Henry Hudson Parkway looking west to New Jersey, 1974
West Side Highway at Canal Street, 1974
West Side Highway at 18th Street looking east, 1974
West Side Highway at 17th Street looking east, 1974
West Side Highway at Gansevoort Street, 1974
West Village, October 6, 1974
April 13, 2020
Photographs are like time machines. They capture a moment, they remind you of the past, and they can transport you into the future. In the autumn of 1974 I began photographing the western edge of Manhattan, from Riverside Park to the World Trade Center. From Times Square, heading south, I strolled the elevated West Side Highway, accessible then to only pedestrians and bicyclists. My goal was to discover unusual forms while documenting a time and place.
Forty-five years later, the west side has undergone an extraordinary transformation, with luxury apartments, mega galleries and the Whitney replacing warehouses, garages and parking lots. The HIGH LINE, a former freight rail just one block east, is now a global tourist destination. On the piers, the ARMORY SHOW attracts thousands, rubbing elbows with passengers arriving from the nearby cruise ships.
Revisiting my old negatives, I have come to realize that what was once a diary of a peaceful journey on a Sunday afternoon can now be seen as a harbinger of solitude and silence on a Monday morning.
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