Maybe it's the the accelerating pace of creative destruction (aka redevelopment) and corresponding bewilderment. Maybe it's just the proliferation of digital cameras. But for whatever reason, "Then and Now" photographic comparisons of New York streets and neighborhoods continue to proliferate. What is it about visual nostalgia and urban time-hopping that's so irresistible?
A new comparative pair of snapshots of the Brooklyn waterfront 'tween the bridges was revealed today at Dumbo NYC. Check out how the corner of Front and Main was decked in wood buildings as late as 1926. Are we just mesmerized by sepia, or does the patchy slew of low-rise tenements look more appealing than the brawny walruses currently mooning there?
And have a crack at the "new and poignant perspective" of the Manhattan skyline offered in the images of contemporary photographer Reiner Leist. Rather than comparing across decades or centuries, you can compare across mere days and nights, thanks to the German migrant's incredible daily persistence with his trusty antique camera. Which fact is more amazing, that he's photographed the view out his loft window every day or that he's still living a couple blocks from Madison Square Garden after 11 years? Then again, everyone loved it when it was done by a certain obsessive Frenchman of the 19th century.
Finally, don't forget the mandatory parade of cooing and cuddling with the Empire State Building on its 75th anniversary (we joined in, too, of course).
Controversial quote for the day:
"In our town memories like rats are chased away by the ever-rising flood of progress. There is no room for ghosts or landmarks in New York."
- The critic James Huneker, 1913
And if you just can't get enough of the nostalgia train, check out Gothamist circa 2004.