Aerial photo of Stuyvesant Town. Photo by Jeffrey Milstein.
It’s hard not to love the look of New York City from an airplane. At a certain point, all the buildings and elements become the size of toys. Zooming out also reveals the urban layout of our cities, giving form to city fabric we usually experience at street level. Jeffrey Milstein, an architect turned photographer, has a stunning series of aerial photos on New York City (and Los Angeles) that are so geometrically framed and shot, it’s easy to see what he was trying to say. Through a range of sites, from Coney Island to Midtown (and even some islands), he shows that there’s a beauty to the man-made.
Photo by David Attie via Brooklyn Historical Society.
For those into photography, David Attie is a 20th century artist that is hard to forget. However, his passing in the 1980s resulted in him being largely forgotten by the mainstream. But a recent rediscovery displayed at the Brooklyn Historical Society has resulted in a new appreciation for his work.
Photo by Mel Rosenthal/Museum of the City of New York
In the 1970s and 1980s, the South Bronx was slowly brought to ruin by industrialization, trash dumping and arson. But photographer Mel Rosenthal wanted to show another side of the notorious borough. “In the South Bronx of America” is a new exhibit displayed in the Museum of the City of New York, featuring photos taken by Rosenthal. The series of black and white photographs depicts the state of life of everyday people in the South Bronx, which includes the neighborhood of Morrisania where Rosenthal grew up.
Images courtesy of Christine Osinski
In 1982, artist Christine Osinski moved to Staten Island with her husband after being priced out of Manhattan, something many New Yorkers are all too familiar with. Brooklyn and Queens (though now even Brooklyn is becoming too expensive to live in) seemed to be the popular destinations for Manhattanites to relocate to, but one borough appeared to slink into the background: Staten Island.
Nicknamed “The Forgotten Borough” by its residents, upon moving there, Christine Osinski simply set out to learn more about her new home. Out of that curiosity came a collection of photographs featured in her new book Summer Days: Staten Island. The images, taken of the borough between 1983 and 1984, bring to life the working-class culture often overlooked in this part of New York City.
A 2009 images of the Pitkin Avenue Bootery in Brownsville, Brooklyn. Image via Store Front II
The increasing homogenization of businesses is apparent everywhere: the uniform fast-food chains sprouting up in neighborhoods around us, the Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts cups many commuters hold on the subway, and even the similar clothing brands people choose to purchase from. With this in mind, City Lab recently published a series of photos showing New York City’s “endangered mom and pop stores” from James and Karla Murray’s new book Store Front II, which documents New York City’s diverse, family-owned businesses before they disappear. On the cover is Village Cigar, which has in front of it a memento of type of fight – Hess Triangle, once the smallest plot of land at 500 square inches, holding out against eminent domain.
A daguerrotype of the Unitarian Church on the east side of Broadway across Waverly Place. Fall 1839 or winter 1840, by Samuel F.B. Morse and John William Draper from the Smithsonian National Museum of American History
Every so often, articles or social media appear claiming photographs to be the oldest taken in New York City. Such a designation is of course rather difficult – images may still be sitting in personal collections never shared, or simply buried deep in existing archives. In 2009, the below Upper West Side daguerrotype was sold at auction at Sotheby’s for $62,500 dating to October 1848 or earlier. The New York Times exercised its usual caution, writing that “a photo believed to be one of the oldest ever taken in New York City was sold.” But we think we’ve found something even older.