It Looked Unfamiliar

Previous posts in this series have focussed on comic-book artists using real-life, often anonymous, backgrounds in New York for their work. This one is a bit different: everyone recognizes the statue in the drawing, but the title is a bit off. (This is from an Avengers comic; that’s Black Panther and Black Bolt facing away …

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Far Away, Close Up

One of the advantages of a childhood in Flushing is seeing the remnants of the two World’s Fairs. The New York City Building (constructed for the 1939-1940 Fair and reused for the 1964-1965 Fair) housed an ice rink where I skated often. It also has hosted, since the second Fair, a 1:1200 scale model of …

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Both Arty and Practical

Irving Underhill‘s 1931 picture of the Empire State Building is worth a look solely as a formal composition. In my opinion, that’s as good a photo as you’ll see of the building, even if it’s not very informative. The original is (depending on how you crop the processing marks at the edges) about 2700 x …

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Presumably Not Commentary On The Neighbors

In November, I pointed out that, for some unknown reason, one of the social-distancing stickers at the Brooklyn Bridge subway station had horseshoes rather than human shoes. Last week, I found a goat’s footprints at 96th Street and Central Park West. Is the MTA sending bizarre messages, or am I missing a joke? On the …

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Art and Artifice

The picture above, once of Irving Underhill’s more self-consciously arty photos of a building, shows the Woolworth building behind the Brooklyn Bridge in 1921. For better or worse you can’t get a view like that today because of the presence of so many other buildings over 700 feet tall in lower Manhattan. I like the …

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