Landmarks launches digital photo archive of NYC landmarks and historic districts

August 19, 2022

Photo of the scenic landmark Central Park, courtesy of the Landmarks Preservation Commission

The city’s Landmarks Preservation Commission on Thursday launched the LPC Designation Photo Collection, a digital photo archive with high-resolution images of designated landmarks and historic districts. Now the public can easily search, explore, and download photos of landmarked properties and neighborhoods without requesting them from the commission first. The service will also be helpful for property owners, architects, and contractors who work on historic properties.

Screenshot of the new digital archive; Courtesy of Landmarks Preservation Commission

The LPC has been documenting photography of the city’s many historic sites and buildings for over 55 years as part of the designation process, but up until now, the photos have only been available by request. Now with the launch of the digital archive, they are easily accessible to the public.

The collection consists of a diverse mix of photography, including “35 mm black-and-white and color film, medium and large format negatives, color slides, and miscellaneous darkroom prints and Polaroids,” according to the commission.

“Making LPC’s work more accessible, transparent and efficient is essential to our success and has been a priority throughout my tenure,” Sarah Carroll, LPC Chair, said in a press release.

“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.”

The photo collection is available here and allows user to filter their search by landmark name, address, block and lot number, and landmark number. The collection also utilizes the LPC’s historic building data, which allows users to filter their search even further by the architect, style, construction date, building type, and materials.
In addition to photography, the website lists the type of landmark, the date of its designation, the address, and other important information for research

The LPC will host a digital seminar on September 20 at 6 p.m. on how to properly use the photo archive. Interested participants can register here.

“Expanding public access to archives through technology and innovation is a priority for the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation,” Daniel Mackay, deputy commissioner for Historic Preservation, said. “Alongside our partners at the National Park Service, we are proud of this partnership with the LPC to make the project possible.”


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