photography

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City Living, Features, photography, Restaurants, The urban lens

Diners of NYC, Riley Arthur, Diner photography

Metro Diner on Broadway and 100th Street

6sqft’s series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, Riley Arthur documents NYC’s vanishing diners. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

“There’s no comparison to a New York diner experience,” says photographer Riley Arthur, which is what led her to start documenting all of the establishments throughout the five boroughs. Though she recently moved from Astoria to Florida, over the past two-and-a-half years she’s photographed roughly 215 diners (“I’ve lost count,” she says), usually hitting 10-12 a day and ordering a matzo ball soup at each! Since she began, at least a dozen diners have closed, usually due to rising rents, but Riley still has about 60 left to photograph. She shares her journey on the popular Instagram account Diners of NYC, where you’ll see everything from the faux-stone and shiny metal facades to the greasy bacon and eggs to the massive plastic menus to the neon signs and leather banquettes. Riley shared a set of her snapshots with 6sqft and filled us in on her process and favorite spots.

See Riley’s photos here

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Features, photography, The urban lens, Williamsburg

Sweet Ruin, Paul Raphaelson, Domino Sugar Factory

All photos © Paul Raphaelson

6sqft’s series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, Paul Raphaelson takes us through the Domino Sugar Factory before its redevelopment got underway. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

The term “ruin porn” was born out of generations of street photographers venturing into neglected, decaying, and off-limits spaces, but today it’s become more of a mainstream trend to fluff one’s Instagram feed. So when Brooklyn-based artist Paul Raphaelson received the chance in 2013 to be the last photographer allowed into the then-abandoned Domino Sugar Factory, he knew he didn’t want his project to simply “estheticize surfaces while ignoring the underlying history.”

His stunning photos of the 135-year-old structure still “capture the sublime sense of spectacle,” but they also accompany archival maps, newspaper clippings, corporate documents, and even interviews with former Domino Sugar Factory employees, all of which come together in his new book “Brooklyn’s Sweet Ruin: Relics and Stories of the Domino Sugar Refinery.” Raphaelson shared his stunning images with us and also shared his thoughts on “urban exploration,” his process in compiling a comprehensive history of Domino, and his thoughts on the recently approved plans for the site.

See all Paul’s photos

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Features, photography, The urban lens

New York Resized, Jasper Leonard, tilt-shift photography, NYC aerial photography

6sqft’s series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, Jasper Leonard renders NYC in miniature in “New York Resized.” Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

Other than its apartments, New York City is not typically associated with the word “miniature,” especially when it comes to the skyline. But Belgium-based photographer Jasper Leonard, who says he “feels the need to reshape the way reality is exposed,” decided to turn this norm on its head with his photo series and newly released book “New York Resized.” Employing a unique tilt-shift technique and climbing up to rooftops, bridges, observatories, and helicopters to take a total of 23,000 photos, Leonard created a birds-eye perspective of NYC in which cars become tiny blips among the streets and people fade away in places like Grand Central and Central Park.

Hear from Jasper and see his photo series

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Features, Greenwich Village, History, photography, The urban lens

Greenwich Village waterfront, Jack Dowling, GVSHP archive, NYC 1970s, NYC pier collapse

Abandoned buildings along the Christopher Street Pier. Ca. 1974. © Jack Dowling Collection for GVSHP.

6sqft’s series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation shares a collection of archival images by Jack Dowling that documents the crumbling piers of Greenwich Village in the 1970s. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

The fetid smell of rotted wood and the Hudson River nearly rises from these photos of the sorry state of Greenwich Village’s collapsing piers in the 1970s. The contrast is stark between the neighborhood’s disinvested, abandonment, pictured here, and its current culture of high rents and pricey coffee shops. Among New York City’s main concerns when photographer Jack Dowling created, “Decay and Rebirth Along the Greenwich Village Waterfront in the 1970s,” were its murder rate and the looming threat of bankruptcy when these photos have taken; the city as a whole has changed drastically in the decades since.

The visible difference from the present is astounding

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Architecture, Features, Financial District, History, photography, The urban lens

In 1883, one of NYC’s first skyscrapers opened at the corner of Nassau and Beekman Streets. Known as Temple Court, the nine-story red brick and terra cotta structure was designed in the Queen Anne style by architect James M. Farnworth to attract accountants and lawyers who needed to be close to the city’s courthouses. Its most impressive feature was its central atrium that rises the full height and is topped by a large pyramid-shaped skylight and two rooftop turrets.

In the 1940s, this romantic atrium was walled in from top to bottom, and by 2001, the last commercial tenant moved out, ultimately sending the building into disrepair, a crumbling shell open to the elements. Plans to restore Temple Court into The Beekman hotel and add an adjacent 51-story condominium tower first surfaced in 2008, but before work got underway in 2012, we were granted the rare opportunity to explore the architectural gem in its eerily beautiful derelict state. And now that guests are filling up the 287 hotel rooms, the main floor is buzzing with restaurants from restaurateurs Tom Colicchio and Keith McNally, and the atrium’s skylight and Victorian cast iron railings and ornamentation have been restored, we went back in to document how this one-of-a-kind landmark has been restored.

