Old Photos: 1950s New York City
New York City in the 1950s – Frank Oscar Larson
These amazing vintage New York City photos effortlessly portray the beauty and diversity that was New York in the 1950s. Amateur photographer Frank Larson took these photos, the majority of which were shot using a Rolleiflex Automat Model 4 camera, mostly on weekends as a getaway from his 9 to 5 bank job. Larson had a great eye and a natural talent for photography, capturing both daytime and nighttime street scenes that vividly tell the tale of everyday life in the city that never sleeps.
Pigeons on the ground during a rainy day at Times Square in front of marquee for “A Star is Born” starring Judy Garland – New York City – 1954.
How the physical photos themselves came to light is a very interesting story. Frank Larson passed away in a retirement home in Lakeville, Connecticut in the year 1964. His wife, Eleanora, boxed up all their possessions and moved non-essential items to storage. This included a cardboard box filled with envelopes containing 2 1/4″ x 2 1/4″ negatives of Frank’s photos.
A man getting warm – Hell’s Kitchen at 9th Avenue and 39th St. – December 1953.
The box of negatives sat tucked away in storage, virtually forgotten for nearly 50 years, until they were rediscovered by Frank’s grandson – Soren Larson. Soren was a young boy when Frank passed away in 1964, but he had seen and admired some of Frank’s photography work in family photo albums. Digging through the negatives, Soren became astounded by the quality and range of his grandfather’s photography. Wanting to share the photos with the world, Soren built a website to showcase and share these wonderful images of the Bowery, Chinatown, Times Square and other areas of 1950s New York City.
April 1953 New York City – People on sidewalk in front of “Invaders From Mars” marquee.
Four sailors in Central Park. New York City skyline silhouette in distance – November 1953.
October 28, 1954 – Nighttime photo of the old Roxy Theatre located at 153 West 50th St, between 6th and 7th Avenues, slightly off Times Square. ‘Black Widow’ staring Ginger Rogers, Van Heflin, Gene Tierney, and George Raft headlining. The Roxy was demolished in the 1960s.
Ticket counter at Grand Central Terminal – December 1954. This world-famous Midtown Manhattan landmark is a cultural destination.
1950s New York City Photos – Park Avenue and 57th St. – ca 1954.
1950s New York City – Across from St. Patrick’s Cathedral – ca 1954.
Several young ladies having their photos made in a photo booth – NYC – April 1954. “The NEW Photographic Sensation!”
Four boys on a window sill, watching the 1955 Saint Patrick’s Day Parade – New York City.
1950s New York City Photos – Night Photo of Fulton Fish Market – April 1958.
Street vendor selling jewelry – Times Square, New York City – ca 1954.
Shoe Shine – Outside Horn and Hardart Company – New York City – April 1954.
Lady and the Lion – A woman sleeps by one of the stone lion statues outside the New York Public Library – 1955.
A man selling balloons at 42nd and Broadway, New York City – April 1954.
1950s New York City Photos – School Girls – ca 1953.
A man standing on the busy sidewalks of Times Square playing a guitar to promote the film “Johnny Guitar” – New York City, Spring of 1954.
New York City Police Officer Writing a Parking Ticket – 1953.
Feeding the Elephant – Bronx Zoo – 1953.
“Keep Off” – Funny 1950s New York City photo of a rather large squirrel sitting on a fence, Keep Off sign in the background.
Woman at Train Platform – Marble Hill – Bronx New York – August 1955.
The images on this page are just a sampling of Frank Larson’s amazing 1950s New York City photos. Please be sure to visit this website to see the full collection of photos or to buy prints.
All photos © Copyright Frank Larson and used with permission.