Women in shorts cause crash, 1937
And the world was never the same.
Burns Bros. Coal Wharf, Brooklyn. Beneath Manhattan Bridge, 1912
New York City Department of Records
I keep thinking about that poor dolphin in the Gowanus Canal, and the contaminated overflow into neighboring streets during Hurricane Sandy. Water quality studies
I know that logistical complexity as much as cost and bureaucratic knots have prevented cleanup, but it’s still incredible to me that the contamination is upward of a century and a half old.
If DUMBO once looked like this…
Amherst, Mass, 1886 (section)
I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time zoomed in on this map, seeing which buildings are still here (many), and what others have been replaced with. Emily Dickinson’s house (middle right, above the “Main” on Main Street), looks much the same from the outside, as do the commercial blocks around the town green, and the few buildings at UMass’s predecessor agricultural college in the far upper right.
Today I was thinking about the smog in Beijing as I was out running in the cold that smelled intermittently of diesel but mostly of cold, cleanly, and already had the feel of tomorrow’s forecast snow. I thought about the factories toward the bottom of this drawing, 0.2 miles from the Dickinson house, H.D. Fearing & Co, Straw Goods Manufacturing, by the map legend, and The Hills Company, also Straw Goods Manufacturing. How emphatically the smoke is drawn. The stack must have been the tallest structure in town, though it is—was—on relatively low ground. Of both factories, only a small outbuilding remains, at the back of a Chevrolet dealership. L.E. Dickinson had a factory, too, a planing mill whose site, if the map is accurate, is now occupied by a school bus parking lot.
Lower Manhattan 1880-1932
I had some fun lining up the sequence Dan posted earlier…
Manhattan’s skyline, 1890 to 1932.
This amazing series of photos was featured in TIME Magazine’s LIFE Aug 31, 1942 issue, “New York’s Skyline Sits for a Long Portrait.” The photos come from two amateurs of the Pierrepont family: John Jay Pierrepont, “a wealthy New Yorker”, was inspired from his Brooklyn rooftop view and took hundreds of photos from the vantage point until his death in 1923. His great-nephew, Abbot Low Moffat, continued the tradition until the Pierrepont home was bought by the city of New York to turn into a public park.
When Pierrepont took the first photos in 1890, church steeples and ship masts are the tallest structures, with the most recognizable landmark being Trinity Church on lower Broadway. By 1930, the lower Manhattan skyline was dominated by towers after the building boom.
Read the original article at Google Archives.
I love the change in scale between ‘28 and ‘32.
(Baz Luhrmann, take note—Gatsby was summer of ‘22…)
Before The New York Times moved to 42nd Street and Broadway in 1904, the triangular plot was occupied by the Pabst Hotel, whose guests had an unobstructed view north to the spot at 44th Street where Broadway crosses Seventh Avenue.
Manhattan from New York Harbor since the turn of the last century:
Iwan Baan’s post-Hurricane Sandy New York magazine cover got me curious what the same view would show through the decades. The late ’20s must have been one enormous cacophony of rivets and stone-hauling (attn Baz Luhrmann…).
42nd Street and Madison Avenue, 1916-20
New York City Department of Records
Filed as “Police Department Evidence”…
The photo is undated, but the smaller boats alongside match those in a view over Battery Park, a few blocks south, captioned September 13, 1907: Lusitania’s first arrival in New York.
The newest, biggest, soon to be fastest liner, seen from the not yet complete but soon to be (briefly) tallest building in the world, which remains the tallest peacefully demolished, and was the tallest demolished for any reason until the fall of the twin towers. Sixty-odd years after, they would have been rising in the foreground.
In her 2008 essay, “Two Paths for the Novel,” Zadie Smith, commenting on the notion of a September 11 Novel, asks drily, “Were there calls, in 1915, for the Lusitania novel?”
a “meditation” on identities both personal and national, immigrant relations, terror, anxiety, the attack of futility on the human consciousness and the defense against same: meaning.
There weren’t, that I know of; nor any such novels. Nor any live action major motion pictures (Winsor McCay made a notable animated propaganda account in 1918). But the stories of the survivors’ lives have been collected, wonderfully thoroughly, by Jim Kalafus & Michael Poirier, and individually and collectively they make mesmerizing reading.
But the morning of her first arrival, the photographers were out for news, the simple excitement of a new, beautiful thing:
hundreds of thousands of people gathered on the bank of the River Hudson from Battery Park to pier 56. All New York’s police had been called out to control the crowd. 100 horse drawn cabs had been queuing from the start of the day ready to take away passengers.