The sun came out in NYC. This is the view from the penthouse of the Hudson Hotel.
Will Smith is filming I Am Legend, an action/sci-fi thriller, on the East River near the Brooklyn Bridge. The shoot requires a thousand extras, blackhawk helicopters and cargo tanker. New York City photogs have gone berserk. See lots of photos on flickr via Gowanus Lounge (click to enlarge above pic by BlueJoel).
A blogger recently attempted to photograph every ad in Times Square and post them all in one place. I will say this, the real advertecture has far more impact than the virtual ads (advertual?). The above pic is just a sampling. To see every single ad (give or take a few), click here.
I took this photo from the Roosevelt Island Tram recently (click to enlarge).
The Brooklyn Paper has a piece on the dismantling of the Revere Sugar refinery in Red Hook by developer Joe Sitt, who plans to erect six buildings on the site and isn’t saying whether any of the sugar refinery will be saved (same developer for Coney Island). The refinery, including its iconic dome on Brooklyn’s southern waterfront, closed in 1985 and later suffered a fire. The above photo is taken from a flickr set posted by Soupflowers (via Gowanus Lounge).
Central Park skaters (on concrete, not ice) took advantage of a beautiful afternoon to bust some moves. The sun was like a giant disco ball in the sky. For a large format version of the photo, click here.
Yesterday’s post about plans for the WTC site at ground level (see below), I received this photo and a note from Visual Diaries photog Cary Conover:
Your post about GZ made me reminisce. I even dug up some old scans I made after 9/11. I kind of miss the Austin Tobin Plaza. Not because it was some great example of urban planning/plaza design, but more because it’s where/how I became most familiar with the towers. I was up in the viewing observatory of the south tower only once, but visited the plaza three or four times total before 9/11. I moved here in August of 2000 and it was just a few weeks later that I took what was then, to me, a very long walk (beginning at Stanton/Bowery) toward the WTC. I just set out to walk and walk and walk until I got to the towers, my goal simply being to get there and touch them, to look straight up at them. … I do remember the wind in the plaza. There was a blue tarp that was covering some sort of stage and it was flapping like hell. … This shot shows the north face of the south tower, and that’s WTC 4 over in the distance.
Click the photo to see the whole image.
Bank the Nine has a great story (and an awesome photo) about discovering pool games underneath bodegas on the Lower East Side. Next time you step on a metal cellar door, imagine this scene taking place below your feet.
Underbridge Pictures, a gallery in DUMBO that focuses on architectural photography, recently had a show of Dutch farm houses and agricultural architecture taken in Brooklyn by long-forgotten New York photographer, Clinton Irving Jones (click here for a previous Polis post). As a follow up, Underbridge is now exhibiting photos that Irving Jones took in Prospect Park after an ice storm in 1909. He used a 4×5 camera loaded with glass plate negatives, even though roll film cameras were readily available. Thanks to David Sokosh, owner of Underbridge, the photographer is enjoying a renaissance of sorts since his negatives were discovered near Syracuse and were sold at auction. The buyer put them on eBay, where Sokosh purchased the collection. For more info about the opening reception on Thursday and the show, click here.
A new book was just delivered to my door, and I am ever so grateful to Princeton Architectural Press, so I’m plugging it here big time!
“Life on The Lower East Side” is a book of photographs taken by Rebecca Lepkoff from the 1930s through the 1950s of the lost neighborhood between the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridges, mostly destroyed to make way for the Alfred A. Smith housing project. A native of the LES, she bought her first camera in 1937 and has been shooting ever since. This collection of absolutely wonderful photographs captures a dignified life despite the obvious poverty and crowding in a neighborhood undergoing radical changes. From the Fulton Fish Market to the infamous Third Avenue El (torn down in 1955) to children playing in the streets to the lively “pushcart market” on Hester, the photographs are a treasure-trove not just because of what they depict — a dynamic community of Italians, Irish, Jews, Greeks, Spaniards, Chinese, Puerto Ricans and African Americans — but the beautiful use of light and shadow. The photos show Ms. Lepkoff to be equally adept at architecture, photo-journalism and portraiture, but most of all, an uncanny ability to capture the symbiotic relationship between a city and its people.
What’s more, there are fun facts sprinkled throughout the monograph: In the 1930s, 15,000 peddlers lined the streets; by 1945 only 1200 remained due to an effort to “clean up” the neighborhood. Knickerbocker Village opened in 1934, replacing the slum on Hamilton Street called the “Lung Block” for having the highest tuberculosis rate in the city. In 1854 at a stop at Park Row, a black woman named Elizabeth Jennings boarded a trolley reserved for whites, which led to her forcible removal. The ensuing uproar led to the desegregation of trolleys — 100 years before Rosa Parks.
Photo at Fontana’s, an indie music club with a great pool table on the LES, taken by Bank the Nine. To see it in large format, click here.
A man spray-painting mannequins (and doing something creepy with dolls) in front of a poster for the movie Turistas on 2nd Ave. For a large-format version, click here.
Amy Arbus, daughter of famed photographer Diane, has a collection of photos she took for the Village Voice compiled in a new book On the Street, 1980-1990. One of the least interesting on its merits is still a sentimental favorite: a shot of Madonna on St. Marks Pl. in 1983, shortly before she became hugely famous (it looks to me like the shot is facing west between 1st and 2nd Aves.). Twenty-five of Arbus’s photos are on display at the Cohen Amador Gallery, reaffirming the relationship bewteen NYC street photography and fashion as artistic self-expression. For an audio slideshow on the Times website, click here, narrated by a photo editor who quotes Oscar Wilde: “It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances.”
To view my St. Marks photo essay, click here (first one).
Annals of Self-Invention [NYT]
A little treasure trove of photos taken by a long-forgotten photographer was recently rediscovered and will be shown at Underbridge Pictures in the DUMBO gallery collective at 111 Front Street. Clinton Irving Jones set out to capture the fast disappearing landscape of barns, farmhouses, and open space before Brooklyn completely succumbed to industrialization and residential development. Little is known about the photographer and the photos — made from glass plate negatives — which have never been seen before. The exhibit, Brooklyn In 1900, will open Sept. 14 and run through Nov. 5.