New York Changing
November 22, 2004 9:09 AM   Subscribe

New York Changing. Rephotographs from then and now.
posted by stbalbach (43 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
".. then and now" (the photos)
posted by stbalbach at 9:12 AM on November 22, 2004


I live for these kinds of photo comparisons. Great post.
posted by deafmute at 9:34 AM on November 22, 2004


Great post! I really find it fascinating, not how much has changed, but just how little!
posted by Pollomacho at 9:40 AM on November 22, 2004


Thanks stbalbach. This is great.
posted by arse_hat at 9:42 AM on November 22, 2004


[this is good]

I love Changing New York- it's the kind of coffee table book that every guest winds up looking through.
posted by mkultra at 9:43 AM on November 22, 2004


This one seems to have been posed to me.

[this is all good]
posted by ursus_comiter at 9:47 AM on November 22, 2004


Are my eyes playing tricks on me? What is this peculiar building that looks like it has a front, but no sides?
posted by contessa at 9:54 AM on November 22, 2004


so little has changed--it's really amazing.
posted by amberglow at 9:57 AM on November 22, 2004


Thanks - it is pretty amazing that so much has changed but so much has remained the same.
posted by plemeljr at 10:11 AM on November 22, 2004


This peculiar building. Same picture, with text details.
posted by tomierna at 10:23 AM on November 22, 2004


I like the kind of cleanup they did around the house on this one.
posted by NewBornHippy at 10:30 AM on November 22, 2004


Those pictures are great. Wow, that building is interesting! It really does look like a movie set from that angle.

There was a similar "Now and Then" website done on San Francisco but I can't seem to find it now.
posted by Democritus at 10:33 AM on November 22, 2004


I am such a sucker for these photos. Something about being able to follow the continuum of history makes these things very comforting.

Thanks, stpalbach, for finding this. I'll be here a lot for a while.
posted by chicobangs at 10:41 AM on November 22, 2004


More evidence of our safety-obsessed culture.

stbalbach, thanks for a great link. I agree with the sentiment that it's really amazing how little has changed in 70 years.
posted by knave at 10:42 AM on November 22, 2004


I like the kind of cleanup they did around the house on this one.

Funny, I hated that.
posted by rushmc at 10:53 AM on November 22, 2004


Contessa - I was in that building a couple of weeks ago... it's just a very thin triangle; the angle that the photo is taken at makes it look like it's just one giant wall with windows. The thin point of the triangle is taken up by a really bizarre and twisty stairwell... pretty cool.
posted by saladin at 10:53 AM on November 22, 2004


p.s. - awesome post, thanks
posted by saladin at 10:53 AM on November 22, 2004


I want this book.
posted by chicobangs at 10:55 AM on November 22, 2004


Democritus, I think you're looking for Vertigo: Then and Now, which rephotographs many of the San Francisco locations shown in Vertigo.
posted by Hegemonic at 11:20 AM on November 22, 2004


Such great stuff.

Does anyone else find themselves wishing for several more layers of history? I'd love to see the same spot three or four decades in a row, for example.
posted by jeremy at 11:32 AM on November 22, 2004


Several years ago, the University of Arizona Press published Grand Canyon, A Century of Change, a rephotography book that published photos reproducing ones taken over 100 years earlier on a Colorado River expedition. (Unfortunately you'll have to get ahold of the book; I don't think any selections are online.) As I recall, I attended a presentation to the Arizona Native Plant Society by the author before the book was published in which he noted how useful the project has been to plant ecology studies, because in surprisingly many cases the exact same plant or plant clump (prickly pear cacti, creosote bushes) appears in both photos, and it's possible to chart survival percentages by species for recognizable foreground plants.
posted by Creosote at 11:41 AM on November 22, 2004


I, too, love this kind of stuff. Unlike most sites of this type, this one seems to focus more on how things have stayed the same, rather than how they have changed.
posted by wadefranklin at 11:43 AM on November 22, 2004


Great stuff - I love these kinds of sites. I'll agree with wadefranklin that this seems to show how little things have changed. A friend of mine did a similar thing in Chicago, where he took an architecture book from the forties and tried to take as many shots in the same locations. Most of shots showed how incredibly different the city is now, sixty years later. Many of the buildings were totally gone (or the background buildings were gone or obscured by newer buildings).
posted by HifiToaster at 11:54 AM on November 22, 2004


Thanks for the link. I would love to have the option of a roll-over viewer that toggled both images.

As for our "safety-obsessed culture"...

