Bob Dylan, Central Park
Here’s photographer and artist Nick Sulivan holding up a photo of legendary American singer-songwriter Bob Dylan ambling along the tree-lined sidewalk on Fifth Avenue to the west of New York City’s Central Park. As you can see, his hair is “blowin’ in the wind” as he takes “shelter from the storm before a “hurricane.”
Bob famously sang, “The times, they are a-changin'” but Central Park looks pretty much the same now as it did when photographer Richard Avedon snapped him in 1965 walking along “just like a rolling stone…”
The Rolling Stones, London
Here’s The Rolling Stones wandering through Covent Garden in London in 1964. They’re on their way to play a gig at the Donmar Warehouse at the heart of the famous Seven Dials, a famous intersection where seven roads intersect.
In the 60 years since Terry O’Neill took this photo, the only changes are some new trees and some scaffolding. But, the Donmar Warehouse has changed multiple times. Before The Beatles and The Stones played there, it used to be a banana-ripening warehouse.
Cool Cats, New York
This photograph of two cool cats was taken on the corner of New York’s 42nd and Madison in 1961. The photographer was American street photographer Garry Winogrand, who was famous for portraying everyday life and mid-20th-century social issues. These two members of the beat generation stand out from the rat race like time travelers!
While you wouldn’t wear an evening dress and pearls to go shopping nowadays — because you’d likely get robbed — the midtown Manhattan buildings haven’t changed at all.
Chinatown, New York
The monochrome picture in this overlay was taken in 1900. It shows Chinese men and a woman delivering a tray of tea, standing on the corner of Pell and Doyes Streets in New York’s bustling Chinatown.
In case you don’t know the Big Apple, Pell Street is a stone’s throw away from Brooklyn Bridge. Nowadays, Chinatown is still full of restaurants, tea shops, and diners selling delicious Dim Sum. A hair salon called Kelly’s sits underneath the red-bricked building.
Le Tabou, Paris
This photo from the late 1940s shows a gang of trendy existentialists philosophizing whether a checkered car was a good purchase. Le Tabou was a late-license cellar club located at 33 Rue Dauphine in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, Paris. The club opened in April 1947 and soon became a hangout for writers and deep thinkers like Jean-Paul Sartre and Albert Camus.
Poets like Tousky, Camille Bryen, and de Beaumont, and artists like Desseau and Wols also flocked there in checkered clown cars. Today, Le Tabou is called Cafe Laurent and is part of Hôtel d’Aubusson.
14th Street, Washington D.C.
Welcome to H.D. Leary Jr.’s Hudson Motor Car Company showroom. Find us at 1317½ 14th Street, Washington D.C., between The Star Laundry and Aunt Bessie’s Royal Victorian Waffle Stop. We sell the finest automobiles in the land.
Test drive the new 1910 Hudson Model 20 Roadster. The top speed is 10 mph and recommended retail price is 99 cents. Nowadays, the site of H.D. Leary Jr.’s car showroom sits next door to a men’s LGBTQ+ sauna.
An American Girl in Italy
This famous photo was taken by American photographer and photojournalist Ruth Orkin. She took the iconic snap outside Caffe Gilli on Via Roma in Florence, Italy. The picture is called An American Girl in Italy and shows a young woman from the USA walking center frame while Italian men of all ages ogle at her.
As you can see, Via Roma has barely changed at all. In fact, it’s not changed much since the city’s oldest café, Caffe Gilli, opened in 1733 in Medici-era Florence.
Liz Taylor and Richard Burton, Florence
The paparazzi are a pain. Still, one paparazzo perfectly captured Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton outside The Excelsior Hotel on Lungarno Amerigo Vespucci in Florence. Taken in the 1960s, the famous pair of actors had a legendary rollercoaster relationship, marrying and divorcing twice!
Today, the hotel has changed its name to the Westin Excelsior. The hotel and church Chiesa di San Salvatore in Ognissanti look exactly the same.
The Beatles, London
Here’s a great photo of John, Paul, George, and Ringo — aka The Fab Four — in Rupert Court, London. While Carnaby Street was the center of the Swinging Sixties, London’s Soho district was seedier, full of adult bookstores and clubs.
Nowadays, the area’s been gentrified, but Edgar Wright’s One Night in Soho shows the seedy side alleys are still haunted by a cool 1960s vibe… amongst all the Starbucks and Pret A Manger sandwich shops!
