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Who Takes 3,000 Photos Of NYC's Doors?

Street View: New York City's Doors: A Special Research Project of NPR History Dept.

A photographic series of New York City's doors, from the Roy Colmer collection at the New York Public library
Roy Colmer/New York Public Library
A photographic series of New York City's doors, from the Roy Colmer collection at the New York Public library
Roy Colmer/New York Public Library

A door is for closing. And for opening.

From the doorkeeper-to-God in Psalms to the wild night outside the door in King Lear to Charlie Rich getting Behind Closed Doors, the door is the ampersand between here & there.

It is the gateway and the getaway.

Often a door is an opening to the future — the doors of Let's Make A Deal! for example, Tiffany, what's behind Door Number Three? And Dante's entryway to Hell: "All Hope Abandon, Ye Who Enter Here."

But while clicking through the New York Public Library's online exhibit Doors, NYC –- which includes more than 3,000 photos of the city's doorways taken by Roy Colmer in the mid-1970s –- we couldn't help but think of those doors as portals to the past.

And of Colmer's camera as still another kind of door that allows our imaginations to step into an ever-receding past.

So NPR History Dept. asked NPR multimedia producer extraordinaire Claire O'Neill to delve into these doors and she returned with

Street View: New York City's Doors: A Special Research Project of NPR History Dept.


Follow me @NPRHistoryDept; lead me by writing lweeks@npr.org.