I walked over the Manhattan Bridge a week ago, and between the trains and the drop, I can see how this was necessary. I would rather see a nicer fence that matched the bridge a bit, but it gets windy up there, and it's a long way down.
posted by JBennett at 11:59 AM on November 22, 2004


Neato! I'm heartened that the comments in this thread suggest I'm not the only one who's entertained the crazy romantic notion of jumping back 50 years and wandering around town.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 12:00 PM on November 22, 2004


This is a fabulous post- NYC is an incredible city and these comparisons of how the city has evolved over the past 50+ years are really provocative. Thanks for the great find, stbalbach.
posted by baphomet at 12:01 PM on November 22, 2004


Great link - thank you.

I grew up in NYC on the Upper West Side, and the one thing i realize every time I go home to visit is that I spent very little time looking up when I lived there.

Seems odd, doesn't it, to live in a city with such incredible architecture, the majority of which is way over your head (in more ways than one) and to never actually look at it?

These pictures are beautiful - and when I get home for the holidays tomorrow I will definitely be looking up.
posted by OhPuhLeez at 12:08 PM on November 22, 2004


What impresses me about these is the degree of fanaticism in getting the "now" photographs to exactly match the "then" photographs, down to precise framing, focal length, etc. In so many of these sorts of photographs, the two are within ten feet or so and, oh well, that's good enough. But if they're perfect, the eye can relax and pick out precisely the details that are minutely different.

Also, you get the feeling of seeing, not just the same building, but the exact same viewing point, sixty-odd years later.
posted by argybarg at 12:15 PM on November 22, 2004


Not only that, argybarg, time of day as well!
posted by Turtles all the way down at 12:27 PM on November 22, 2004


This is fantastic, thanks. What's going on here?
posted by loquax at 12:29 PM on November 22, 2004


8th avenue looking north from 14th street, from 1898 to 2004.
posted by liam at 12:37 PM on November 22, 2004


I, too, was struck by how little had changed in many of the photographs. The bread store was particularly cool, as some the bread even looked exactly the same. Great post!
posted by sharpener at 12:58 PM on November 22, 2004


I want this book.
posted by chicobangs at 1:55 PM EST on November 22


Ask and ye shall receive.

posted by sacre_bleu at 1:05 PM on November 22, 2004


What's going on here?

Giuseppe Garibaldi is one of history's greatest guerilla fighters. He led revolutions on two continents.

It looks like they tore down that butt-ugly neoclassical crap to allow for actual preservation of the building in New York at which Garibaldi quartered.

As a tangent, does any one know if Garibaldi square in Mexico city is named after Giuseppe Garibaldi?
posted by mr_roboto at 1:21 PM on November 22, 2004


Thanks mr_roboto - really interesting. That memorial almost looked photoshopped.
posted by loquax at 1:26 PM on November 22, 2004


This post reminded me of a recent slide show put on by This American Life's Ira Glass and cartoonist Chris Ware. You can see a preview video on the linked page:

http://www.thislife.org/dvd/

Their story deals with the changing urban landscape of Chicago, focusing on the buildings of Louis Sullivan. Ware handles the simultaneous presentation of what stands on one spot and what once stood on that same spot perfectly.

If you can find this DVD, I highly recommend it. Hopefully, once the disk is out of print, they will post it on the TAL website in full.
posted by JBennett at 1:49 PM on November 22, 2004


This was a great post! The same angle of the sun, 65+ years later! I really like the idea that a particular site has remained almost unchanged in all that time - knowing, of course, that if you were to look ten degrees right or left, it might be very different.
posted by redfisch at 3:13 PM on November 22, 2004


There was a similar "Now and Then" website done on San Francisco but I can't seem to find it now.

There's a "then and now" book for San Francisco, too.
posted by DakotaPaul at 4:05 PM on November 22, 2004


JBennett, I saw the Ware/Glass show at UCLA - it was one of the most memorable evenings of performance I've ever experienced.

Simply lovely.

Thanks for the link - I'd love to own that on DVD!
posted by OhPuhLeez at 4:07 PM on November 22, 2004


Thanks for a great link. Interesting to see how many things have stayed the same, but the cars have gotten so much uglier.

Sad to think about how this one has changed again...
posted by equipoise at 5:51 PM on November 22, 2004


I loved touring the Lower East Side Tenement Museum (in real time and space, that is; can't vouch for the online version).
posted by goofyfoot at 5:53 PM on November 22, 2004


equipoise, that's exactly the photo I wanted to comment on. The 1935 version. It stopped me in my tracks, mesmorized. I want to see New York so bad.
Excellent post.
posted by Cedric at 10:27 PM on November 22, 2004


Wow, really neat post and super photos!

It's so interesting to see the changes throughout the years.
posted by erratic frog at 11:42 PM on November 22, 2004


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