See the before-and-after photos and learn about our experience

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Features, History, photography, The urban lens

Ice skating, Museum of the City of New York

Skaters at Sara D. Roosevelt Park, 1935. Courtesy New York City Parks Photo Archive

6sqft’s series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, we take a look back at New York City’s ice skating history just days before the Museum of the City of New York’s “New York on Ice” exhibit opens to the public. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

There are few New York winter activities more iconic than ice skating. The rink, the blades, the gliding people attempting to balance – the elements of the pastime are minimal, and so the pictures of it over the centuries are not so very different despite the decades.

On view this Wednesday through April 2018, the Museum of the City of New York will be hosting an exhibit titled “New York on Ice: Skating in the City” featuring many of the images below of ice skating in NYC from the 1800s to the present day. In addition to paintings, postcards, and vintage photographs, the exhibit will also showcase costumes, posters, and more.

See the collection

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Features, Green Design, photography, Sunset Park, The urban lens

Sims Municipal Recycling Facility, Sunset Park, recycling plants, NYC recycling

All photographs © James and Karla Murray for 6sqft

6sqft’s series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, we take a look at the inner workings of Sunset Park’s Sims Municipal Recycling Facility, from trash heaps to machinery to a learning center. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

The beauty of trash is not often lauded, but out on the Brooklyn waterfront, at Sunset Park’s Sims Municipal Recycling Facility, the process is oddly mesmerizing. En masse, the glass and plastic shards processed in the building’s bowels become a disposable rainbow, the sharp shapes of residential recyclables a testament to the mesmerizing aesthetic of large-scale sustainability.

Sims is located on the 11-acre 30th Street Pier, which also contains the city’s first commercial-scale wind turbine. On Sims’ second story is a recycling education center; surrounding its exterior are a number of nature-harboring reefs, moorings, and native plants; and on the roof is an observation deck. The plant sorts 800 tons of recyclables on 2.5 miles worth of conveyor belts and machines daily, the majority of NYC’s “commingled curbside material,” its site proudly purports. In total, the plant processes 200,000 tons of plastic, glass, and metal a year. Ahead, take a look at the Sims world, where trash is heaped so high it really does look like treasure if you squint.

Take a tour

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Celebrities, Features, Greenwich Village, GVSHP, History, People, photography, The urban lens

The Urban Lens: From Bob Dylan to Jack Kerouac, see rare photos of the Village’s Beat Generation

By Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation, Thu, December 7, 2017

© Estate of Fred W. McDarrah

Perhaps no single photographer could be said to have captured the energy, the cultural ferment, the reverberating social change emanating from New York City in the second half of the 20th century as vividly as Fred W. McDarrah. McDarrah got his start covering the downtown beat of the Village Voice in the 1950s and ’60s, as that publication was defining a newly-emerged breed of independent journalism. McDarrah penetrated the lofts and coffeehouses of Lower Manhattan to shed light upon a new movement known as “The Beats” and went on to capture on film the New York artists, activists, politicians, and poets who changed the way everyone else thought and lived.

Through the generosity of the Estate of Fred W. McDarrah and the McDarrah family, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation was fortunate enough to add to its digital archive a dozen of the most epochal of Fred McDarrah’s images of downtown icons, including Andy Warhol, Bob Dylan, Jane Jacobs, and Allen Ginsberg. And just in time for the holidays, you can purchase your own copy (with all proceeds benefitting GVSHP!).

Learn the story behind all the photos

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Features, History, holidays, photography, The urban lens

black friday, nyc holiday shopping, library of congress

Christmas shoppers on 6th Avenue (1910) via Library of Congress

Black Friday marks the start of frantic holiday shopping, the day when retailers offer their best deals of the season to lure in eager shoppers. While some gift-givers now choose to digitally add items to shopping carts from the comfort of bed instead, many still line up outside of stores at the crack of dawn in search of major discounts. This is not a modern phenomenon, as these photographs from the Library of Congress of 20th century New York City reveal. Like today, New Yorkers of the early 1900s were drawn to the magical window shops and displays. Ahead, explore vintage photos of shoppers browsing New York City stores looking for the perfect presents, postcards and more.

See the photos here

Featured Story

Features, History, photography, The urban lens

Wayne Sorce, Joseph Bellows Gallery, NYC 1970s, NYC 1980s, NYC photography

Dave’s Restaurant, New York, 1984. © Wayne Sorce courtesy of the Joseph Bellows Gallery

6sqft’s series The Urban Lens invites photographers to share work exploring a theme or a place within New York City. In this installment, the Joseph Bellows Gallery shares the late Wayne Sorce’s “Urban Color” series. Are you a photographer who’d like to see your work featured on The Urban Lens? Get in touch with us at [email protected].

Chicago-born photographer Wayne Sorce began capturing the people and places of urban landscapes while at the Art Institute of Chicago in the 1960s. In the late ’70s and early ’80s he took large-scale color photos of his hometown and New York, capturing “a formal exactitude, the light, structures, and palette of these cities within a certain era,” according to a press release from the Joseph Bellows Gallery in L.A. where this “Urban Color” series is currently on view. Not only do the vivid colors help express the spirit of the city at this time, but the way Sorce incorporates people exposes a unique energy in which they serve as “both inhabitants, as well as sculptural forms relating to a larger composed scene.” From Manhattan barbershops and restaurants to the gritty, industrial streets of Vinegar Hill, Brooklyn, the photos transport the viewer to a bygone NYC.

See all of Sorce’s photos here

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