Photo Archive

The Parks Photo Archive is a repository of more than 200,000 images created by the Parks Department from 1856 to the present. The majority of the photographs were taken after 1933, and the collection is especially strong in representing the era when Robert Moses was Parks Commissioner (1934–1960).

The Parks Photo Archive contains comprehensive images of parks acquisition, development and use, including design and construction improvements, special events, significant features, general park activities, and aerial views. The Archive additionally includes a small collection of color motion picture footage from the 1930s and 1940s.


Researchers wishing to use the collection should fill out the Submission Form or send specific requests by mail or fax to arrange for an appointment.

Processing and Rights Fees (PDF, 31 kB) are applied to help preserve the collection materials. We require pre–payment by checks, money orders, or credit card. (Make your check payable to City of New York/ Parks & Recreation.) Turnaround time for photo orders is approximately three to four weeks.

Please note that the Archive reserves the right to refuse any request and to impose such conditions that are in the best interest of the collection. Prices are subject to change and are updated periodically. Please confirm prices with the Photo Archivist before placing an order.

Copyright Notice and Reproduction Procedure

The material within the Parks Photo Archive is the property of the City of New York/Parks and Recreation (“Parks”). As such, Parks has exclusive rights to publicly display, reproduce, or sell copies of the material. Permission to publish, reprint, broadcast, or re–duplicate in any way reproductions made from original material of the Parks Photo Archive is subject to the payment of appropriate fees (PDF, 31 kB) and the Visual Work Release.

Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States for The Copyright Law of the United States (17 U.S.C. § 101 et seq.) protects original works of authorship" including architectural, cartographic, pictorial, graphic, sculptural, and audiovisual creations, and regulates the photocopying or other reproduction of copyrighted material. The Copyright Law permits limited “fair use” of copyrighted material, which includes use for purposes such as private study, scholarship and research. Any use beyond the permissible “fair use” without completion of the Visual Work Release and payment of the relevant fee, may be liable for copyright infringement and subject to the applicable penalties under federal copyright law.

For assistance, please contact:

Parks Photo Archivist
Contact the Archivist  
The Olmsted Center, Room 26
Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Flushing, NY 11368
Tel: (718) 760–6745; Fax: (718) 760–6638

Additional Resources:

For contemporary images (1986 – present):
Call the Parks Press Office at (212) 360–1311.

For maps, plans or renderings:
Call the Parks Map Division/Olmsted Center at (718) 760–6798.

For historical information:
Call Art & Antiquities at (212) 360–3410.

To see more:
Illustrated Historical Features
Online Exhibitions from the Arsenal Gallery

Was this information helpful?