Mystery Photo

Mystery Photos! Can you identify the locations in these vintage photographs?

Listeners and readers sometimes send us old photographs, looking for help in identifying locations and places. Here are a few recent images that were sent in to us this summer.

Do any of these places look familiar? Are they in the New York City area? Can you help solve these photographic mysteries? 

If you have any theories, please leave your thoughts in the comments section below or you may email me at and I will share your ideas in this post. We hope to make this a recurring feature on our website. If you have any photographs that you would like help identifying, please send them over and we’ll post them in future installments.


From David R.: “I have a mystery that you may be able to solve for me.  Is this a photo of New York?  If it is, where in New York is, or was, it?” A possible clue: “The kids in the photo are my two uncles and my mother, in roughly 1923. The family left Scotland that year and paused in the Bronx, near Van Cortlandt Park, before settling in Elmhurst, Queens.”

UPDATE: Mystery solved! From Julianna at the NYC Public Design Commission: “Photo #1 you posted today is a fountain in the Colonial Garden of Van Cortlandt Park. It was submitted to and originally rejected (then approved with the beaver design!) by the Design Commission in 1914. It was donated to the City by the Colonial Dames of New York City (Mrs. Frederick F. Thompson, to be exact) and design by Allen & Collens Architects.

The panels around the base of the fountain were meant to represent the different colonies and the beaver atop was, I assume, meant to represent New York State. The fountain was so soft and damaged by 1964 it was approved for removal by the Design Commission.”


From Julie D: “I recently acquired this photo and it looks to me like these might be Italian immigrants. I’m trying to find out which church this might be.  Would love to be able to identify people in the picture, or who the funeral was for but I’m sure that’s highly unlikely.  Do you happen to recognize the church as one of New York’s / Little Italy’s?”


From Andrew L: “I came across a series of photos of some of my family posing in front of some sort of fountain. I’m guessing it’s somewhere in New York (they lived in Brooklyn at the time, so that would be my guess). The pictures were taken in August 1946.”

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