Don Friedman

How Much From A Little Information?

Above, a photo of a rainy day on the west side. The shack on the left is a restaurant’s outdoor seating, still hanging in three years after Covid made this idea possible. I took the picture because of the building ghost past the parking lot. I was curious to see how much I could tell …

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A Round Trip and Unpleasant Etymology

That’s the Knickerbocker Hotel on 42nd Street, in a maybe 1910 postcard from the Detroit Publishing Company. The building had exterior and interior designs by several famous architects and is, unsurprisingly, a designated landmark. It lasted less than twenty years as a hotel when first built, then was used as an office building for 90 …

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Learning The Hard Way

That beauty in the photo is the 1883 Smithfield Street Bridge over the Monongahela River in Pittsburgh. The crenelated steel castle in the foreground is the end portal for the bridge; the actual bridge structure is a set of lenticular trusses visible above and the left of that green streetcar. The designer was Gustav Lindenthal, …

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Weird and Heavily Travelled

I took the 42nd Street shuttle last week for the first time in years. I don’t consciously avoid that train but I tend to try to arrange my subway trips in Manhattan so that I don’t have to transfer, even if that means walking a bit. To clarify: the vast majority of my subways trips …

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Always Obscure and Now Long Gone

There are times I feel like Berenice Abbott was trying to make it hard to figure out some of the photos from her “Changing New York” project. The 1936 picture above is titled “Manhattan Skyline: I, South Street and Jones Lane”. There are a number of famous skyscrapers in the photo, including my downtown favorite …

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