Over 870,000 photos from an archive that exceeds 2.2 million images have been scanned and made available online, for the first time giving a global audience a view of a rich collection that documents life in New York City. 

The city Department of Records officially announced the debut of the photo database today.

Culled from the Municipal Archives collection going back to the mid-1800s, the photographs feature all manner of city oversight – from stately ports and bridges to grisly gangland killings.

The project was four years in the making, part of the department’s mission to make city records accessible to everyone.