Photos of the big city
Photographers, early 1900s: unknown; Photographer 1955: James W. Watson
Recents: Sean Cornwell, Rebecca Green, Kelly Lester, Jeff Mains, MacGregor Merritt, Rukmini Ravikumar, and Jim Watson



1910. Singer Building, world's tallest

1913. Woolworth Building, world's tallest

Date unknown, probably 1930s. Battery Park, elevated train, Castle Garden, Bowling Green.. Date unknown but later than the one to the left. The white cube Brooklyn Tunnel ventilation building has replaced tenements, the el has been dismantled, Castle Clinton has been remodeled - the roof has been removed, and more landfill has extended Battery Park.

1931. 1959.


1923. HMS Leviathan, Singer Building.. 1933.
All of the following 1955 photos were taken by my father during our family vacation to NYC.

1955. From the Statue of Liberty ferry. The Verizon Building is the large building about 1.5 inches in from the left.

1955. From the Empire State Building, looking north. 1955. From the Empire State Building, looking northeast, Chrysler Building.

1955. From the Empire State Building, looking south, Flatiron Building, downtown. 1955. Battery Park looking north.

Construction of Battery Park City

1931. The yellow dot is about where my condo building sits now. The piers were removed as the railroad and airfreight took over the shipping duties. Battery Park City was built on landfill where all those piers were. The blue dot is the site of the future World Trade Center. The tall building just above the blue dot is the phone building (now Verizon) that was damaged but has reopened.

1928. The waterfront on the left was filled in to create Battery Park City. Below: The piers along the Hudson:


Above: 1933 and a few years later. Below: 1959.

Construction of the WTC

The seawall that would be filled by WTC excavation.

Construction of the south part of Battery Park City. South Cove is at the indentation in the seawall.

The riverwall indentation is the site of South Cove.



A landfill 'beach' where Battery Park City now sits. The Marriott Hotel is under construction to the right of the brand new World Trade Center North Tower.








Above: 1933 and a few years later.



WTC site: the white curved shapes are the train tracks in the 'bathtub'. Yellow arrow points to my apt building.






Night view of WTC site, Brooklyn at top and Governor's Island to the upper right.

The dust cloud after the buildings fell. Cove Club condo is at the yellow dot.

Sculpture of man with briefcase shrouded in 9/11 debris and ash fall. Refurbished statue returned to a newly remodeled park across from the WTC.

This is a memorial to 9/11 in Jersey City.

This is over on the Jersey City shore, across the river from the WTC site. People left mementos at the statue. The sculptor collected them and cast them in bronze and reissued his original statue (shown above) with the items attached. The 'Survivor Stairs' at the WTC site, the only above-ground remnant of the buildings - many people escaped down these stairs. Some want them to remain on the site.

Former WTC Plaza with Sphere sculpture. The Sphere amid the rubble of the towers.

In the debris. The Sphere, now dented and bruised, on view in Battery Park.




Downtown pre 9/11. Downtown post 9/11. Tribute in Lights, 2001-02.



A brief trip to NYC in early November allowed me to check out the recently opened 9/11 National Memorial. Several years ago I viewed the models submitted by the 8 finalists in the memorial design competition. Only one had merit, only one captured the emotion and the historic site. It was this one by Michael Arad.
The design is successful because it pays homage to the historic site by placing the fountains in the footprints of the towers. There is an obligation to respect and acknowledge the historic site by denoting where the towers stood. The fountain water is cleansing and purifying. There are places to sit and contemplate.

The view above was taken from the terrace of the new downtown W Hotel.






The Survivor Tree, that was in the WTC Plaza, nurtured for the past 10 years, and returned to the site. Two of the tower's beams that will be displayed in the Memorial Visitor's Center when it opens on September 11, 2012. A view towards the World Financial Center and Goldman Sachs.


One World Trade Center rising up to become the tallest building in the country.

The President of Portugal paid an official visit to the site. Carlos da Costa, a citizen of Portugal, died in the attack. The President dedicated a wreath at the Survivor tree and then he and his entourage toured the Memorial and made a rubbing of the engraved name of Senor da Costa.


Upon exiting the Memorial, the crowds are channeled by the Visitor's Center which is primarily a gift shop. A gift shop to buy souvenirs resulting from a huge tragedy. That really is the American way.

The cobblestone that I sponsored to help raise money to build the memorial. To avoid taking attention away from the inscribed victim's names, the cobblestones are not engraved. There are computer kiosks, website, and phone app that allow one to look up locations of cobblestone sponsor names.

1 World Trade Center in October 2014









Looking across the East River, Manhattan, and the Hudson River to Jersey City, New Jersey.

