A Video Trip Through New York City in 1911

An old movie film of New York City taken in the year 1911 has been improved by computer technology and is now available for everyone to see on YouTube.

The original movie was “jerky” and made everyone seem to walk quickly, as is typical with all early movies. The computer enhancement slowed down the motion to a natural rate and added in sound for ambiance. This film was taken by the Swedish company Svenska Biografteatern on a trip to America in 1911.

As you watch this video, please think about this: every single person in it is no longer alive, and strangers 100 years later are watching them from devices the folks in the video had never seen or heard of before, called “computers” and “smart phones.” If your ancestor lived in New York City, look closely. There is always a (very slim) chance that he or she is shown in this video. What a find that would be!

The video can be seen in the video player above or on YouTube at https://youtu.be/aohXOpKtns0.


The chauffeur driven car with a license plate number could perhaps be tracked down to see who the family was.


That was really cool


Loved this!


What an enjoyable (and educational) video. Thanks for posting!!!!


There was so much to enjoy watching this! The style of hat a good many men were wearing; the strutting about not paying any attention – just like today with smartphones! The lady with the stroller not looking where she was going (who was she looking at?) and then suddenly the young boy behind her, was he hers? The massive infrastructure yet still with horse and buggy. Loved the chauffeur driven car with the dour family looking neither left or right! The children running about with no fears – something we couldn’t possible see today. Whatever would our ancestors think if they could see life today with the same background?


My Dad was 9 and my Mom was 7 living across the East River in Brooklyn at the time. Relatives worked for the ferry. Don’t see anyone carrying blue bags to pick up after the horses. No, they had guys pushing one can carts armed with stiff brooms and a shovel. A far cry indeed. Men’s hat styles confirms the possible age of my grandfather in an undated photo found in an old archive. Brings back a ton of memories of the place I once spent part of my life some 60 plus years ago.


Some of the flat streets of New York city had cable cars in 1911! (Near the 4:00 mark; note the center groove in the tracks for the attachment to the underground cable.)


Thank you for a wonderful trip down memory lane. I well remember so many of these sights from the ’30s and much later. As a young adult, I lived “under” the 3rd Ave. El. Even as a young child, New York City was my favorite place. I loved exploring it. The only criticism is that they slowed the pace a bit too much. NYC was and is full of energy; one does not stroll. I would love to play this on my website, but I’m sure the space it would take is prohibitive.


Seems to be a distinct lack of eyeglasses on most faces, as compared to today.


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