, Winged Victory –are all films released in late 1944. Notice the sign for the Orpheum Dance Palace; it was once New York’s most famous “dime-a-dance” hall.


The famous New York City taxi cabs can be seen here in their two-tone Chevrolet/Deseto phase.

Notice the hole in the top of the man’s hat. Could it be that he was one of the many unemployed shipyard workers in the 1940s? New York was brought to a halt in the mid-40s due to strikes surrounding disputes over wages and Union contracts.


Winged Victory was a film that was co-produced by 20th Century Fox and the U.S. Army Air Forces to act as a rousing military propaganda piece encouraging people to join the war effort.

On the sidewalk a group of soldiers in long khaki coats enjoy Times Sq. on their leave.

Hollywood Canteen was a film based on the West Coast counterpart of the original New York Stage Door Canteen which opened in 1942 , with the aim of entertaining all service men and women.

During the Second World War, due to the shortage of male labour, a significant number of women took to the driving seat and began working as taxi drivers.


Explore further:

10 Responses

  1. Edward J. Levy

    I was born in 1940 in NYC.
    Some of the things I remember : bringing the bacon fat to the butcher shop in a metal coffee can to be used in the making of bullitts for the war. The Navy War ships would dock along the hudson river across from where we lived on riverside drive in Manhattan. Ed Levy of Colorado

  2. Brian T.

    Love the “Rabinowitz Bros.” moving van in the first photo. I wonder if they’re related to Archie Bunker’s lawyers.

  3. Edmond

    Beautiful pictures. The first one must have been taken in very late 44 or very early 45. “3 is a Family” was released on November 24, 1944 and “Tomorrow, the World” on December 29, 1945. According to Billboard Magazine (Dec. 30 1944) Lionel Hampton was having a great success at the Hollywood Canteen Given the obvious excitement of the crowd, I would say December 31 1944. On January 1 the atmosphere is usually gloomy. Most people remain at home nursing their hangover.

  4. Lauren

    Hi there, beautiful photo’s and so great in high res. Would you be able to provide details of who originally took the photos? Thanks

  5. Jeff

    Living in Texas but, I was born in the Bronx in 1948. My memories are when my dad would take my sister and I to Radio City, the Automat etc. BTW – The Carnagie Deli!!

    There is no city like NYC.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.