If history teaches us anything, it’s that the ghosts of the past are all around us.
A fire once ravaged the church now standing up the street; a bus careened through a stoplight and slammed into your local corner store. A brutal double murder occurred in the apartment upstairs.
In his fascinating series, New York City Then & Now, New York photographer Marc A. Hermann reveals the shocking history resting right beneath our feet. Each mash-up begins with Hermann scouring the Daily News’ massive archive of New York City crime scene photography. He then locates and re-stages each shoot, capturing the site in its present state. With a pair of identical images now in hand, Hermann merges the two together.
The resulting composites provide a startling glimpse into the past – and a shocking reminder at just how quickly life moves on all around us. “New York is constantly transforming,” Hermann told the . “Tragedies that affect individuals’ lives are forgotten. We may stand on what was once the site of a horrific murder and not even know it.”
Take a look at Hermann’s gripping work now. Then, start researching the history of that oddly affordable 2-bedroom apartment you just purchased.
497 Dean Street, Brooklyn, NY – March 19, 1942
Edna Egbert, distraught over her missing GI son, teeters on the ledge of her upstairs apartment. The approaching police officers were able to distract and eventually push Edna into a waiting safety net.
475 ½ Hicks Street, Brooklyn, NY – January 31, 1957
Gangster Salvatore Santoro lay dead in the foyer of a Brooklyn apartment building. Santoro was shot four times in the head, with the weapon left at the scene of the crime.
923 44th Street, Brooklyn, NY – July 1, 1928
Notorious gangster Frankie Yale, known as the Al Capone of Brooklyn, met a grisly end on the front stoop of this Brooklyn residence. Frankie's vehicle slammed into the home after being shot from another vehicle. His execution is believed to be the first mob hit in New York that employed the Thompson sub-machine gun.
Corner of Pacific Street and Classon Avenue, Brooklyn, NY – July 28, 1957
This stolen vehicle slammed into a light pole one bright summer day in Brooklyn. The young driver had reportedly been released from the Brooklyn House of Detention that morning. Upon realizing he had left behind some clothes, the juvenile stole a car to retrieve them.
Corner of Hicks Street and Summit Street, Brooklyn, NY – January 11, 1951
The chill of a New York winter could not stop the flames from swallowing this stately church one frigid day in January. The Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Mary was nearly destroyed by the blaze. It has since been rebuilt and still stands today.
Prospect Park West and 15th Street, Brooklyn, NY – July 30, 1950
Sunday strollers stop and stare at the body of Detective Michael Dwyer, a veteran of the Wall Street squad, who jumped from his apartment near the entrance to Prospect Park.
137 Wooster Street, Manhattan, NY – February 16, 1958
A massive fire consumed the Elkins Paper and Twine Company on Wooster Street, claiming the lives of two firefighters and four members of the New York Fire Patrol. The building was a complete loss and demolished after all bodies were recovered.
992 Southern Boulevard, Bronx, NY – September, 25, 1961
A classic tale of jilted love. Josephine Dexidor cradles the lifeless body of her lover James Linares, shot by Dexidor's jealous boyfriend. Note the silhouette of a stroller in the bottom left of the photo, now parked beneath the stairs.