- Series: New York City
- Paperback: 171 pages
- Publisher: Dover Publications (June 1, 1976)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0486233618
- ISBN-13: 978-0486233611
- Product Dimensions: 10 x 9.2 x 0.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,163,683 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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New York Then and Now (New York City) Paperback – June 1, 1976
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Top Customer Reviews
In the mid-seventies, New York City was not a particularly kind place. The city was going bankrupt, Central Park's lawns were mainly dirt with patches of crab grass, and the subways were covered in graffiti. This book takes me right back there. It's amazing to see how desolate Broadway north of Houston was in the mid seventies and then to experience it today as a boulevard of high-end shops. The same thing goes for the Ladies' Mile shopping district on Sixth Avenue: formerly thriving, forlorn in the seventies, restored and vital today.
The period photos are well chosen, with a ghostly, otherworldly quality. It's so hard to believe Manhattan could ever have been so bucolic, a city of horse-drawn carts in which church steeples were the tallest structures around.
If you want a book that focuses on today, check out "New York Changing" by Douglas Levere, in which he painstakingly "rephotographs" 81 of the scenes captured by the great Berenice Abbott in the thirties. It's an amazing work for New York buffs, a real treat. Using a period camera, Levere went to great lengths to recreate the same shots, aided in one instance by the driver of a double-decker bus who pretended to have mechanical difficulties so that Levere, perched on the top deck, had time to compose his shot. But even Levere's book is a time capsule in that he was working before and after September 11, and several photos show the World Trade Center in all its looming enormousness. Time doesn't stand still, and these books do what they can to document the all-too-fleeting moment.
Dover--bless them!--has a whole series of Then & Now books on Boston, Phila., Washington, and other cities. There should be more: where's San Francisco? London? Paris? Local photogs should get snapping and send proposals to Dover Press.
But... as soon as I opened the book, I remembered why.
The book was published in 1976.
All of the "now" pictures were taken no later than 1974.
So much has changed in Manhattan since 1974... that the "now" views are unfamiliar in many circumstances.
The old photos are facinating... and the commentary interesting... but I still feel the need to take my camera out to all those sites so I can get the perspective I truly wanted.
Being able to compare what are mostly early twentieth century photographs with the photographs often taken from almost exactly the same viewpoint circa 1974-75 is fun and fascinating.
The mid-70's photographs have now taken on a wonderfully 'dated' quality of their own.
The only reason I give just four as opposed to five stars is because I felt a lot of areas were very much over-looked. I'd like to have seen something of the older parts of the West Village, the East Village, more of the Upper Eastside. Whereas there seem to be a lot of photographs of real 'no-man's land' districts that are rather lifeless.
I wish a follow up had been published to fill in the many holes.
But I love this book very much and never get tired of flipping through and noticing new things.
Highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in New York, The city has changed in a big way in the last 100 years and this book captures this in everyway.
If your off to New York this book would great for you, go and find the place's in the book and check out to see how it has changed even more!.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I recall how NYC looked back when this was published in 1976. It's true that many of the scenes of the "Then" days made the city look better than in '76!Published on January 1, 2011 by voracious reader
Other books in the "Then and now" series have photos that are very well matched; the "now" photographer has taken care to use the same viewpoint and lens. Read morePublished on April 21, 2010 by Caroline Schooley
A city that has changed and continues to change with the speed and energy that New York does, invites books like these. Read morePublished on June 9, 2004 by Rocco Dormarunno