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Photos of New York City in the early 1900s

If time travel were possible, someone visiting New York City during late November through December 100 years ago would find familiar scenes: these 17 photos show how those living in New York City between 1900 and 1915 shopped and stocked up for the holiday season. Despite the pervasiveness of online shopping in modern times, New Yorkers still crowd sidewalks and public places, and do their share of in-person shopping before the holidays. Special, temporary “holiday markets” have become increasingly popular, despite the great improvements made to online shopping in recent years. While those photos from the previous century seem to show that commercialism wasn’t as rampant as it is today, the late 19th century saw the trappings we now associate with Christmas start to spread to all levels of society, although with less thoroughness than in our times. There were some cultural differences, though. Apparently, Christmas postcards were big.

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