Beauty Pageant, Washington D.C.
Check out this bevy of beauties hanging out after winning a beauty pageant at Union Station, Washington D.C. Left to right, the ladies are Ethel Charles — who was crowned Miss Atlantic City — and Miss Philadelphia’s Nellie Orr.
On the right is Margaret Gorman, who was not only Miss Washington, D.C. — but also the winner of the 1921 Inter-City Beauty Contest and the first Miss America. As for you, well, you’ve won second prize in a beauty contest! Collect $10.
Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn, Rome
This overlay shows Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn walking down the Spanish Steps in Rome on their Roman Holiday. But, one guy who’s not enjoying his Roman Holiday is the guy in the blue. At the top, standing in the Piazza Trinità dei Monti, you can see that the Trinità dei Monti church is still standing.
But, the weather isn’t very good. Maybe that’s why Mr. Blue looks so grumpy. Still, it could have been worse. In July 2023, Rome recorded its hottest-ever day of 107 °F.
Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.
Here, photographer Jason Powell is standing under the statue of Abe, looking along the National Mall. The Neoclassical Lincoln Memorial opened in 1922 and drew huge crowds. But, not as big as the March on Washington on August 28th, 1963.
On that date, a quarter of a million people marched to hear Martin Luther King Jr. make his famous “I Have a Dream” speech in which he called for an end to racism. 50 years later, Captain America would run past Falcon on this spot, saying, “On your left.”
Muhammad Ali, London
While that might look like the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, it’s actually the much smaller Marble Arch in London. And that fine fellow is Muhammad Ali, about to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee… unless he was preparing to fight English boxer Henry Cooper, who knocked him down.
Today, the Marble Arch still sits at the west end of Oxford Street, near the northeast corner of Hyde Park at the intersection with the famous Park Lane. But, you can’t go jogging there now without getting hit by a red double-decker bus!
Pablo Picasso, Paris
This great photo shows Spanish artist Pablo Picasso standing on Rue Ravignan in the Montmartre section of Paris in 1905. Picasso moved to the French capital the previous year and settled in the nearby artist quarter Bateau-Lavoir or “Washhouse Boat” in the 18th Arrondissement.
He definitely would have gone to see high-kicking cancan-dancing showgirls at the nearby Moulin Rouge. The angle of the overlay is a bit off-kilter, but the buildings and trees are the same now as they were 120 years ago.
This photo from 1920 shows a man proudly showing off his Sayers Six automobile in front of the Loudoun County Courthouse in Leesburg, Virginia. The hand that’s holding the black-and-white photo up against the backdrop belongs to photographer Jason Powell.
He tends to find old-timey images in the Library of Congress, then scours the length and breadth of the country, looking for the exact spot they were taken. Next, Jason spends ages lining them up for the perfect then-and-now photo for a glimpse into the past. It’s almost like seeing ghosts!
Queen Street, Jamaica
This excellent old-timey color photo comes from Queen Street in Jamaica. Though color film was available at the time, the photo looks like it’s simply been colorized. It was taken in 1930 and shows two fellas resting on their bicycles, probably taking a breather from the stifling Caribbean heat.
While the buildings look much the same, the main thing that’s changed is the mode of transport. Back then, everyone got around on bikes, while today, they use cars and minivans. The Gibbons Company building is still there… presumably still selling gibbons.
Cary Grant, Claridge’s Hotel, London
This great photo shows Hollywood actor Cary Grant leaving the posh Claridge’s Hotel in London’s Mayfair in 1946. That year, he appeared in Alfred Hitchcock’s Notorious. Grant was no stranger to the other side of the pond. He was born Archibald Leach in Horfield, Bristol in 1904.
If you’ve heard the name before, John Cleese’s character was named Archie Leach in A Fish Called Wanda. Today, Claridge’s looks much the same and is just as posh. It still accommodates famous Hollywood stars, and Gordon Ramsey used to have a restaurant there.
Another of Jason Powell’s shots is the William Paca House and Garden in Annapolis, Maryland. The building is an 18th-century Georgian mansion built between 1763 and 1765. William Paca was a three-term Governor of Maryland and a Founding Father who signed the Declaration of Independence.
If you want to know where he signed it, the answer is… at the bottom. 155 years after he built the house, this automobile parked outside in 1920. Then, 100 years later, Jason showed us how tiny old cars used to be!
