Thursday, November 12, 2009

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow? No Way!

Maybe it's just the mentality of a perpetual renter, but every time I enter a space, especially in New York City, I always think about it's history. What was this before it became what it is today? What words were spoken here 20 years ago? 40? 50? Did some tragic or joyful event transpire in the very place I stand? I'm happy that I'm not the only one that thinks this way, as evidenced by an article today in the New York Times. The photography above is of 316 E 59th Street in Manhattan. The first two pictures were taken in the 1930s, and the last picture was taken this year. But these aren't just personal pieces of memorabilia: between 1938 and 1943, 700,000 black-and-white images, known as tax photos, were taken to make property assessments in addition to creating a jobs program for the federal Works Progress Administration. Once again in the 1980s, a second set of 800,000 photos was taken, also for tax purposes. These images document the changes that transpire in a city, but also highlight the constants that stand the test of time. The architecture that peppers NYC is more important than we think, and it takes a second glance to really appreciate the fact that an old building can shelter both old and new souls alike.

1 comment:

  1. I too love seeing that kind of evolution. Spacing Montreal often features cool profiles of different streets/corners in the city:

    Citizens of Montreal and New York have history at their fingertips, probably why you and I like it so much ;)