“Wonder City” Exhibit Tour at Poster House

"Wonder City" Exhibit After-Hours Tour at Poster House

Photos Courtesy of Poster House, Installation Photos by Stephanie Powell Photography

Tour the latest exhibition inside Poster House, Wonder City of the World: New York City Travel Posters  with Es-pranza Humphrey, Assistant Curator of Collections, while the museum is closed to the public!

  • Examine eye-catching  travel posters from the 19th and 20th centuries
  • Learn about the explosive growth of NYC’s tourism industry, which produced more travel posters than any other city in the world
  • Discover different marketing tactics used to appeal to travelers, immigrants, and tourists
  • See how different artists captured the hustle and bustle, tall skyscrapers, and sparkling lights of the big city in various styles of eye-catching posters

About the event:

The phrase “Wonder City,” the brainchild of marketers, had appeared in newspaper and magazine advertisements and articles sporadically through the final decades of the 19th century. A number of cities around the country and in Europe also used it in their promotions at that time. By 1914, the phrase had also appeared on a New York souvenir booklet. Such popular keepsakes, along with postcards and postcard books, spread images of the city and its nickname. Previous efforts by advertisers to sum up New York in a distinctive manner had been less successful; phrases like the “American Cosmopolis,” “The First City of the World,” “City of Marvels,” and “The Foremost City in the World” never really gained traction.

Nonetheless, the fact that New York was truly a “Wonder City” was apparent to all. New York’s explosive growth from the end of the 19th century ultimately produced more travel posters than were designed for any other city in the world, a host of images as varied as its ever-shifting identity, showing it from the water, from the ground, and, eventually, from the air.

This exhibition will track how New York City was represented to travelers, immigrants, and tourists over the decades. It is a visual, graphic experience, one that encourages the viewer to exult in all the ways artists captured the multitude and the magnitude of the thriving metropolis, selling the hustle and the bustle, the bright lights and the imposing structures, sometimes representing moments of intimacy and slice-of-life imagery within the urban canyons and among the ziggurats.

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