© Eugene de Salignac, March 20, 1918, A giant ‘W’ in Manhattan

A massive “W” in the Kent Avenue yard of the Williamsburg Bridge. The 20-foot “W”, part of a giant “WSS”, was placed on a tower. WSS stands for “War Savings Stamps.” Letters were erected on the south side of the Manhattan tower during World War I.

© Eugene de Salignac, Sep. 25, 1924, near Williamsburg Bridge, NYC

A motorman operates a trolley cars near Williamsburg Bridge. Signs advertise almonds, cold remedies, mustard, and stove polish.

© Eugene de Salignac, Feb. 9, 1910, Experimental exposure, Queensboro Bridge, NYC

De Salignac’s time as a city worker coincided with New York’s transformation from a horse-and-buggy town into a modern-day metropolis, and his photographs of towering bridges, soaring buildings, trains, buses and boats chart the progress.

"During this period, New York became a paradigm for 20th-century urbanism, and that has to do with monumentality, transportation systems, working out glitches, skyscrapers, with technology—all of the things that emerge in these photos." (Michael Lorenzini, senior photographer for the New York City Municipal Archives; read more)