Continued from page 1

The same collection is also used by people doing research for film productions, family historians hoping to see what their ancestors’ homes looked like, and scholars trying to measure the transformation of the metropolis over time.

One popular cache includes photos shot mostly by NYPD detectives, nearly each one a crime mystery just begging to be solved. The black-and-white, top-down image of the two men in the elevator shaft is a representative example.

Although it did not carry a crime scene photo, the New York Tribune reported Nov. 25, 1915, under the headline “Finding of two bodies tells tale of theft,” that the bodies of a black elevator operator and a white engineer of a Manhattan building were found “battered, as though from a long fall.”

The news report said the two men tried to rob a company on the fifth floor of expensive silks, but died in their attempt. The elevator was found with $500 worth of silk inside, stuck between the 10th and 11th floors.

Luc Sante, an author and a professor of writing and photography at Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, used images from the police collection for his 1992 book “Evidence.”

“They’re remarkable. They’re brutal. But they are also very beautiful,” he said.

___

Online:

New York City Municipal Archives Gallery: http://on.nyc.gov/IC1ze7

See a selection of newly released images in AP gallery: http://t.co/jEl2ceey

___

Follow Randy Herschaft at http://twitter.com/HerschaftAP and Cristian Salazar at http://twitter.com/crsalazarnyc.