Thursday, July 22, 2010

more Berenice Abbott

Here is a second set of photos by Berenice Abbott. My blog post, New York in the '30s, contains the first. As before, all come from the 1930s and appear in chronological order.

{Huts and unemployed, West Houston and Mercer Street, Manhattan. October 25, 1935. Source: John McNab's photostream on flickr}

{Daily News Building, 42nd Street between Second and Third Avenues, Manhattan — looking toward East River from tall building, News Bldg., brownstones, the Con Edison plant and an apartment building. November 21, 1935. Source: wirednewyork.}

{Patchin Place, Manhattan. Men sit on steps in dead-end Patchin Place, bare trees in front of the house, gas lamp at end of block. March 20, 1936. Patchin Place lies off West 10th Street in the Village. Caption: "Built around 1850 as living quarters for the Basque waiters working at the nearby Brevoort Hotel, the 3-story houses didn’t have electricity or running water until the teens, about the time the waiters moved out and artists, actors, and writers moved in." Source: Summertime theater in Patchin Place on ephemeralnewyork}

{Nos. 1-3-5-7-9 Poplar Street. May 14, 1936. Caption from Museum of the City of New York: "On May 14, 1936, Abbott made eight photographs of houses in Brooklyn Heights. This view shows a row of pre-Civil War houses against the Manhattan skyline. At the end of Poplar Street is a holding tank for the adjacent Squibb pharmaceutical factory, a clear indication that these houses were too close to the industrial waterfront to be fashionable. In 1950, this stretch of Poplar Street was demolished for the construction of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and the pedestrian Promenade, which cantilevers over it." Source: Vintage Pictures}

{Radio Row, Cortlandt Street, Manhattan. Men window shop in store selling radios, elevated railroad station, Ninth Avenue line, right center, subway entrance visible. April 08, 1936. My source: John McNab's photostream}

{"El," Second and Third Avenue Lines, April 24, 1936. Caption: "In an image from Berenice Abbott’s Changing New York, the El blocks out the sky, and the few people gathered on the streets below appear as menacing shadows. The scene is one of excitement and energy, but is also cold, dangerous, and uninviting." Source: The Elevated blog post on fansinaflashbulb}

{Brooklyn Bridge, Water and Dock Streets, Brooklyn, from the series Changing New York. May 22, 1936. Source: Smithsonian American Art Museum}

{Travelling tin shop, Brooklyn. Tinker looks over his shoulder at camera while he ties box to wagon already loaded with pans, brushes, basins, etc. May 22, 1936. Source: NYPL's flickr set: Changing New York, 1935-1938. Caption from ephemeralnewyork: "Once the lifeblood of New York’s poorer neighborhoods, vendors like this traveling pots-and-pans salesman were a disappearing breed when Abbott took this photograph in 1936. The location of Abbott’s photograph is not specified, but the neighborhood resembles Talman and Jay Streets, which she photographed the same day." -- The Brooklyn pots-and-pans peddler}

{Henry Street. November 29, 1935. Caption from Museum of the City of New York: "Just east of New York's civic center lay some of the city's oldest slums. Abbott made the most of this stark juxtaposition, showing the Municipal Building and the Woolworth Building rising above the old-law tenements of Henry Street. Monuments to civic pride and private enterprise, both skyscrapers were built on the eve of World War I. The Henry Street Settlement and the Jacob Riis Settlement House lie just outside the area depicted in the photograph. Ironically, the ancient tenements of Henry Street remain exactly as they did in Abbott's day, accommodating the overflow from Chinatown of recent Asian immigrants. The Woolworth and Municipal Building towers still rise up over the tenements, but they were dwarfed by the twin towers of the World Trade Center, completed in the 1970s. My source: wiredinnewyork}

{Union Square, 14th Street and Broadway, Manhattan, July 16, 1936. Source: John McNab's photostream}

{Flat Iron Building, Madison Square. MAY 18, 1938. Caption: "Berenice Abbott photographed the Fuller building, nicknamed the Flatiron, from the top floor of a six-story commercial building nearby." Source:}

{Broadway to the Battery. May 4, 1938. Caption from the Museum of the City of New York: "In Broadway to the Battery, the foreground (right) is dominated by the Adams Building. At the foot of Broadway is Battery Park (left); rising from the waterfront on West Street is the Whitehall Building (right; see Battery, Foot of West Street); and in the distance is the Statue of Liberty. Abbott had anticipated the arrival of the ocean liner Ile de France in the composition. Source: flickr}


Additional sources:

About Changing New York by Julia Van Haaften for the New York Public Library, 1996

Berenice Abbott Works Online, article in artcyclopedia


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