Home / HistoryRestored Film Footage Shows What Life Was Like in New York City Over 100 Years Ago

Restored Film Footage Shows What Life Was Like in New York City Over 100 Years Ago

New York City Travelogue Film 1991 by Svenska Biografteatern

Shot by Swedish documentary team Svenska Biografteatern in 1911, the A Trip Through New York City documentary film gives a glimpse into what life was like in the Big Apple more than 100 years ago. Expertly restored by the Museum of Modern Art, the 8-minute, black and white footage is part of Svenska Biografteatern’s travelogue series which set out to capture the world’s most celebrated locations at the time.

Now part of MoMa’s ongoing series of moving image works—“from the birth of cinema to the cutting edge of digital video”—the incredible footage captures the vibrant energy of New York City during the beginnings of the 20th century. Originally a silent film, the restored version has added sound for ambiance. As a boat approaches the New York Harbor, the film opens with a view of the Statue of Liberty and the then brand-new Manhattan Bridge. Other landmarks include the famous Flatiron Building, the Financial District, the John Ericsson statue, Madison Avenue, and the elevated railway lines at Bowery and Worth Streets.

Middle class men can be seen wearing tailored suits, bow ties, and brimmed hats. Women are captured going about their daily business wearing floor-length skirts, large hats, and sun-shielding umbrellas. Children point, grin, and stand in awe of the camera, which for many would be the first time they saw the recent invention. As a time of change, some ride traditional horse-drawn carriages while others favor convertible street cars and the first ever subway line, which had opened just 7 years prior. Scroll down to watch the historical video, and get a glimpse at life from over a century ago.

Shot by Swedish documentary team Svenska Biografteatern in 1911, the A Trip Through New York City documentary film gives a glimpse into what life was like in the Big Apple more than 100 years ago.

New York City Travelogue Film 1991 by Svenska BiografteaternNew York City Travelogue Film 1991 by Svenska BiografteaternNew York City Travelogue Film 1991 by Svenska Biografteatern

Expertly restored by the Museum of Modern Art, the 8-minute, black and white footage is part of a travelogue series that captures the world’s most celebrated places at the time.

New York City Travelogue Film 1991 by Svenska BiografteaternNew York City Travelogue Film 1991 by Svenska Biografteatern

h/t: [Open Culture]

All images via Svenska Biografteatern.

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