Entries tagged with “photography” from Patell and Waterman's History of New York
Here's an overview from the station's site:
"Photographer W. Eugene Smith moved into a loft at 821 Sixth Avenue, in the heart of New York's Flower District, in 1957. The place had already become a hangout for artists, writers and especially jazz musicians, who rehearsed and jammed there. Among the visitors to the loft: Thelonious Monk, Zoot Sims, Bill Evans, Steve Swallow, Mose Allison, Bob Brookmeyer and hundreds more, over a period of about 8 years." (Read more here.)Smith eventually recorded over 4,000 hours of life in the Jazz loft, from jam sessions to conversations to what happened to be playing on the radio or television. The tapes are an audio supplement to the 40,000 photos he took during the same period -- or vice versa: maybe the photos supplement the audio tapes.
Either way, the series makes for a fascinating slice of New York's arts scenes in the late 50s and early 60s. Sam Stephenson of Duke University's Center for Documentary Studies discovered the tapes in an Arizona archive in the late 90s. No one had listened to them in the 20 years they'd been housed there. In addition to producing this radio series with WNYC's Sara Fishko, Stephenson's also written a book that's due out next week, and the Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts will host an exhibition of Smith's photography.
Start listening here. Much more, including a blog, at the project's home page.
Writes NYDP's Brian Dubé :
The small house is on the roof of 132 West 4th Street. The exquisite Greek Revival rowhouse was built in 1839 and was renovated in 1917 by Josephine Wright Chapman, one of the first successful women architects in America. The exterior was left largely intact, with the addition of casement windows to the parlor floor and a sloped studio window to the attic level, where in the same year, actor John Barrymore rented an apartment.The playwright Paul Rudnick rented the apartment in the late 80s and later wrote about it in the New Yorker:
Barrymore had taken up residence in 1917, just before he began performing his legendary Hamlet uptown. His film career at that point was limited to locally shot silent movies, including an early take on "Moby-Dick," which may have been the source of the ship's wheel. Barrymore had remodelled the apartment as a Gothic retreat, christening it the Alchemist's Corner. He had installed all the false beams, monastery-inspired ironwork, and stained glass, which made his lair resemble a stage set for an Agatha Christie whodunnit in summer stock. The rooftop had been his masterpiece, and had at one time included a garden, with cedar trees, a slate walkway, and a reflecting pool. Tons of soil had to be hoisted up by pulley, and eventually caused a collapse into the rooms below. Of Barrymore's vision only the cottage remained; he'd likened it to a roost overlooking the spires of Paris.Read the rest of Dubé's post here; Rudnick's piece here.
Apparently you need to catch the glimpse of Alchemist's Corner while you can get it; it seems the new NYU law building going up on the ruins of the Provincetown Playhouse will eclipse it.
Deborah Berke & Partners Architects LLPIn her artist's statement she relates her craft, in a way, to the work of historic preservation:
Opening Thursday May 21, 6:30-8:30pm
220 5th Avenue, 7th floor
New York, NY
212 229 9211
Open all summer 2009 by appointment
It is this evidence of disappearance that I desire to record in my photographs. I look to create images that incite the imagination to ask the question what could have happened here? and who left these traces? The photograph itself becomes a trace as the scene continues to change in time, as many of the locations are demolished or redesigned.I'd like to think that she conceptualizes recorded sound in similar ways. Among other audio treasures, Maria introduced me to the bass player Henri Texier: I remember very clearly the first time I heard him on her show. (It was one of those moments you drop what you're doing and call the station to see what's playing.) I'll forever be grateful -- and can't wait to see what visual treasures she's captured in her exhibit. If you want to listen to her radio shows online, click here.
The 2001 photo shown above, left, is of the now-demolished Thunderbolt roller coaster at Coney Island. At the website linked you'll find historical nuggets like this: "In the "American Experience" documentary Coney Island: A Documentary Film, Mae Timpano described her years living under and working at the Thunderbolt, 'We used to find teeth in the yard. We used to find wigs, glasses, guns. Everything we found in the yard ... nobody came back for them, though.'"
Some of the 'old boys,' however, could be seen yesterday in their spotless kid gloves and shiny ties making the rounds as solemnly as they did 30, 40, or 50 years ago . . . . In none of the brownstone districts yesterday were the familiar sights of other New Year's Days to be encountered . . . . Not even the acknowledgment of a basket for cards was shown either on Fifth or Madison avenue of the cross streets.
The "cards" mentioned here would be cartes-de-visite, small calling card-sized photos you wouldn't necessarily have used for everyday business but certainly would have pulled out to make the rounds of a New Year's Day. Even ordinary people had them made; they are quite common in archival collections related to the late nineteenth century and are quite fun to handle. Many people created elaborate frames or scrapbooks for them, like schooldays photo albums for grownups (though many parents had cards made for their children as well).
According to the City Gallery page on the topic,
By 1862, the fashion of "having one's likeness photographed upon his visiting card," according to Scientific American, had been modified into the custom of distributing dozens of small portraits among friends. Every young lady expected to receive photographs from a relative, a love interest or friend and then with the aggressiveness of a "lady beggar" as Vanity Fair put it, she besieges all of her acquaintances for personal photographs in order to form her collection. Cartes de visite were often autographed with a signature at the bottom of the card just below the image for handing out to guests by a variety of prominent persons such as politicians, reverends, actors and dancers.What to do with all the cards you might receive on New Year's Day? The St. Nicholas Magazine for Boys and Girls in 1877, in an article about homemade holiday gift ideas, we find these instructions for thrifty youngsters on how to make a receiver for cartes-de-visite, with accompanying illustration:
"For this you must procure from the tin-man a strip of tin three times as long as it is wide--say six inches by eighteen--with each end shaped to a point, as indicated in the picture. Measure off two bits of card-board of exactly the same size and shape; cover one with silk or muslin for a back, and the other with Java canvas, cloth, or velvet, embroidered with a monogram in the upper point, and a little pattern or motto in the lower. Lay the double coverings one on each side of the tin, and cross the outside one with narrow ribbons, arranged as in the picture. Overhand firmly all around; finish the top with a plaited ribbon and a little bow and loop to hang it by, and the bottom with a bullion fringe of the color of the ribbon."If Ephemeral New York's wish is granted and the old tradition of calling returns, maybe shutterfly or flickr could come up with a handy equivalent of the carte de visite form.