New York City Streets in Photographs: Rebecca Lepkoff

What has a century of auto-centric planning cost New York? Even as our NYC Streets Renaissance Campaign looks ahead to 21st century street improvements, it also harks back to the days before automobiles crowded the life out of New York City streets.

The photographs of Rebecca Lepkoff, beginning in the 1930s, capture families sitting out on stoops and curbs to escape overcrowded, sweltering tenements. They show neighbors relaxing each evening, their field of vision unobstructed by rows of parked cars. We can see the "informal supervision" of livable streets at work as kids play kick-the-can, stickball and hopscotch in the roadbed.

To learn how Transportation Alternatives is working to revive these forgotten pastimes, visit

"Spinning the Top" Lower East Side, 1940s

"Kick the Can" Ridge St, LES, 1947



LES 1938

"Sailboat on the East River" Lower Manhattan, 1940s

All photographs courtesy of Rebecca Lepkoff