New York City

Dramatic Photos of New York City’s East Village Locations in 1984 and Today

New York City has undergone some dramatic changes over the past several decades. Landmarks like Kim’s Video & Music are shuttering their doors, and rents are skyrocketing more each year. One neighborhood that has seen a major shift is the East Village. In 1984, photographer Daniel Root, who we learned of on Kottke, documented the area—the way most people think of it, as it appears in the movies. Today, he has made it his mission to revisit the locations in his images to document their current state. The EV NY project reveals some fascinating and dramatic transformations. Gentrification has scrubbed the East Village’s former graffiti-covered walls. See what you make of New York City’s East Village 30 years ago versus today in our gallery. … Read More

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25 Must-Read Books For the Fall

Fall! It’s a time for picking apples, wearing plaid, watching the leaves change color, and catching up on the season’s most beguiling new book releases. Fall is when the big houses bring out the big names, from Lena Dunham’s hotly anticipated book of essays, Not That Kind of Girl, to new work from future predictors Stephen Johnson and Nicholas Carr, to stories from reliable geniuses like Marilynne Robinson and Denis Johnson. We pared down a list of a million fascinating looking books (Good luck, Christian Rudder’s Dataclysm. Better list next time, Christos Tsiolkas’s well received Barracuda. I see you, Charles Burns’ Sugar Skull) to a workable group of 25 of the fall season’s must-reads. Add them to your list, and dominate cocktail parties all season long. … Read More

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A Gritty Photo Tribute to 1970s and 1980s New York City

Former mayor Rudy Giuliani tried to scrub New York City clean in the 1990s, but nostalgia for notoriously gritty New York in the ‘70s and ‘80s remains at an all-time high. An exhibition at Lot 180 remembers a city that was, with a collection of photos, vinyl cover art, posters, and more. Cultural icons like Andy Warhol, Debbie Harry, and Jean-Michel Basquiat (and his graffiti tag SAMO) populate the collection. This isn’t the “Disneyfied” New York City of today. Street photography from artists such as Robert Herman and Fernando Natalici depict the city’s graffiti-filled trains, the XXX theaters of Times Square, and other relics of a bygone era. The exhibition, which you can preview in our photo gallery, runs through September 1. … Read More

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The 25 Greatest Songs About City Life

Most big cities with any sort of history have a song. If that city’s New York, it has about 1000 of ‘em. But to be a classic of the genre, the song has to speak to bigger themes about city life, be it the hustle, the danger, or the beauty below the filth. Here are the 25 best, from Lou Reed to Nas to The… Read More

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Memorable Movie Scenes in Museums

This week, two of the most prestigious cultural institutions in the world celebrate anniversaries — the Smithsonian and the Louvre (168 and 221 years respectively). The cultural impact each museum has had on our society is astounding — making them rich locations for filmmakers throughout history. We explored ten scenes in cinema set inside (and around) museums that make use of the cultural and historical sites as beautiful backdrops, but also a metaphorical crossroads of human connection. … Read More

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Incredible Photos of Body-Painted People Disappearing Into New York Landmarks

Taking “blending in” to a whole new level, body painter Trina Merry draws her inspiration from New York city landmarks like Central Park and the Guggenheim Museum. Then she pays tribute to them on the bodies of models, who she photographs seamlessly integrated into the urban landscape. Pictured in perspective, it’s hard to tell where the people end and the buildings begin. Click through for a stunning look at the Brooklyn Bridge, the New York City skyline, and the human bodies Merry paints them on, in a series we spotted via Visual News. … Read More

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Striking Photos of Empty New York City Locations in the 1960s

It’s hard to imagine a perpetually populated New York City spot like Penn Station free of people, but photographer Duane Michals captured the quiet side of the iconic locale, and others, in his Empty New York series. Started in the 1960s, Michals explored the streets of New York during the early morning hours, capturing shops, parks, and subway cars. His striking work was the subject of a recent exhibition at DC Moore Gallery that closed in May.

“It was a fortuitous event for me [to discover the work of Eugene Atget in a book]. I became so enchanted by the intimacy of the rooms and streets and people he photographed that I found myself looking at twentieth–century New York in the early morning through his nineteenth-century eyes,” the artist stated. “Everywhere seemed a stage set. I would awaken early on Sunday mornings and wander through New York with my camera, peering into shop windows and down cul-de-sacs with a bemused Atget looking over my shoulder.”

Michals reinterpretation of the metropolis is theatrical and sometimes eerie, bringing an unexpected philosophical resonance to everyday spaces like a laundromat. See more of these rare gelatin silver prints in our gallery.

Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum of Art will exhibit Michals’ other work from November 1 through February 16. Visit DC Moore Gallery through the end of the month to see the paintings of Robert De Niro, Sr., father of actor Robert De Niro. … Read More

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Don’t Believe Everything You Hear About New York City in Songs

The next time you’re tempted to write a song about the “concrete jungle where dreams are made of,” do New Yorkers a favor: don’t. The latest pop homage to New York comes via virtual unknown Catey Shaw and “Brooklyn Girls,” an anthem for young female transplants riding the L train from their apartments in Bushwick to Williamsburg, asserting their edginess by wearing combat boots in the summer. It’s suddenly started to go viral, three days after its release — yesterday afternoon, “Brooklyn Girls” had 7,000 views on YouTube. As of press time, it has 105,000. A great deal of its rise to prominence is attributable to the instant backlash from Brooklynites intimately familiar with the world Shaw describes (i.e., many music bloggers). … Read More

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Home Movies: Watching New York City Transform on Film

Shot in 1980 and recently dug up like the time capsule it is, Manfred Kirchheimer’s experimental documentary Stations of the Elevated (screening in Brooklyn Friday night as part of BAMcinemaFest 2014) offers a view of New York City that bears little resemblance to the sleek metropolis of NYC 2014. Children play outside of dangerously rotting apartment buildings (presumably long demolished, probably to make way for luxury condominiums). Subway cars aren’t number, letter, or color-coded, instead labeled with street routes like “Lexington Ave. Express.” And most importantly, the subway cars are covered in graffiti, top to bottom, inside and out. … Read More

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Strangely Moving Photos of Abandoned NYC Buildings

Photos of decaying urban environments are all the rage these days, and while some of them are probably deserving of the “ruin porn” epithet that gets thrown at them, the majority have a curiously compelling and emotive quality to them. NYC photographer Will Ellis was something of a pioneer of this style — his blog Abandoned NYC is dedicated to exploring the forgotten corners of the city, and his photos are both fascinating and somehow deeply moving (especially since many of them catalog the ruins of asylums and hospitals — the majority of these pictures are from North Brother Island). One of our favorite photo blogs, the consistently excellent Feature Shoot, recently took a look at Ellis’ work. Here are some of the highlights. … Read More

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