For a period of ten years (1935-1945), the Farm Security Administration-Office of War Information (FSA-OWI) hired photographers to document American life, particularly in areas hit the hardest by the Depression, and to show the effects of the government’s relief programs. The result was some of the most iconic images of the 20th-century, many taken by photographers like Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, and Gordon Parks.
Stored at the Library of Congress, 170,000 of these images have recently been digitized by a group at Yale University and uploaded to Photogrammar, an archive site that allows for easy searching and viewing. It also includes an interactive map that shows the location of roughly 90,000 images.
These are just a sampling of some of the images I found when I looked up New York City.
"Children playing in the gutter on 139th Street just east of St. Anne's Avenue, Bronx, New York" Russell Lee (1936)
"Strike pickets, New York, New York" Arthur Rothstein (1937)
"42nd Street and Madison Avenue, Street hawker selling Consumer's Bureau Guide, New York City"
Dorothea Lange (1939)
"Grand Central Terminal, New York City" John Collier (1941)
"New York, New York. Dancing and music on Mott Street, at a flag raising ceremony in honor of neighborhood boys in the United States Army" Marjory Collins (1942)
"New York, New York. Drinking fountain in Central Park" Marjory Collins (1942)
I could spend hours looking through these. To check out Photogrammar, visit here.