Urban Archive’s new History Crush feature lets you swipe right on your favorite images of NYC’s past

September 20, 2019

Image courtesy of Urban Archive.

6sqft previously featured Urban Archive, the technology nonprofit that has been building (no pun intended) connections 
between people, places, and historical institutions through a growing map of New York City’s unique architecture, culture, and stories for several years. Last February saw the launch of their citywide project seeking crowd-sourced histories and photographs to be included in the UA app. Now, the Urban Archive app has a fun new feature: History Crush serves users a steady randomized supply of historic images of NYC buildings, places and events. You can weigh in with a swipe left or right on each new image; yes, it’s like the dating app (without the stress). This Adderall-era add-on actually makes the app even more addictive–and encourages users to check out more images. Even better, right-swiped and liked images are saved to a folder in your My Archive collection for future investigation.

history crush, urban archive, maps, nyc history, apps

The new feature makes it easier to explore more than 100 years of NYC history, find and save sites throughout the city, share your new favorite photo with friends and get notified when you pass by places you’ve liked. And while, yes, the idea of swiping left on historic neighborhoods and iconic architecture may seem to trivialize their importance–it’s not like we haven’t spent entirely too much time pondering the idea of doing this to human beings–it serves the purpose of getting us to interact with more of the treasure trove of images UA has amassed. Otherwise we tend to search for something specific, or follow an image that catches our eye, then check out soon afterward, overwhelmed by the possibilities and not knowing where to start.

Right-swiped images are saved in your My Archive folder, and you can select settings that will, for example, alert you when one of them is nearby. In addition to a yea or nay vote, History Crush makes it super quick and easy to share each image.

In addition to being even more addictive and fun if you have a few minutes to kill, you can still search for specific places and discover a regularly updated batch of curated features on historic sites. Being in a place like New York City, where there’s so much history and so many stories to be discovered, any encouragement to discover a new facet makes life that much richer. And unlike the dating app, there are no bad choices. You can download the app here, play History Hunts, check out City Stories and more here.


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