Customer Reviews: Brooklyn Then and Now (Then and Now)
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on June 9, 2004
The greatest borough of the greatest city on Earth deserves its own special history, and Marcia Reiss has provided it. BROOKLYN THEN AND NOW is a reminder that Manhattan is not the only place that underwent enormous changes over the last century and a half. Capturing Brooklyn in recent photos and juxtaposing them with shots of the same area 50, 75, 100 or 125 earlier, dramatizes the growth that Brooklyn (the fourth largest city in America before the 1898 consolidation) experienced. It's too bad that you can't "take a look inside" this book on this website, but take my word for it, it's jammed with great photos!
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on October 14, 2006
This volume bests many other photographic books about Brooklyn because the book format is large and "landscape" shape (the photos measuring 10 x 6.75" inches), the individual photos are sharp (where other books too often have muddy reproduction), the subject matter is interesting, and the captions accurate. I think I know my Brooklyn, as I have explored it for sixty years. I have not yet found an error in the text. Because the author usually positions the camera in the "now" scene close to where it was in the "then" scene, the photos are exceptionally interesting. For instance, page 86 shows the Hanover Club, Bedford and Rodney Street, in 1893. The "now" photo shows it as a yeshiva, with the details of the pedestrian, the "Don't walk" signs, and yellow school bus. A "circa 1908" photo of Times Plaza shows the same Interborough head building (then a fare collection area) that I walked past last month. The author earns extra stars for including people in most photos. This book is far more than a book of Brooklyn buildings. The streets are alive!
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on February 8, 2007
I wish I could share the enthusiasm some of the other reviews have, but I found this book somewhat disappointing. There are some interesting shots, yes, but many of them are stock photos you've already seen if you own earlier books on the subject. I also would have preferred less shots of scenes that haven't changed from then to now. Additionally, all the "now" pictures were taken in the summer, so in many instances trees obscure almost the entirety of what the photographer means to showcase. What's the point of that? Why not wait a few months so that the scene is visible? It exemplifies the somewhat slapdash feel of this book.
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on April 8, 2006
I was born in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, and so enjoyed looking at pictures of places I knew as a child-- a nice contrast of way back when and today. My family lived in North & South Williamsburg from the 1820s to 1920s before heading to Sunset Park, Bay Ridge and Glendale. I really enjoyed seeing the photos along with an explanation of how the neighborhoods have changed. I bought an extra book to give to a friend who grew up in Sheepshead Bay/Marine Park/Coney Island. A nice compendium. :>)
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on December 8, 2008
Let me say, Brooklyn is my second favorite place on earth (after New Orleans). I have deep personal and family roots there and have collected many historical books on NY's greatest borough.

This book is a wonderful concept. And it offers some truly fantastic photos with great resolution, good printing, etc.

Yet, for all its virtues, this book was somewhat disappointing. Very frequently (almost every shot) the camera is not set to the same exact spot or angle as the original to which it is contrasted. When you look at the photos on facing pages you are often comparing apples to oranges. One old photo of a streetscape shows all three lanes of traffic, while its modern update shows half of a single lane; another photo of the skyscape has barely any sky above the buildings, while the modern update is almost half sky; often whole buildings are cut off the edge of one of the photos, or the second one is taken from a very different angle. SInce the original photos are the given, it would seem to have taken very minimal care to match the same vantage points on the new photos. It just comes off as quickly prepared and lazy, and mars the purpose of the project.

But overall, this is worth having and enjoying. A fun exercise is to travel to the spots in the photographs, book in hand, and look yourself.
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on January 3, 2014
I got this book for my husband who grew up in Brooklyn. He and our daughter enjoyed going through it as he reminisced about his childhood. The pictures were clear, the size of the book made it a great table top but also small enough to fit on a shelf.
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on November 25, 2014
My company has an office in Brooklyn and when we did a redesign of our lobby, I bought this book to put on our coffee table. I've only personally thumbed through it a bit--and I can tell that it's a nice book--but everybody who comes to our office to visit, immediately reaches for this book before anything else. That's saying something
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on June 14, 2014
This is a very nice book, loaded with old and newer pictures. I got it for a friend for Christmas and I know she'll love it. I plan on looking through it more thoroughly before I wrap it though! A nice size for a coffee table book.
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on July 14, 2013
I gave this book to my husband for Father's Day. His Dad grew up in Brooklyn, and he was lamenting the fact
that he didn't ever the "old" Brooklyn, nor did he even know anthing about where his Dad was born. This book was
a visual delight and he was so grateful!
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on October 1, 2015
I buy a lot of these books. I really liked this one because many of the "now" photos are just as I remember them in the 60's and 70's of my youth. Brings back strong , wonderful memories. The "then" scenes are wonderful archival quality prints.
This (used) book arrived in the "very good" shape promised.
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