From bridges to pandas, Gothamist loves a lot of things (what can we say, we're passionate people) but if there is one thing we have an undying love for its the history of our fine city. Which is why it was with great pleasure that we found the lead article in the Times City section today on the University of Michigan's Making of America digital archive. Sponsored by Lawrence J. Portnoy, a Manhattan lawyer, the archive currently include over 300 books from the turn of the century on the state of New York City. We're talking about titles like "The nether side of New York; or, The vice, crime and poverty of the great Metropolis" from 1872, "Who's who of the Chinese in New York" from 1918 and "Working girls in evening schools: a statistical study" from 1914. The Times selections from the archive include such juicy tidbits as what a 20s "shop-girl" ate to stay on her feet (gumdrops and éclairs), the best way for a prostitute to rob her john blind (have a co-conspirator hidden in the walls of her bedroom) and how much it cost to live in luxury while incarcerated in the Ludlow Street Jail (anywhere from $15 to $100 a week depending on how much luxury one wanted).
The complete UMich collection on New York can be found here. You can print out and keep as much of it as you want, or you can have Michigan print a book out and send it to you for a variable fee.
Still want more? You can always check out the New York Public Library's increasingly awesome Digital Library.
Photograph by Fabrizio Constantini for the Times