Between 1935 and 1939, working for the Federal Art Project, Berenice Abbott photographed a city growing and changing with all the fervor that still lends New York its mythic stature. Bonnie Yochelson, who was Curator of Prints and Photographs at the Musem of the City of New York, created "Berenice Abbott: Changing New York" (The New Press, $60, 1565843770) out of the archives of that institution.
Yochelson sets the stage with a long and vivid introduction. Then come the photographs - hundreds of beautiful prints of New York that, despite the Depression, radiates the allure that has always made it seem like the true capitol of America.
The photographs range from the towers of the financial district seen through the rigging of a ship to office workers scurrying at Fifth Avenue and 44th, from a gasoline station in the Bronx to the view under the Second Avenue El. Families sit on stoops in Brooklyn; bankers tool toward Wall Street. There are extensive historical notes in the back.
This book is for lovers of photography, of architecture, of New York, of history. And it's for anyone who has walked the streets of New York and thought, "This place is half Gomorrah and half Disneyland. It's exactly how a city should be."
Reviewed by Michael Sims.