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Explore the Eerily Pristine Streets of NYC's 1941 Williamsburg

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Welcome back to Monochromes, a Friday mini-series wherein Curbed delves deep into the Library of Congress's photographic annals, resurfacing with an armful of old black-and-white photos of architecture and interior design of yesteryear. Have a find you want to share? Hit up the tipline; we'd love to hear from you.


Williamsburg in 2014 is an enclave in Brooklyn known to be the birthplace of the hipster, a place that maintains impressive levels of French bulldogs and mustaches despite the fact that its hipster mecca days have been long been forfeited to ridiculously pricy housing high rises. But before the days of deep V-necks, plaid kerchiefs, septum piercings, and water color tattoos, Williamsburg was just another New York suburb—in fact, one that, according to photos taken in 1941, was as bizarrely perfect as a set piece from film starring Jimmy Stewart. The streets are empty, people converse on park benches, and children line up civilly to get a chance at the park's slide.

· Williamsburg Houses, Brooklyn, New York [Gottscho-Schleisner Collection, Library of Congress]
· All Williamsburg coverage [Curbed NY]
· All Monochromes posts [Curbed National]
· All Dwelling posts [Curbed National]
· All 1950s posts [Curbed National]