Les Enfants de la Place Hébert, Paris
This photo was taken in 1959 by Robert Doisneau and is called “Les Enfants de la Place Hébert,” which translates to The Kids of Herbet Place.” These kids are so hip they look like they were just about to star in the French New Wave films of Jean-Luc Godard.
Is that a French James Dean? La Piscine restaurant in the background is still there, although it’s been gentrified. Place Hébert and the whole of Paris’ 18th Arrondissement is much more upmarket nowadays.
Jacques Prévert, Val-de-Grâce, Paris
Here’s another of Robert Doisneau’s photos. Taken in 1955, it shows French poet and screenwriter Jacques Prévert. He wrote the script for Les Enfants du Paradis, which Marlon Brando called “maybe the best movie ever made.”
Jacques and his faithful dog Ergé are just chilling on the corner of Rue Lhomond when they are interrupted by a nun hurrying passed them on her way to or from the nearby Couvent des Spiritains in the Val-de-Grâce area of Paris. The walls look like they haven’t been painted since 1955!
Mary E. Surratt Boarding House, Washington
The original photograph is of the Mary E. Surratt Boarding House, 604 H Street N.W. in Washington, D.C. So, what’s so special about this rather plain three-and-one-half-story building? Well, Mary E. Surratt ran it as a boardinghouse between September 1864 and April 1865.
The famous address is where she, John Wilkes Booth, David Herold, and their co-conspirators met to plot to assassinate President Abraham Lincoln. Fast forward around 160 years, and nowadays, it’s a Chinese restaurant called the Wok n Roll Restaurant. No, really!
Fords Theater, Washington D.C.
This street in Washington D.C. looked rather drab back in the day when early photographer Matthew Brady snapped it in the 1870s. And it looks just as monochrome and dull today. But if you know your history, you’ll know that Ford’s Theater holds a very auspicious place in American history.
It was the venue where John Wilkes Booth took the life of President Abraham Lincoln on April 14th, 1865. Note the tour bus, which has pulled over to see the famous site.
Fashion Shoot, Rome
This photo comes from a 1957 fashion shoot in Rome, Italy. The fashion model has just kicked a ball to a street kid outside the church of St Simeon the Prophet in Piazza Lancellotti, in the then-trendy Tor Di Nona district. We don’t know who the model is, but the photographer was Paolo di Paolo.
The photo was rediscovered and published in Italy’s Il Mundo magazine. Sadly, the church of St Simeon the Prophet is now abandoned. Instead of models playing soccer with the neighborhood kids, the piazza has become a makeshift car park.
F Street NW, Washington, D.C.
This photo was taken in 1920 on the corner of F. Street NW, Washington. It’s just a few hundred yards from The White House behind the U.S. Treasury Building. It’s now home to the Spy City Cafe, next door to the International Spy Museum.
If you think F. Street is an unimaginative name, Porter’s Lake in Canada has This Street, That Street, and The Other Street!
Samuel Beckett, Genoa, Italy
This is Irish poet, novelist, playwright, and theater director Samuel Beckett looking cool and minding his own business. He’s most likely hanging out on the street, just Waiting for Godot. He was snapped in 1971 by Italian photographer Lucio Berzioli on Santa Margherita Ligure, a commune near Genoa in Northern Italy.
Not only is Beckett toying with his designer sunglasses, but he also has a Gucci bag slung over his shoulder. Who knew those 20th Century Irish poets could be cool?
U.S. Capitol, Washington D.C.
These boys are called Newsies. They sold newspapers in and around the Capitol. Amazingly, we know who the boys are thanks to original photographer Lewis Wickes Hine. They are eight-year-old Tony Passaro of 124 Schottes Alley N.E, his nine-year-old neighbor Joseph Mase 122 Schottes Alley N.E, and 11-year-old Joseph Passaro.
Then there’s 10-year-old Joseph Tucci of 411½ 5th Sreet, N.E. And finally, there’s 12-year-old Jack Giovanazzi, of 228 Schottes Alley, who “is in ungraded school for incorrigibility.”
Easter Egg Roll, US Capitol
This gorgeous black and white photo was taken in 1924. It shows the annual Easter Egg Roll at the U.S. Capitol Building. All the kids look to be having a brilliant time playing in the spring sun, except for the creepy ghost girl in the foreground.
