This is a photo that I've been wanting to take for a long time, but I kept forgetting to take my tripod every time I was near. No photoshop on this one.
On the very bottom left, hidden behind a plank of wood you can see a section of the old Manhattan seawall that runs under West Street.
It is not often that you get to see a piece of submerged city history exposed to the daylight, and primarily when this area is in the heart of Manhattan. But that is just what happened two weeks ago during construction at the World trade center site.
Viewable for a couple of days before it was dismantled, the old seawall showed the line that was once at the edge of the water before Battery Park was created with landfill.
In orange: The section of the old river wall constructed around 1899 that was covered by the Battery Park City Landfill.
The river wall was an extremely ambitious project proposed in 1870 and which took 6 decades to fully complete. Its purpose was to hold back the land behind it, to allow large vessels to dock at the island's edge, instead of on piers or wharves hundreds of feet off of the shore.
Though not as beautiful as the Brooklyn Bridge, this wall arguably had just of an important impact to the city. It allowed huge ships to be able to touch down right on the shore, to unload heavy cargo or passengers with much greater ease than before.
The wall is still visible north of the Battery Park landfill, which was created in the 1960s to expand the shoreline south of Chambers Street.
And here are a couple more photos of the WTC construction for those of you that haven't seen it. Also, two weeks ago an old 18th century ship was found in the center of the construction. You can view photos of that on the New York Times website, as they have a little better access to these things than I do.
Left: A Street Photograph Right: A Street Portrait
For any of you that are interested, I wrote a guest post today on Craig Ferguson's blog, regarding the difference between a street photograph and a street portrait, along with my favorite street photography tip.
Chain: check. Headband: Check. Funky Shoes: Check. Sunglasses: Check. Rings: check. Really low shirts that show our nipples: Check.
I recently went to an interesting exhibit of old lamppost photos at the City Reliquary Museum in Williamsburg. Curated by Kevin Walsh of Forgotten New York, the exhibit consisted of a large collection of MTA employee, Bob Mulero's photographs, drawings, and engineering mockups of old lampposts throughout the city. It is a wonderful exhibition that will be going on for the next couple of months and Bob was kind enough to send me these lamppost photos to put on the blog.
Now I thought I was into lampposts, but Bob takes it to another level with his knowledge and passion, and the collection of photographs on exhibit only scratches the surface of what he has at home.
But an unfortunate theme of the exhibit was attached to the word forgotten. A majority of these old, majestic lampposts had been long removed, knocked over by cars and carted away as scraps.
So why is it important to try and save these old lampposts when we can just install shiny new replicas? Well first of all, in my opinion, a brand new lamppost is not nearly as attractive as an old weathered one, which seems to age like a fine wine. These lampposts give us a link to the city's past. The cars on the streets or the outfits of the pedestrians might change, and the buildings might get taller, but it's nice to have certain constants to the city, something that remains.
For instance, this old Bishops Crook cast-iron lamppost from the 1890's, now a leaning and dying relic of the Lower East Side's tenement past. It is one of the few relics left in the area that can give you the feeling of the old narrow streets filled with ratty tenements.
But the ultimate problem seems to be these damn cars. Apparently, they keep knocking down the old lampposts. It's an extremely tricky situation that doesn't really seem to have a clear cut solution. Any ideas?