Saturday, April 26, 2014

Amazing B&W Photographs of Street Scenes of New York City in the 1950's

Frank Oscar Larson was born in Greenpoint, Brooklyn in 1896, the son of Swedish immigrants who moved to New York in early 1890's. After serving in World War I as an artillery man and then completing his college education, Frank took a job with Empire Trust Company in Manhattan, where he worked his way up the company ladder to become an auditor for the bank. He worked there until he retired in the late 1950's.

Photographs dating back to the 1920's attest to the fact that he was always the family shutterbug, but it was in the early 1950's that Frank's passion for photography blossomed. By 1949 both of his sons had left home, and perhaps this new situation, no longer having kids at home freed him up on the weekends to delve into photography with a passion.

For the next 16 years he took thousands of photographs, mostly with a medium-format Rolleiflex camera. On weekends in the early 1950's he would leave home early in the morning on photographic expeditions to exotic places like the Bowery, Chinatown or Times Square, or to less exotic places like Central Park, the Cloisters or nearby Kissena Park.

Frank developed and printed all his photos in a darkroom in his basement, and entered some of them in local amateur photographic competitions where he won some awards for his work.

Four boys are perched on a window sill to get a good view of New York's Saint Patrick's Day Parade sometime in the early to mid 1950's.

People gather on the corner of Mott Street in Chinatown in January of 1953.

A vendor pushes his cart through the streets of Chinatown in December of 1953.

A man poses on the top rails of a bench in Columbus Park in the Chinatown section of New York in November, 1953.

A man and a young girl walk near the Fulton Fish Market in December of 1953.

A man waits at a train station sometime in the early 1950's.

Four young boys in costume ham it up in Kissena Park, Flushing in 1953.

A man sits on a parapet watching bathers at a pool in Astoria Park, Queens in 1953.

Two men have a conversation in a coffee shop near Times Square in April of 1954.

The reflection of the Chrysler Building is seen in a puddle on a sidewalk along 42nd Street in New York in April of 1954.

Invaders from Mars, April 1953

Four school girl dressed in finery gather on a sidewalk someplace in New York City in 1953.

A man loads kegs of beer into a bar basement in New York City in 1953.

A policeman writes a parking ticket on 5th Avenue in 1953.

Boys shine the shoes of two young men outside a Horn and Hardart automat in New York on April 21, 1954.

People walk on a rainy sidewalk across from Saint Patrick's Cathedral in New York sometime in the mid 1950's.

Reading the paper in Bryant Park steps in April, 1954

Three young ladies prepare to have their pictures taken in photo booths in Manhattan in April of 1954.

(Photos by Frank Oscar Larson)

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