The Urban Lens: Vintage photos document the origins of Black Friday shopping in NYC

Posted On Fri, November 24, 2017 By

Posted On Fri, November 24, 2017 By In Features, History, holidays, photography, The urban lens

Christmas shoppers on 6th Avenue (1910) via Library of Congress

Black Friday marks the start of frantic holiday shopping, the day when retailers offer their best deals of the season to lure in eager shoppers. While some gift-givers now choose to digitally add items to shopping carts from the comfort of bed instead, many still line up outside of stores at the crack of dawn in search of major discounts. This is not a modern phenomenon, as these photographs from the Library of Congress of 20th century New York City reveal. Like today, New Yorkers of the early 1900s were drawn to the magical window shops and displays. Ahead, explore vintage photos of shoppers browsing New York City stores looking for the perfect presents, postcards and more.

black friday, nyc holiday shopping, library of congress
Boy looking at Christmas toys (1900) via Library of Congress

black friday, nyc holiday shopping, library of congress
Browsing toys (ca. 1910) via Library of Congress

black friday, nyc holiday shopping, library of congress
Christmas shoppers (1900) via Library of Congress

black friday, nyc holiday shopping, library of congress
Vendor of Christmas cards via Library of Congress

black friday, nyc holiday shopping, library of congress
A Christmas peddler (1910) via Library of Congress

black friday, nyc holiday shopping, library of congress
A Christmas peddler via Library of Congress

black friday, nyc holiday shopping, library of congress Christmas Tree at Madison Square Park (1910) via Library of Congress

black friday, nyc holiday shopping, library of congress
Children looking at toys (1900) via Library of Congress

black friday, nyc holiday shopping, library of congress
Even more window shopping photo via Library of Congress

black friday, nyc holiday shopping, library of congress
A peddler selling postcards via Library of Congress

black friday, nyc holiday shopping, library of congress
Photo via Library of Congress

black friday, nyc holiday shopping, library of congress
Window shoppers (1910) via Library of Congress

black friday, nyc holiday shopping, library of congress
Christmas shoppers on 6th Avenue (1910) via Library of Congress

black friday, nyc holiday shopping, library of congress
Photo via Library of Congress

black friday, nyc holiday shopping, library of congress
Vendor selling Christmas toys on 6th Avenue via Library of Congress

black friday, nyc holiday shopping, library of congress
Shoppers crowd the streets  via Library of Congress

black friday, nyc holiday shopping, library of congress
Shoppers walking near 42nd Street and 5th Avenue (1910) via Library of Congress

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