The new Keith de Lellis Gallery exhibit, "New York: A Bird’s-Eye View," contains photographs of New York as we know it in a period of rapid development, between 1870 and 1940. From the Chrysler building's construction, renderings of the Empire State Building's proposed use as a dirigible dock, and City Hall backed by relative nothingness, the mostly government-commissioned photographs capture a skyline trying to stay as current as the city's population, even if that meant falsifying reasons to make the buildings taller.
The Empire State Building once capped out at 1,050 feet, but in 1929 Alfred E. Smith wanted to add an extra 200-foot mooring mast for dirigibles. He denied that his ambitions were to further shadow the 1,046 foot Chrysler building, even though dirigibles weren't even a popular form of transportation. It was a small lie to gain bragging rights to the tallest building in the world.
The exhibit runs through November 20th, with many of the images being the only known prints. By the way, the original docking level is one floor above the current 102nd floor observatory—right where our photographer Katie grabbed these great shots!