Yesterday I posted a series of film clips shot between 1896 and 1905, and urged readers familiar with the city to use the tools supplied with the video to imagine what those places look like today. Well, a reader, Barry Schiller, found a video in the YouTube list next to the one I had posted, titled “Once Upon a Time in New York,” that does just that – a video that places still shots of the same place and the same angle from the past and the present next to each other. You don’t have to know the city intimately to see what time has wrought. Some of the shots force us to recast our assumption (mine, at any rate) that New York has gotten uglier. That feeling might give rise to an internal debate on the influence of black & white versus color on one’s assessment of the relative allure of any given pair of shots. Whatever your conclusion, the juxtapositions are fascinating.
The new photos were taken by Cora Drimus in April of 2014, who conceived the idea for this video and edited it. The old photos come from a variety of sources, including shorpy.com, Facebook.com/OldNewYorkImages, and two books, both called New York Then and Now, by E.B. Watson and E.V. Gillon and by M. Reiss and E. Joseph, respectively.