For the first time in 12 years New Yorkers are electing a mayor who is not Michael Bloomberg, leading to all sorts of reminiscing about how he’s changed the city. These photos offer a twist: grisly historical crimes, juxtaposed against Bloomberg’s sanitized modern-day New York City.
Photographer and historian of the New York Press Photographers Association Marc Hermanndove into the New York Daily News archive to find historic crime scenes, and mashed them up with photographs of the same locations today. The resulting images provide a haunting window into the tragic events of the past, like a Noir film playing out in real time on an empty city block.
What’s perhaps most striking about these images is how much New York hasn’t changed. For the most part many of the buildings are still intact, and it’s delightful to see the subtle evolution of details like streetsigns. Plus there’s something about seeing the black-and-white crime scenes in contemporary settings, which desensitizes the violence somewhat by removing it from its context.
Documenting crime is a critical part of a city’s history, but Hermann hears plenty of reactions from readers who object to seeing these scenes so graphically portrayed. “People seem to have righteous indignation in the comments section of news stories when we show tragic scenes as they occur today,” he says. He produced these images, in part, to illustrate the timelessness of human suffering. “I often remind people that a victim in 1943 is the same as a victim in 2013, and today’s photographers are making an important record of history that will, with the passage of time, be regarded as ‘classic.'” [New York Daily News via Fast Co.Exist]
In 1960, United Airlines Flight 826 and Trans World Airlines Flight 266 collided over Park Slope in Brooklyn, killing 130 people.
In 1958 there was a fatal fire at the Elkins Paper & Twine Co. on Wooster Street in SoHo. The building burned to the ground.