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New York, Empire City: 1920-1945 Hardcover – November 1, 2004


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams; y First printing edition (November 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810950111
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810950115
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 0.9 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #668,244 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building and Rockefeller Plaza have all received their share of photographic homage. This collection of images covers these sites, as well as less famous (but just as impressive) buildings and views, and offers fresh perspectives on them all. While some of the duotone photos, taken by people working for the photographic team of Alfred Peyser and August Patzig in the first half of the 20th century, appeared in magazines of the time, many remained obscure, and the negatives for 500 of them ended up forgotten in a New Jersey studio until photographer and image collector Stravitz discovered them in the 1970s. One hundred images are reproduced here and, as Gray writes in his introduction, "they capture detail like gold dust." The pictures show a proud, prosperous New York in all its heyday glory—depicting the majestic interior of the Rainbow Lounge, the Panhellenic Tower, the Woolworth Building and the Park Avenue Hotel—and it’s fascinating to see how many of these structures have changed and/or been entirely replaced. Gray provides captions for a number of the images; collected as endnotes, they go beyond basic facts and offer both history and some architectural criticism. Lovers of New York and of photography alike will be moved by this gorgeous, nostalgia-inducing collection.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

David Stravitz is a professional photographer, an industrial design consultant and product creator for many Fortune 500 companies, and the author of The Chrysler Building: Creating a New York Icon Day by Day. Christopher Gray, the author of Abrams' New York Streetscapes and other books on New York City architecture, has written the "Streetscapes" column in The New York Times since 1987. Both authors live in New York City.

Customer Reviews

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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By L. Franciosi on December 1, 2004
I found David Stravitz's new book (New York, Empire City 1920-1945) every bit as thrilling as his book on the Construction of the Chrysler Building, building an Icon Day-by-Day. The photos are spectacular, oversized and chuck full of detail of a grand era in the history of the greatest city in the world. The big question for me is "is there another book to follow?". Can't wait! Lisa Franciosi
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Laura Breach on November 10, 2004
This is a wonderful journey into a part of New York City's past. The history of so many New York city neighborhoods have been captured and preserved in David Stravitz's book. The photographs, developed from 8x10 negatives, come alive on the pages. Many of the pictures also have enlarged segments which give the reader a real sense of being in New York in this era. This book is a MUST HAVE for anyone who has any interest in this great city's history.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Robin Benson on June 3, 2006
When David Stravitz bought around five hundred glass negatives from a New Jersey photo shop in the late seventies I bet he didn't realize what a nice little earner he was onto. This treasure trove of images has so far produced two books: the amazing The Chrysler Building: Creating a New York Icon Day by Day and now 'New York, Empire State'.

Both books follow the same format, page after page of very detailed architectural photographs of the city in the first fifty years of the last century. This book has a hundred images (thankfully in 175dpi) taken by commercial photographers Peyser and Patzig probably for architects and builders as a record of their endeavors.

It is the detail in the photos that makes the book so fascinating. Taken on eight-by-ten glass negs after carefully selecting the right position. They reveal street scenes and buildings where you can read the road signs and study the detail work on skyscrapers that would be impossible to see from street level. Nearly all the photos are of commercial property though near the end there shots of tenements, shops, sport arenas and Coney Island. Needless to say many of the buildings shown came down years ago.

Each picture has the name of the building or city area and Christopher Gray adds more detail on six pages at the back of the book and this is where I felt the reader has been badly let down by the publishers. There are 130 photo pages yet only sixteen have page numbers, which makes nonsense of Gray's page numbered captions and the three page comprehensive index.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Shannon Deason on October 26, 2006
I love the fantastic black and white images in this book, you forget how spectacularly beautiful the New York skyline was before the 50's, 60's and 70's international style of Mies and SOM ruined the skyline blocking many of these breathtaking buildings from view and altering an iconic american image forever. At any rate, this is a really good book, with well researched, interesting text and aforementioned great photo's. As you look at all the beautiful buildings and lament the loss of so many over the years, you can't help but want to throttle Robert Moses and David Rockefeller.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Richard Morris on June 28, 2006
No regrets but I wish there were more photos of the city and street scenes.
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