“Ash Street.” Date unknown, via NYPL

While it’s true the more things change the more they stay the same, the changes certainly outnumber the sameness in these vintage photos of Greenpoint. The sameness is enough for the streets to be recognizable, but the full throttle industrial landscape paired with the lack of development and people makes it clear these images were created in another world.

Some of the photographs are dated by their car models and aboveground telephone lines, others by their empty lots and the old school formal fashion. Take a look, and see if you can guess the photos’ locations without reading the caption. 

“Logan Iron Works, Manufacturers Of High And Low Pressure Boilers And Tanks, Of All Descriptions.” Date unknown, via NYPL

“Public library, Greenpoint, Brooklyn, N.Y.” A postcard printed in Germany, 1912, via NYPL
“East River – Shore and skyline – Williamsburg Bridge – Newtown Creek – [American Export Lines.]” 1929, via NYPL
“Greenpoint Ave., west from West Street. In the foreground, is the City of New York Municipal Ferry to 23rd Street, Manhattan.” 1929, via NYPL
“West Street, north from Greenpoint Ave.” 1930, via NYPL
“Norman Ave., at the N.E corner of Eckford Street.” 1935, via NYPL
“Greenpoint Avenue, at the N.E. corner of Provost Street, showing a factory manufacturing hats and selling direct to the public.” 1939, via NYPL
“90 Dupont St.” Photo by Dinanda Nooney, 1978. Via NYPL

Join the Conversation


  1. Love seeing these historical views!

    However, 2 of the West Street photos are misidentified as Greenpoint in the NYPL titles.

    The West street photos are of West street in lower Manhattan.

    1. Thanks for catching that – I should’ve realized. I’ve updated the post with two photos which actually depict Greenpoint’s West Street. I included the Queens photos because they had partial views of Greenpoint, but I’ve updated them with photos in Greenpoint proper.

    2. yeah those west street pics looked fishy…there was a building on the NW corner of the intersection that was never there, also on the south east corner there was a gas station not a bldg…

  2. In 1964 I “ran away to sea” on the MS Clary Thorden. Our first call after leaving Boston was the Greenpoint pier by the corner of Java and West Streets. The JAVA WEST BAR was our social center. Sometimes walking to the subway, an early teen girl would be seated at a card table with two chairs and a deck. She systematically lightened many sailors wallets.

  3. My Mom used to work at the Greenpoint Library when I was a tot. One of my 1st summer jobs was at the old PS31 where I was a NYC Bd of Ed “Homework Helper”. That was back in 1971. It was there that I became familiar with the N-S sequencing of street names from Ash to Quay: (Ash, Box, Clay, DuPont, Eagle, Freeman, Green, Huron, India, Java, Kent, Lincoln (now Greenpoint Ave.), Milton, Noble, Oak & Quay) I dated a young colleague who lived on Oak St. Wish we’d stayed in touch. She was very sweet. Great photos of a good neighborhood.

  4. I’m trying to find out the location of my birth. I think it was in St. Catherines Hospital Maternity Ward on Humbolt St in Brooklyn, N.Y. Can anyone tell me if this was Greenpoint or Williamsburg? Do you know if this building is now a police station? Would appreciate hearing from you. Thank you, Jim Norris

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *