New York

Underneath the Bridge


So on the right of these images from NEW YORK CHANGING: REVISITING BERENICE ABBOTT’S NEW YORK (Princeton Architectural Press, 2004), in which Douglas Levere masterfully revisits the sites of Abbott’s magnificent photographs, there stands the sturdy little building at 2297 Riverside Drive—in unhappy, sunstruck 1937 (top), home to two wholesale meat dealers; as of shook-up 2002 (bottom), home mainly to the shades of Gus Buxbaum and Mike Vitolo. The barrel-vaulted iron viaduct dominating the view from their filthy upper windows seems to have outlived the monolithic gasworks to its left, torn down in 1961, bang smash sizzle, to make room for a housing project. It didn’t though, not permanently. They are like two great orchestral chords, these viaducts: having rusted into a public menace, the first one was bang-smash-sizzled into its almost replica in 1987. Few of the details match. And those pale, overpainted trucks—they’re like ghosts too.

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