Love Letter to New York: Classic LIFE Photos of the Big Apple

Pre-Christmas holiday traffic teaming with double-decker buses, trucks and cars, crawling along two-way-laned, 5th avenue near 34th street in November 1948.
Andreas Feininger—Time & Life Pictures/Getty Images
Fifth Avenue teems with pre-Christmas holiday traffic near 34th street in November 1948.
Culture
1940
1972

The monuments and the museums, the pulsing crowds on Fifth Avenue, opera at the Met and stickball in Spanish Harlem, sardines on the subway and the romantic urban vistas of Central Park: Over the years LIFE’s photographers explored every corner of New York, the city the magazine always called its home.

From the countless images of the Big Apple stored away in its unparalleled archives, LIFE.com presents a choice selection of classic black-and-white photos that show off the the spirit, the architecture, the culture (high and decidedly, thrillingly low) of Gotham — visual testaments to a city that, through darkness and in light, remains one of a kind.

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