Images from top: Pearl Street and Peck Slip, October 7, 1942
Drink cart near the Battery, October, 1942
Wartime salvage, October 4, 1942
58 Mulberry Street
South East corner of First Street and the Bowery (and the same corner today in a desultory view from Google maps)
Charles Weever Cushman (1896–1972), dedicated amateur photographer, bequeathed approximately 14,500 Kodachrome color slides to his alma mater, Indiana University. The resulting Charles W. Cushman Photograph Collection of the Indiana University Archives is a meticulously documented online repository (you can read the grant proposal, peruse online scans of Cushman's notebooks, find out about Charles, or read about the color restoration process).
Amassed by Cushman during a thirty-two year period from 1938 to 1969, the slides document a dizzying array of subjects, in part: fires, floods, train wrecks, train yards, harbors, street vendors, street scenes, churches, synagogues, saloons, advertisements, the steel industry, mining, ghost towns, farms, urban slums, mule auctions, and the filming of B movies. What particularly interested me were the shots of New York, many of which are from the early forties. Nearly all the images are preserved in uncanny, vivid color.
ADDENDUM I've come across Dino's NYC in which the author seeks to update the Charles Cushman views of New York (there are only 150 or so)! He's got some great information about the Pearl Street image in particular and it's definitely worth a visit. Be prepared, though, that it's a dirge-like procession of former streetscapes— however trash-strewn or gritty— turned to parking lots, off-ramps and highrises.
In an old post I featured this detail of a 1912 photograph of Elizabeth Street, which I colorized in Photoshop. I think one reason the past becomes so foreign, so removed, is that we so often see it in black and white. As if the past were a different dimension. The Past: some time disconnected from my existence. The monochrome abstracts the subject, creates an artistic chiaroscuro— but leaches the immediacy from the scene. How I wish I could see the nineteenth century in full color!