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.

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 the late, great magazine’s archives, presents a selection of black-and-white photos that show off the the spirit, the architecture, the culture (the high and the decidedly, thrillingly low) of Gotham—visual testaments to a city that, in darkness and in light, remains one of a kind.


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