In 1934, Berenice Abbott took a photo which we can call now an icon. Even if New York was photographed enough, but there is nothing like this shot. The view over Manhattan from the top of Empire State Building at night, where cars are still noisey, people are stil working, drinking in a bar, reading fairtales to their kids. Although, the lights of New York are still showing that this city is always lively and bright.
I imagine myself coming to New York from Europe in 1930s, schocked by those super-tall buildings, dominating skyscrapers, that diversity of automobiles and the life lived by the population of a multinational city. Ilya Ilf and Yevgeni Petrov visited the United States im 1935 to explore the American society and they were also mesmerized by New York views.
“I live on the 27th floor, this desperate city is visible from the windows … Of course, no picture of it is given. I’m afraid that you can’t even be told about him so that it is understandable.
When I drove up to New York and walked along it, I felt a sense of pride that people could erect such huge buildings. They are visible for fifty kilometers and rise like columns of smoke.
The city itself is booming and sparkling to clean any storm. This is a painful city, it makes you look at yourself all the time, from this city your eyes ache.
I love this city. You can love him, although he is too big, too dirty, too rich and too poor. Everything is huge here; a whole lot. Even oysters are too big. Like burgers …”
New York is a type of city that can offer you all the elements of a contemporary civilization, the brightness of the progress. Coming from an European village in Transylvania to New York in 1930s, you will be surely amazed and you will see the land of oportunities the land of New York. When you see this progress, then you surely are going to start to see this city as the place you can live a better life,mostly behind the walls of a office skyscraper.
1930s New York was a very impressive city and very unique as well. Here are some photographs from that époque where you already can see the iconic face of the city of New York.
Text by Claudiu C. CREȚU
Photography by Berenice Abbott, New York Public Library
© The Bunget Arts & Culture