Cityscapes: A History of New York in Images

Author(s): Howard B. Rock, Deborah Dash Moore



Neither a conventional history of the city nor simply a collection of illustrations and photographs, this ground-breaking work weaves together diverse historical works—from political and economic analyses to ethnic and gender studies—with visual evidence from each period.

Through almost 800 images, Cityscapes tells the story of the city from its origins in the early seventeenth century through the end of the twentieth century. In lithographs, paintings, drawings, and broadsides, New York is portrayed as rising from a small Dutch outpost to a republican seaport whose life was framed by the American Revolution. The visual evidence changes to etchings, photographs, and lithographs as Cityscapes depicts a mid-nineteenth-century city torn by dislocations caused by a multiethnic society amid the turmoil of the industrial revolution. Documenting the turn of the last century, a wealth of photographs shows the new five-borough metropolis taking in waves of immigrants and portrays the evolution of the immigrant metropolis into the cosmopolitan city of mid-century. In its final chapter, Cityscapeslooks at the global village and takes stock of New York's role as the world economic and artistic capital of the late twentieth century.

This lavish volume shows how New York produced contemporary understandings of what makes a city, from a distinctive skyline, to a democratic street grid, to diverse ethnic neighborhoods. From the depths of poverty to the heights of conspicuous consumption, images of New York illustrate how we comprehend the urban past, and imagine its future.

Publication Information:

Publisher: Columbia University Press

Year of Publication: 2001