Looking from the Newark airport. Fall 2012

Ornate fountain in City Hall Park. Plaque in City Hall Park which reads: "Do the right thing and nine times out of ten it turns out to be the right thing politically. Debs Myers, Citizen" Debs Myers was a newspaperman, public relations expert, and managing editor of Newsweek. He insisted that "the best public relations in government is good government."


Some great old buildings at City Hall Park, formerly referred to as 'Newspaper Row'. Strawberry Fields 'Imagine' mosaic in Strawberry Fields in honor of John Lennon, near The Dakota where he was assassinated.

These two cruise ships were only about 5 minutes apart.

A cruise ship goes by the apartment window. Drumming lessons in Chinatown.

The inner court of the new Morgan Library & Museum. Delmonico's restaurant, considered by historians to be the first restaurant in the USA - claims to have served the first hamburger (Steak Hamburg), created Eggs Benedict for Mr. & Mrs. LeGrand Benedict who sought something new (and Mrs. Benedict loved Hollandaise sauce), created Baked Alaska, and the first to provide a menu. Prior to Delmonico's, people ate at boardinghouses with a fixed offering of lunch or dinner.


These posts are all over the city - usually in pairs. I was baffled as to their purpose until I saw this guy set his round CD player on top of one, and, Eureka, I realized what they were for - they are CD holders. For those urban audiophiles who need to rest and want to set their player down, the city has graciously provided these CD Columns. They are in pairs to encourage socializing and sharing. I don't know why they installed them near fire hydrants, though - those just seem to get in the way. Okay, it may be a good idea, but this is just too much - a chorus line of CD playing dancers? More info

Above & below: the Apple flagship store on Fifth Avenue at 59th Street. A glass cube encloses the entry staircase and elevator - the store is under the plaza.




Staircase at Fifth Avenue. Staircase of the Apple store in SoHo.

I usually tip subway musicians: A band in the Union Square station. A Doo Wop group in the car.

Unique angle view of the Guggenheim atrium. Outside De La Vega's shop in the East Village.

Excellent in-depth show of Dada at MoMA, yes, that's right - dada at moma. Note the foto on the left also includes the No Photography sign. Foto on the right illustrates the phrase 'praying to the porcelain God' that fraternity guys recite after every party.

View of Columbus Circle from the restaurant in the Museum of Arts & Design. Broadway going up the left side, Central Park West, and Central Park.


A water fountain in Central Park with a built-in dog bowl, hinged to empty. Immigration building on Ellis Island.

A great way to display t-shirts. Sculpture that survived 9/11 and was returned to a newly remodelated park across from the WTC.

A dance performance in the fountain at Bowling Green park. The latest model of the Freedom Tower.

I took this while looking out a window of the Museum of Modern Art. On the terrace awning there is a cat - closeup in the next foto.

Only in a big city would one find these signs. Lights from the Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Williamsburg bridges on the East River.

Of several in the city, this is my favorite Barnes & Noble, on the north side of Union Square. To the left of the B&N is this building where Andy Warhol had his studio/factory during the Studio 54 era.

Sean, Jamie, and I went to FAO Schweez inside FAO Schwarz toy store to splurge on dessert. I got coffee, a huge chocolate chip cookie, and two scoops - homemade vanilla and peanut butter caramel (or something like that). Sean and I presenting the skyline

Trinity Church with Deco tower beyond. Woolworth Building.

Foto fun at Federal Hall. Little Italy.

Prada store in SoHo.

  Radio City grand lobby.  Flatiron Building and Madison Square Park.


Central Park: Literary Walk. Bethesda Fountain.




Bryant Park, on 42nd behind the Public Library

One nice day, I walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. Spectacular views of the city and of the bridge.

Grand Central Station. South Street Seaport.

Cathedral of St. John the Divine, largest USA cathedral. St. Patrick's Cathedral, largest USA Catholic church.

Madison Square from the Empire State observatory. Downtown.

Midtown. Times Square.


Exhibit at Lever House of stacks of reams of green paper in a maze layout. Keith Haring sculpture outside Lever House.

The new sculpture garden at MoMA. A promotion for an IPO at the NY Stock Exchange.

Excess napkins about to blow away (I picked them up and took them home). A photo shoot of a model apparently worried about those napkins.

In the East Village. Lots of cups, in the East Village.

My favorite Starbucks - in SoHo. Jeff Koons sculptures on the roof of the Met, overlooking Central Park.

Across 5th Avenue from the Met - note how the newer building on the left respects the older building by the alignment of the ornamentation bands. Another example from downtown - the newer respects the older, even the round corner tower.


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