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"QUANTUM SHOT" #48(rev)
Link - by Avi Abrams

Marvel Age: The City of Superheroes

Skyscrapers looked more imposing, somehow, in the black-and-white photographs from a bygone era. Maybe it's the absence of the reflective glass facades with their false sky intervals and over-abundance of bland stone walls... Or maybe it's the (barely visible) spiderwebs spread between the towers by the energetic Peter Parker? Perhaps it's glamorous ladies entering a glitzy club, or the aromas emanating from a genuine Jewish Deli?.. Either way, New York of 1920s-1960s period is a very special place indeed:

(photos by Andreas Feininger and others, via)

If you want to see how it all started, click to enlarge this N.Y. skyline from 1908 on Shorpy site:

(image via Shorpy)

(1932 skyline, click to enlarge on Shorpy)

(1931 Gotham City skyline, click to enlarge on Shorpy, photo by Samuel Gottscho)

Thanks to the wonderful Lileks site, many old postcards have been preserved and proudly displayed with fascinating history attached. One thing to notice, is that the wonderful structures of that era seem to benefit from the open and uncluttered urban landscape of the time (less build-up, more parking lots, more empty space), easily commanding the attention they justly deserve.

The Lincoln Building

500 - Fifth Avenue

Rockefeller Center

(images credit: vintagephoto)

(image via, click to enlarge)

(for larger versions visit Shorpy - click here and here)

Good old traffic on Fifth Avenue, 1913 (fragment):

(image via, click to enlarge)

(images credit: vintagephoto)

The Building that stood before the World Trade Center:

Hudson Terminal Building covered two full square blocks and was every bit as massive as the World Trade Center towers built on the same space later. It was truly one of the largest office building in the world... Looks very imposing, almost on the verge of being oppressive:

Here it is again, with the surroundings:

(image via, click to enlarge - also see this)

100-year old skyscrapers: "still standing, and taller than anything in most towns":

Addams Express Building, 1914

This medium-sized (!) hotel "Edison" would've been perfect setting for Spiderman's climbing exercises:

(images courtesy: Lileks.com)

Now add some color!

Found through Skyscraper City display of the vintage color photographs of American cities, the exceptional Charles W. Cushman Collection shows New York in 1941 and 1960 - and it looks great, even with its gaudy "pulp-ish" color scheme.

It is also fascinating to compare the skylines of yesteryear with modern "commercial jungle" landscape:

(all photos via Charles W. Cushman Collection)

New York's Magic Today

Bright & often glamorous:

(images credit: Nicola Praderio)

(originals unknown)




Hellish Weather on Other Planets

Wild, Untamed, and Uncut

DRB Feel-Good Issue #33

Loads of cool and rare imagery

Medieval Suits of Armor

Metal Body Suits vs. Weapons of Medieval Destruction

"Dark Roasted Blend" - All Kinds of Weird and Wonderful Things, Discovered Daily!"

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Blogger Max Shelby said...

Love this series!

Blogger Guy said...

The picture of Fifth Avenue, 1913...can you imagine how bad the petrol fumes would have been?

Anonymous Tom said...

Brilliant article Avi and love those pics! New York is one awesome city!

Blogger Francesca said...

The blimp picture collage includes a blimp with the Nazi swastika on it...surely that's not in New York?

Anonymous Anonymous said...

kopapaka / www.palba.cz
quote: "Blogger Francesca said...
The blimp picture collage includes a blimp with the Nazi swastika on it...surely that's not in New York?"

Anonymous Fred said...

About the Blimp with a Nazi Swastika. The Hindenburg was a German airship after all. The Nazis were in power for several years before the war started and regular trade did take place so it's not too surprising to see a Swastika on a blimp.

Blogger Michele Hush said...

The Hotel Edison is still standing and seems to have been spiffed up in recent years. Also, a few of the black & white photos are by Samuel Gottscho. The Museum of the City of New York has many more in its digital collection. I just showcased a bunch of them on my blog - http://bit.ly/eqt5fk

Blogger Avi Abrams said...

Thank you Michele, credit adjusted, great info

Anonymous Darkhoodness said...

The ship in the 5th photo down is the "SS American Star" that was wrecked in the Canary Islands during the 1990s.



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