New York then and now

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Broad Street looking toward the New York Stock Exchange. (Cora Drimus)

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,, 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.

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About David Brussat

For a living, I edit the writing of some of the nation's leading architects, urbanists and design theorists. This blog was begun in 2009 as a feature of the Providence Journal, where I was on the editorial board and wrote a weekly column of architecture criticism for three decades. Architecture Here and There fights the style wars for classical architecture and against modern architecture, no holds barred. My freelance writing and editing on that topic and others addresses issues of design and culture locally and globally. I am a fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, and a member of the board of the New England chapter of the Institute of Classical Architecture & Art, which bestowed an Arthur Ross Award on me in 2002. I work from Providence, R.I., where I live with my wife Victoria, my son Billy and our cat Gato. If you would like to invest your prose with even more style and clarity, please email me at my consultancy,, or call 401.351.0457. Testimonial: "Your work is so wonderful - you now enter my mind and write what I would have written." - Nikos Salingaros, mathematician at the University of Texas, architectural theorist and author of many books.
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One Response to New York then and now

  1. Amazing blog! I look forward to following.


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