They say a week is a long time in politics, but in the intervening 100 years, not much has changed at The Capitol. The hill is less hilly, and there are some new bushes — but apart from that, it’s business as usual.
David Bowie, London
While The Eagles sang about “standin’ on a coroner in Winslow, Arizona” here’s English musician Davy Jones standing on the corner of Manchester Square just north of London’s Oxford Street. He was reading the newspaper in 1965.
Davy Jones, you say? Isn’t that David Bowie? Well, yes, but in 1965, he still used his real name, Davy Jones. He changed it to David Bowie the following year to avoid being confused with Davy Jones, the lead singer of The Monkees.
Les Minets, Paris
These guys are known as Les Minets. Now, Minets are a French version of Mods, and these chaps were hanging about outside a pharmacy on Boulevard Saint-Germain in Paris in 1966. The boulevard lies between the Latin Quarter and the River Seine.
The stores and the building in the background have barely changed, and we bet you could find the pharmacy using just the old black-and-white photo. Modern-day Minets probably can’t zip along Boulevard Saint-Germain on their Vespas as the traffic flow has definitely changed.
Park Avenue, New York
Two blocks over from Fifth Avenue, Park Avenue also runs north-south parallel to Central Park. That’s probably where they got the name from! This 1959 photo shows a man exiting one of those old-school yellow taxi cabs.
With his trilby hat and dapper suit, you can bet he’s a Mad Men-style advertising exec on his way to work. The cars have smaller spoilers, the fashion might have changed, and Ubers might have replaced yellow cabs — but that building is still there.
16th Street NW, Washington D.C.
These wonderful photos of a property on 16th Street N.W., a leafy suburban avenue in Washington D.C., demonstrate how little some things change. You can see from the color photo that the two buildings are the same as when the photo was taken, which we believe was in the 1920s.
The street runs north-south and leads directly to The White House. Maybe that’s where the man in the car was headed on important business with the President.
Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin, Paris
This overlay shows French singer-songwriter Serge Gainsbourg and his lover English actress Jane Birkin on Rue Royale, Paris in the late 1960s. If you don’t think you know them, you most definitely do. They recorded the song `’Je T’aime… Moi Non Plus”, which is still the epitome of French ’60s chic.
The only thing that’s changed in the photos is the graffiti on the street light, and Jane swapped her shopping basket for a Hermes Birkin bag. Serge passed away in 1991, and Jane passed away in July 2023.
The White House, Washington D.C.
This important historical photo shows women demonstrating for the right to vote outside The White House in February 1917. Thankfully, the banner asking, “Mr. President, how long must women wait for liberty?” was answered within two years.
On June 4th, 1919, Congress finally approved the Woman’s Suffrage Amendment and sent it to the states for ratification. On August 18th, 1920, the 19th Amendment granted women the right to vote. It was the end of a long, hard-fought, and successful battle for Suffragettes.
The Statue of Liberty, Paris
In 1886, the French people gave the American people The Statue of Liberty as a show of their fraternity. French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi designed her, and her metal framework was built by Gustave Eiffel, who made the Eiffel Tower.
The statue was assembled in France and shipped across the Atlantic. This is what she looked like when she was constructed at the Gaget, Gauthier & Co. workshop. The Parisien skyline looks a little lost without Lady Liberty!
The Eiffel Tower, Paris
One Paris landmark from the same era that still dominates the French capital’s skyline is Mr. Gustave Eiffel’s magnificent tower. While the impressive buildings are still there, the most obvious difference today is that the grass has been replaced with concrete.
While concrete is less appealing to the eye, it makes sense because you can’t exactly have seven million tourists a year trampling over your lawn on their way to visit every single tourist trap.
In November 1963, an exciting new science fiction T.V. series called Doctor Who debuted on the BBC. A month later, The Doctor first met his deadly enemies, The Daleks, in an episode entitled “The Dead Planet”. Doctor Who and The Daleks have gone down in pop-culture history.
This photo of Daleks surrounding a woman in an iconic British telephone booth was taken at the back of Wyndham’s Theatre in 1965. While you wouldn’t recognize London for all her new skyscrapers, St. Martin’s Court near the National Portrait Gallery hasn’t changed.
