Cityscape, New York

Berenice Abbott
American, New York City, about 1930 - 1939
Gelatin silver print
7 5/8 x 9 5/8 in.

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How shall a two dimensional print in black and white suggest the flux of activity of the Metropolis, the interaction of human beings and solid architectural constructions, all impinging upon each other in time?

Berenice Abbott asked this question in 1936 and then set out to answer it with her own work. Carrying sixty pounds of equipment around New York City's streets, she recorded the interaction between people and place in an urban landscape. She photographed the piers, tenements, townhouses, and skyscrapers that defined Manhattan. She also photographed homes and businesses in the outer boroughs-Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx.

From an elevated spot overlooking a church and rowhouses, Berenice Abbott made this photograph of a New York City street receding into the distance. The image shows the "skyscraper in relation to the less colossal edifices which preceded it . . . the past jostling the present," thereby conveying the flux of the metropolis.