New York City In The 1920s & 1930s As Seen By Airplane
A Vanished Skyline
When in lower Brooklyn, Queens or bicycling across the George Washington Bridge, I look at the New York City skyline. It has become something I do not recognize.
New York is a city that architecturally alters itself every year. It comes as no surprise that there are buildings that now obscure the sight of what were once tourist magnets.
The Woolworth, Bankers Trust, Equitable, Municipal, Citicorp and Chrysler Buildings are dwarfed by new neighbors. Fifty Seventh Street is now an ugly amalgamation of needle glass towers selling for $40 million to absentee owners.
I never experienced the grandeur of the classic Manhattan skyline. It had mostly vanished by the 1960s in a spate of modern construction in the financial district and midtown. However, even through the 1980s there was not an infestation of buildings that blocked New York’s most notable structures.
But in the past fifteen years the New York skyline has been overhauled. In the process obliterating the uniqueness of New York. New, mammoth unattractive buildings are now spreading like a fungus in the city. The skyline seen now could be Chicago, Los Angeles or Houston. It has been impossible to stop a bunch of undistinguished architectural monstrosities to destroy the vistas that made New York famous.
Let us return to the 1920s and 30s when New York City looked like NEW YORK CITY. Here are some aerial postcard views showing what was once a picturesque city.
Click on any image to enlarge as all of these postcards are real photo. I scanned many (not all) of them at 300 dpi so the detail is pretty clear when enlarged.
Looking north we have a fantastic overview of the entire southern portion of the island.
Another classic view when approaching Manhattan from the south showing the piers and many turn-of-the-century and art deco buildings that proliferate in lower Manhattan.
Looking east across the Hudson another at the southern tip of Manhattan. This view captures most of the important buildings in the financial district. Continue reading →