Learn about history where it happened.

We’re building the largest mobile archive of New York City history by combining open records and map data with the digital collections of institutions like the Brooklyn Historical Society, Museum of the City of New York, and the New York Public Library.

  • Explore Your City

    Thousands of archival images from the five boroughs.

  • Recreate History

    Shoot instant before/after photos of landmark buildings.

  • Take a Walk

    Learn about your neighborhood with walking tours created by historians.

The Collections

We're working with NYC institutions to integrate their collections into our mobile platform. For more information, please contact us.

Our Advisors

Gary Chou is the founder of Orbital, a studio for building networks, and Faculty at School of Visual Arts MFA in Interaction Design.

Whitney W. Donhauser is the Director and President of the Museum of the City of New York.

Josh Hadro oversees digitization, metadata services, and permissions & reproductions at the New York Public Library.

Julie Golia is the Director of Public History at Brooklyn Historical Society, an acclaimed curator, and an award-winning educator.

Renae Mason is the Director of Digital Production at the Museum of the City of New York.

Deborah Schwartz is the President of the Brooklyn Historical Society. Prior to her tenure at BHS she was Deputy Director of Education at MoMA, and VP for Education at Brooklyn Museum.

Gabrielle Shubert was the director of the New York Transit Museum for 24 years. She’s now a freelance writer and blogger.

Bert Spaan works on NYPL's NYC Space/Time Directory, a project which aims to turn historical maps and other geographic sources from the Library's collection into a digital time-travel service for New York City.

Lindsay Turley is the Director of Collections at the Museum of the City of New York.


  • Where do the images come from?

    The Urban Archive app includes selected historical images from the collections of New York City institutions, including our partners at the Brooklyn Historical Society and the Museum of the City of New York. All historical images in the app include a name and logo identifying the source institution.

  • I work for a museum or historical institution. Can my organization participate in this project?

    We’d love to speak with you about your organization’s historical image collection. Please write to info@urbanarchive.nyc for more information.

  • Are you adding new images?

    We’re regularly updating the app with new historical images, walking tours, audio clips, and more.

  • Can I add a historical image?

    To suggest a historical image or location to be included in the app, please go to urbanarchive.nyc/submit.

    We regularly update the app with new content. If we’re able to use your suggested image, you’ll see it in the app soon.

  • Where does the image text come from?

    The app is currently in beta, and upcoming features include a source attribution tool. In the meantime, please reach out to feedback@urbanarchive.nyc with any questions.

  • Can I add information about a historical image?

    If you have additional information about an image we’ve featured, please write to feedback@urbanarchive.nyc. We’ll get back to you in a timely fashion.

  • What are the iOS requirements for Urban Archive?

    The Urban Archive iOS app requires an iPhone running iOS 10 or later. We don’t yet have an iPad app available.

  • Is there an Android app?

    Sorry! We don’t yet have an Android app.

  • How do I make a photo recreation?

    First, navigate to any image in the app and tap the camera icon.

    You’ll see an overlay of the historical image over your camera’s viewfinder. Use your fingers zoom the overlay larger or smaller. Once you’ve lined up your shot, take a photo.

    After you take a photo, you can choose from a number of layout options and continue to resize the image. Tap “save” to save to your camera roll or “share” to open the photo in Instagram.

  • How do I check in to a location I’ve visited?

    To check-in, you need to be within 50 meters of the check-in location. Certain check-ins may unlock achievements within the app, so no short cuts are allowed!

Our Team

We’re an independent, nonprofit organization working out of a Lower East Side tenement. We’re passionate about history, technology and data. We love New York and want to uncover its past.

Favorite Neighborhood
Fort Greene

Favorite Building
Merchant's House Museum


Ben C.

Favorite Neighborhood
Lower East Side

Favorite Building
Jarmulowsky Bank

Ben S.

Favorite Neighborhood

Favorite Building
Bayard-Condict Building



Favorite Neighborhood
Red Hook

Favorite Building
St. Ann’s Warehouse