NEW YORK: A thoughtful musician strums his guitar. Mediadrumimages/TopFoto/Retronaut

By Alex Jones


UNEARTHED vintage shots of Central Park sixty years ago prove that people watching has always been a popular pastime.

NEW YORK: Two child playfight, watched by a nervous crowd. Mediadrumimages/TopFoto/Retronaut

A smiling bespectacled man with a cat on his shoulder, children engaging in a bit of rough and tumble, and a smartly dressed office worker who has clearly been burning the candle at both ends.

NEW YORK: A young man looks a little uncomfortable as he’s watched from close quarters. Mediadrumimages/TopFoto/Retronaut

These are the subjects of just some of the nostalgia-inducing pics which were snapped in 1959 and were recently uncovered in the TopFoto photographic archive in Edenbridge, Kent, as part of their ongoing conservation and digitisation programme.

NEW YORK: Why carry a parrot on your shoulder when a cat will do just as well? Mediadrumimages/TopFoto/Retronaut

The charming photos capture the weird and often wonderful events which took place in the famous New York park on a typical lunchtime. Some of the remarkable images are of their time whilst others feature scenes that would be instantly recognisable to anyone who’s popped out to the park on their lunch break.

NEW YORK: Life in the Rat Race can be exhausting. This women catches 40 winks. Mediadrumimages/TopFoto/Retronaut

At the time these seldom seen photos were taken, Central Park was enjoying its 100th birthday. It was built by 20,000 workers – mainly immigrants – in the late 1850s and involved shifting 3 million cubic yards of soil and planting more than 270,000 trees and shrubs. It was the first landscaped public park in the United States and provided a much-needed greenspace in the middle a rapidly expanding New York City.