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[Photos] Black-and-White Shots of Hanoi Street Scenes From 1940

For thousands of years, streets have served a multitude of purposes.

While originally designed to facilitate the basic movement of people and goods upon the advent of wheeled transportation, roads have evolved to serve diverse purposes in busy cities. Nowhere is this more evident than in Vietnam. Sure, people use them to get from place to place, often ferrying products or materials; but they also serve as areas to sell food and gather for coffee with friends and a means for companies to advertise their latest products. 

A streetcar on Hang Dao Street.

These photos taken in Hanoi in 1940 by American photographer Harrison Forman may feature people traveling on roads in different attire compared to today, while rickshaws and streetcars stand in for motorbikes and buses, and the commercial signs announce products that no longer exist, but their place in the city remains little changed. They may have been renamed in the years since, but their spirit remains the same. 

Have a look at the black-and-white avenues below:

Hang Gai and Hang Dao intersection.

Ads line Cau Go Street.

Streetcar tracks down Hang Dao Street.

Pho Hang Bac.

The China Cinema, now Golden Bell Theater on Hang Bac Street.

Folks gather on the side of Hoan Kiem Lake.

Multilingual street signs.

Hang Trong Street near the lake.

A flower stand beside the lake.

The road circling the lake.

The entrance of what was Dau Cau Station and today is Long Bien Station.

A bomb shelter under construction.

A bomb shelter near Cau Chay wharf.

Gasoline barrels in transport. 

The entrance to Long Bien Bridge.

Signs indicating distances from Long Bien Bridge. 

Women entering the city via the Long Bien Bridge.

Timber collected in the foreground of the Long Bien Bridge.

A gas station near Long Bien Bridge. 

City gas station.

What would become Trang Tien Plaza.

Trang Tien Street.

Hanoi Opera House. 

The intersection of Paul Bert Street and Francis Garnier Avenue (present Dinh Tien Hoang Street).

The intersection before the Hanoi Opera House.

The beginning of Paul Bert Street with Hoan Kiem Lake in the distance. 

The meeting of Paul Bert and Boissière (Nguyen Xi today). 

A blind man plays music on the street.

A new neighborhood in Hanoi.

Lottery tickets for sale.

Hang Khay Street.

Ford Motors headquarters building. 

Child labor at a gas station.

A man cycles past Vien Dong Trading and Maritime Company.

Hang Tre Street. 

[Photos via RedsVN]

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