Image Courtesy of Raymond Biesinger

One artist has taken on the challenge of recreating near 700 bulldozed, demolished, burned down, and otherwise “lost” buildings of the 19th and 20th-centuries. Montreal based illustrator Raymond Biesinger has tasked himself with researching and drawing the disappeared buildings of Canada and the USA’s 50 largest cities and boroughs before 2022. His simple yet detailed and precise drawings bring back to life buildings that were lost to time, and he’s already covered most of New York City.

So far, Bieseinger is 92 weeks, 356 drawings, and 22 prints in to the challenge. Biesinger tells Untapped New York, “My style of illustration has always been very rectangular and geometric, and over the years architectural projects have just ‘found me.'” While working on a series of Canadian historic and architectural prints from 2012-2015, which included dozens of buildings, he found himself most drawn to the ones that no longer existed. “It seemed like a good idea to explore those ‘lost’ buildings, and after drawing my way through Canada’s, it seemed like a good idea to explore the United States,” he says.

Image Courtesy of Raymond Biesinger

Biesinger has already drawn his way through most of New York City’s long gone structures. He compiles his geometric drawings into eye-catching posters with a collage of the lost buildings from a particular city or borough in the US or Canada. Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens are all available. As for Staten Island, Biesinger says it’s more difficult to conduct the research for buildings in a smaller borough from abroad, but, “Maybe there’s a Staten Island historian-illustrator duo who would be up for the challenge!”

Image Courtesy of Raymond Biesinger

In Biesinger’s posters of New York City’s lost buildings, you will find a wide variety of structures from train stations and factories to theaters and hotels, even fast food restaurants. In Manhattan, buildings featured include the famous original Penn Station which was demolished in 1963, the Singer Building which held the title of tallest building in the world in 1908, the Twin Towers, and a previous iteration of Madison Square Garden. In Queens, New Yorkers will remember the original Shea Stadium, the demolished PanAm Worldport and a Wendy’s that served as a film location for the Eddie Murphy film Coming to America in the 1980s. The illustrated lost buildings of Brooklyn include the former home of the Brooklyn Dodgers, Ebbet’s Field and Luna Park at Coney Island. In the Bronx, Biesinger’s poster brings back to life the Loew’s National Theater, the Whitlock Mansion, and original Yankee Stadium.

Image Courtesy of Raymond Biesinger

 

Image Courtesy of Raymond Biesinger

Biesinger’s drawings show structures that were lost for many reasons. Whether they were torn down to for an upgrade, like the baseball stadiums, or demolished to make way for something entirely new, each building illustrated once was an integral part of New York City’s urban fabric. The drawings give a glimpse into the past and vividly show how much the city has evolved. You can purchase one of Biesinger’s “Lost Buildings” posters here!

Next, check out 10 Controversial NYC Historical Buildings That Were Demolished or Redeveloped and 10 Forgotten Movie Theaters on Upper Broadway in NYC

artist, drawing, lost buildings

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