Link -

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)

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)

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)




Visual Caffeine #8
Visual Caffeine, Issue 8

A thrilling blend of art, myths and technology

Visual Caffeine #7
Visual Caffeine, Issue 7

A thrilling blend of art, myths and technology

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Imperial Dreams: Art Deco Update

Wings, Gears, & Glamorous Ladies

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DRB Pics-of-the-Day

Grand Space Adventure 1970s Art

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the 9th one from the top, where traffic is actually stoping for a pedestrian. Wow, what an age...

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Notice the people. They are all thin and scrawny looking.


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