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A short interview and some photography by

A short interview and some photography by Douglas Levere from his book, New York Changing, in which he rephotographs NYC scenes captured by Berenice Abbott in the 1930s. “I realize to stand still is to move backwards, but architecture today in NYC today too often feels like it is only creating wealth and almost nothing to do with creating community.”

Reader comments

crazymonkOct 21, 2005 at 3:52PM

Incredible. Any ideas what happened to the Roman construction surrounding the Garibaldi Monument?

KalebergOct 21, 2005 at 7:39PM

New Yorkers have always been creating wealth. All this, "oh, there was so much more community in the past" is just mawkish nostalgia. In fact, one of the great charms of the city is the sheer creative and destructive power of money. Berenice Abbot was a great chronicler of her particular era, just as O Henry defined his own. She photographed the old and the new, and she celebrated the new.

All through the 1920s and 1930s farmland was turning into apartment buildings, and neighborhoods were being created and destroyed, and preservations were piss-moaning about this wholesale change in character of the city. Doesn't anyone remember Robert Moses? He rode roughshod over the city in the 1930s (and into the 1960s) in a way that we could consider inconceivable. Now, we take his works for granted.

I liked the photos, and the then and now stuff was great, but if you want nostalgia, ask yourself where are the photos from the pleistocene, before the Manhattan Indians started mucking up the place.

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.