Simon and Garfunkel, 53rd Street Station
Here’s Simon and Garfunkel at Brooklyn’s 53rd Street Station. The photo was taken in 1964, when they released their debut studio album Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M., although we can’t say that’s the exact time the photo was taken.
They weren’t enjoying “the sound of silence” as a metro train hurtled by, nor were they “homeward bound” as they weren’t “sittin’ in the railway station, got a ticket to my destination…” The New York subway system is the same today but with bigger rats carrying bigger pizza slices.
Place Dauphine, Paris
This exquisite photo was taken by French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson in 1953. He was one of the first street photographers to take candid pictures of members of the public going about their day-to-day business.
This example shows two ladies and their dog in Place Dauphine, a public square near the western end of the Île de la Cité in the First Arrondissement of Paris. Check out the dude in white to see how much fashion and Parisien society have changed in the last 70 years. The street is still recognizable, though.
Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C.
This photo was taken in 1920. The rather imposing building on the left is one of the best-looking buildings in the capital, the Willard InterContinental Hotel. Sitting at 1401 Pennsylvania Avenue, it’s often called the “Residence of Presidents.” Unfortunately, everything but The Willard was bulldozed.
The building on the right of the black-and-white photo was the original Washington Post building, the National Radio School, the two restaurants, and even the Duplicating Office made way for that ugly-looking modernist Marriott Hotel.
Colette, Palais Royal, Paris
While this lady might look like a mad cat lady feeding strays, she is, in fact, Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette. She was one of France’s most beloved authors and was so famous that — like Madonna or Beyoncé — she was known just as Colette. Born in 1873, she was also an actress, a journalist, and a mime. Because… France!
She loved cats so much that she even wrote a novella called La Chatte (1933) about a love triangle between a woman, her husband, and his cat, Saha. Here she is with another cat at the Palais Royal, Paris.
St. Marks Place, New York
This photo shows St. Mark’s Place in Manhattan. In 1981, the area was home to many punks, and that guy on the steps in the hat is Mick Jagger. The Rolling Stones recorded their “Waiting for a Friend” video outside this building. We think the other guy is Ronnie Wood.
But, that’s not its only claim to fame — the building also appears on the cover of Led Zeppelin’s 1975 album Physical Graffiti. While most of St Mark’s physical graffiti has gone, it’s still known as one of America’s coolest streets.
The Trevi Fountain, Rome
This is a still from Federico Fellini’s 1960 masterpiece, La Dolce Vita. Actors Marcello Mastroianni and Anita Ekberg are certainly living the sweet life as they frolic in Rome’s famous Trevi Fountain. Luckily, modern life doesn’t change all architecture into monstrous carbuncles, and the Fontana di Trevi looks as beautiful today as when it was completed in 1782.
Although, it was quieter back then. Now, 10.5 million people visit the Trevi Fountain every year. That’s 1,200 people every hour — so don’t expect a good selfie spot!
Jersey Street, New York
The good old days. A gentler time when you could leave your front door open, and kids could play on the streets past dark. This young rascal is playing stickball on Jersey Street in Little Italy, New York, circa 1955. But judging by Robert De Niro’s 1993 directorial debut A Bronx Tale, back then, the Mafia enforced protection rackets from every bodega and ice cream parlor.
Nowadays, the cobbled streets are gone, and the trendy area is known as Nolita because it lies between SoHo, NoHo, the Lower East Side, Little Italy, and Chinatown.
Via Monte Napoleone, Milan, Italy
This joyous photograph comes from Via Monte Napoleone in Milan, Italy. The street can be traced back to the Roman city walls erected by Emperor Maximian, who was Emperor between 286 AD to 305 AD.
Today, the road is famous as Europe’s most expensive shopping street. But, back when this photo was taken in 1961, it was a different world. Who wants to guess what’s in this funny little man’s box? Could he be a mustachioed Milanese milliner delivering a hat to a famous fashionista?
Main Street, Annapolis
While big cities’ skylines constantly change and high-rise skyscrapers replace old brownstones, many of America’s small towns have barely changed. This 1964 picture of Main Street, Annapolis, Maryland, shows the same buildings still standing.
Nowadays, the store on the left is the organic restaurant Preserve, which specializes in pickled and fermented produce. The tall building in the middle is a ladies’ clothes store called Tyler Boe, and Stadiger Shoes is a baby-blue fronted clothes shop called Hatley Boutique.