Over 55 years of photos of historic landmarks across New York City are now available on a publicly-accessible digital archive. On August 18, 2022, the Landmarks Preservation Commission announced the launch of its Designation Photo Collection, a searchable digital photo archive of the City’s designated landmarks and historic districts. For the first time, members of the public can search through high-resolution photos of designated buildings and sites throughout the five boroughs. The images, which used to be available by request only, are available for download at no cost. Reproductions of archive photos must credit the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission as the source.
The current collection is only a portion of the agency’s photo archive; the website will be updated regularly as more photos are digitized and catalogued. The LPC also is exploring incorporating the collection into a web map feature to provide the public with more robust options for utilizing the archive. The collection, available here, allows users to search by landmark name, address, block and lot number, and landmark number. For those wishing to learn more about how to navigate the archive, the LPC will be offering a webinar on Tuesday, September 20th at 6 pm to provide a tutorial on how to use the digital photo archive. To register, please visit this link.
Daniel Mackay, Deputy Commissioner for Historic Preservation, shared, “Expanding public access to archives through technology and innovation is a priority for the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Alongside our partners at the National Park Service, we are proud of this partnership with the LPC to make the project possible.”
The project was made possible, in part, through a grant from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. The collection is a byproduct of the 55 years the LPC has spent photographing buildings as part of the designation process. Most of the images were taken by the agency’s staff photographers, but some images were donated and submitted by historic preservation advocacy groups, such as Friends of the Upper East Side.
Sonia Guior, Director of Community and Intergovernmental Affairs for the LPC, shared with CityLaw, “We’re very excited to broadly share this resource with the public. The LPC Designation Photo Collection will not only allow the public to have a greater understanding and appreciation of New York City’s designated buildings and neighborhoods, but it will serve as a resource for applicants as they prepare their permit applications, which will help streamline the process.”
Landmarks Preservation Commission Chair Sarah Carroll shared, “Making LPC’s work more accessible, transparent and efficient is essential to our success and has been a priority throughout my tenure.”
By: Samantha Silverstein (Samantha is a CityLaw intern and a New York Law School student, Class of 2024.)