Coney Island Fire

1911. Unknown photographer. “Dreamland fire, Coney Island, New York.”

From the Library of Congress.

The Dreamland amusement park on Coney Island was completely destroyed in 1911 after light bulbs exploded, and a roof repair worker mistakenly kicked over a bucket of hot tar.

Bike Messenger

1896. Photograph by Alice Austen. “Messenger boy.”

Photograph shows a teenager posing next to his bike on New York City. A banner in the middle of the bike reads “American Messengers Western Union TEL CO.”

Manhattan Automat

1936. Photograph by Bernice Abbott. “Automat, 977 Eighth Avenue, Manhattan.”

Automats were first introduced in 1895 in Germany following the popularity of chocolate bar vending machines. Diners would feed coins into the automat, open a hinged glass window, and remove food and drinks. At the height of their popularity, automats fed hundreds of thousands of people in New York daily.