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Life On the Lower East Side: Photographs By Rebecca Lepkoff, 1937-1950 Paperback – March 24, 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

...anyone, certainly anyone who has ever visited the constantly receding remnant of the old Lower East Side, will find this book affecting...a unique volume of art that breathes life from every page. -- Science & Society

Any art director from Hollywood could only pray for the detail and inspiration contained in Lepkoff's pictures. -- Washington Sunday Times, Dec. 31, 2006

She managed to cast a fresh eye on her familiar streets. Indeed, they became her muse. . . (Her) photography captured the ever-changing community in a way that paralleled the change in her life. -- The New York Times, October 22, 2006

The book is a virtual walking tour--a surprise waits as you round each corner . . . A student at the Photo League, Lepkoff's curious eye documented everything from dock workers at the South Street Seaport to endearing pictures of children playing. Lepkoff's New York moments are delightful revelations. -- B&W Magazine, October 2007

The book succeeds, in part, by telling a pictorial history of the Lower East Side and reminding viewers of the inevitable change that takes place in communities... Highly recommended. -- Choice, Feb. 2007

The living conditions were deplorable, but Lepkoff's subjects transmit a keen vitality as they go about their daily lives. -- Newsday, Dec. 10, 2006

if you look hard at Lepkoff's pictures... you can just about hear the snap of laundry on clotheslines, the laughter of girls skipping rope, and the shouts of fruit vendors rolling their pushcarts on the cobblestones. -- Columbia, Winter 2006-07

"photographer Rebeccca Lepkoff captured scenes from ... daily life in the 1930s and 1940s: butches and bakers at work; housewives hanging laundry; children playing in the streets." --Italian America, Summer, 2007

"These photos are a portrait of these immigrants strugggles." -- Tonia Steed --The Villager, November 1, 2006

"Pays homage to the multiethnic community on New Yorks Lower East Side." --Publishers Weekly, August 14, 2006

"The first monograph of photographs by Rebecca Lepkoff, who cronicled life in this vibrant, multi-ethnic neighborhood before its buildings were razed in 1950 to make room for the Alfred E. Smith housing project." -- Catherine Pierre --John Hopkins Magazine, February, 2007

"Through their black-and-white photos, readers can visit an America that no longer exists, a Depression-era society of musical movies and Burma-Shave sign. Petrov and Ilf . . . captured scenes of everyday America and history in the making." --Library Journal, Oct. 2006 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Rebecca Lepkoff's work has been the subject of solo and group exhibitions and is held in numerous museum collections, including the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. She lives in New York City.

Rebecca Lepkoff's work has been the subject of solo and group exhibitions and is held in numerous museum collections, including the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. She lives in New York City.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton Architectural Press (March 24, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1568989393
  • ISBN-13: 978-1568989396
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 0.6 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #748,400 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a beautiful book. The photographs are honest and compelling, and the writing is wonderful. My 13-year-old daughter and I especially loved reading about Peter Dans' childhood in a cold-water flat. I grew up loving the "All-of-a-Kind" books by Sydney Taylor, and in some ways, this reminded me of those beloved stories. Peter Dans is a sensitive writer who, like Sydney Taylor, is able to make you feel as if you're there, and care about the people -- in this case, himself as a young boy and his remarkable family, particularly his grandmother. I feel the loss of this neighborhood even though I've never been there. In these pages, with both authors' wonderful writing and the rich photography, the Lower East Side lives again, in all its vitality. The only thing I would change is to make the text type darker, so it would be easier on the eyes.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The publishing of Lepkoff's beautiful photgraphs was long overdue and Peter Dans' parallel touching story gave them added life and unique history. As a student of Lower East Side History and as someone who grew up in Knickerbocker Village, I would have loved to find out their exact location, in the manner of Abbott's great work. The photos are only identified by grouping them in broad areas at the beginning of loosely organized chapters. I can take educated guesses on several of them, but that's all. Perhaps Lepkoff's notes were missing? I'm sure a gathering of some old-timers could have pin-pointed them. Nevertheless, I'm contacting my childhood friends to make sure they get a copy.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a book of photographs one feels truthfully captures the atmosphere, the way of life, experienced by the people living on the Lower East Side during this period of time. The text is a bit difficult to read as it is not a very dark print but all in all the book is worthwhile for just the photographs alone.
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Format: Paperback
Rebecca Lepkoff must have been an interesting person because how many other people would have taken photos like these? Cameras were for creating permanent records of family snaps, weddings and other uplifting occasions not the grit and grime of a working class neighborhood.

The map near the front of the book outlines the Lower East Side in 1939 and despite it not looking all that big an area the photos suggest plenty of commercial activity mingling with tenements. The photos capture life on the streets beautifully and give real sense of place. The book's photo section is based around streets and although individually most are not captioned several do have details about areas in the images.

The first forty-three pages have an essay by Peter Dans about living in the Lower East Side followed by Suzanne Wasserman's short biography of Ms Lepkoff. The book is nicely produced with the photos printed with a 200 screen on a reasonable matt art paper. I thought it slightly unfortunate that several photos are a bit too black and hide the some detail that is obviously there. Overall these content rich photos capture the people and seasons in one little corner of New York.
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