Anthropomorphizing In Fashion Terms

The title of Berenice Abbott’s 1935 photo above, “Broadway near Broom Street”, is slightly misleading. We’re looking west on Broome Street to Broadway and beyond. Given the date, this must have been one of her earliest photos in the “Changing New York” project. The center of the photo, with regard to both print geometry and …

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Another Rooftop, Another View

In 1986, while killing time, I built a prefab paper-craft model of the Chrysler Building. It’s about three feet tall and has followed me around every since, moving from apartment to apartment. On those occasions when someone has asked, I explain that it’s my household god and they are welcome to conduct a ritual sacrifice …

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Not So Long Ago

Another picture from the state archives: an aerial view of Manhattan, looking south, from July 6, 1951. The 50s were arguably the peak of air pollution in New York, as environmental controls hadn’t been established yet and coal was still being used rather than oil for building boilers. The big building-free area is, of course, …

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A Little of This, a Little of That

This picture from Berenice Abbott’s Changing New York Project, “El, Sixth Avenue Line, 28th Street Station” doesn’t have any single big topic, but it has a bunch of small ones, all a little interesting. The el began in 1878 as a railroad pulled by coal-burning steam locomotives. It was converted to electric service in 1903 …

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It Looked Familiar: Kafkaesque

Above, a statue in Gotham Harbor, with Batman sitting on the scales. In Amerika, Franz Kafka’s least-read novel, the protagonist emigrates from central Europe to the US. As his ship sails through the harbor into New York, he sees “the Statue of Liberty, which he had been observing for some time, as if in a sudden …

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