icons of gotham
These beautiful water towers have long resided in my subconscious as a native new york street kid. I never really paid attention to them as they, among other iconic architectural structures were simply a part of my natural environment growing up but yesterday, after randomly looking up…I felt it was time to give them their spotlight.
There are only two companies in the city that manufacture them, Rosenwach Tank Company and Isseks Brothers. Most of the tanks we see today are more than 30 yrs old and that makes distinguishing old from new difficult as they are still constructed of wood that isn’t painted or chemically treated (for obvious reasons). The wooden tanks can hold 10,000 gallons of water, cost around $30 G’s and have a 30-35 yr life span depending on the elements.
I didn’t think much of this woman when I shot the scene, I was really out to capture the beautiful mid afternoon sunlight kissing fifth avenue. It was only when I developed and scanned this negative that I realized what I had captured. The slight tilt of her head screamed “I look down on you!” coupled with the fur coat and expensive boutique purchase gave this seemingly ordinary woman a little taste of the condescending manhattanite persona…you could almost smell the pretentiousness a mile away. Is it all smoke and mirrors, I’ll never know.
wednesday moment of zen. | hasselblad 500cm portra 400
the gemsbok 5
the diorama display at the Museum of Natural History is by far the most exciting section of the facility. These displays are truly masterfully done, at the hands of a legendary scene painter, James Perry Wilson, justifiably named the Raphael of the animal diorama. These were originally completed back in 1942 and just recently have undergone an extensive restoration. Upon viewing them from afar and up close, there is a great “tie in” between the beautifully executed 2d painted landscapes and the 3 dimensional mammals. Though the animal skins are all real, and usually taken from the very site depicted, the grasses and leaves and trees that surround them are made of plastics, plasters, paper, and beeswax, painstakingly molded and painted and pinned together. I’ve always wanted to do a series on these and so, last week, I went back along with my trusty hasselblad to do these great exhibits justice in a classic portrait style format.
So, you may be wondering why there is a giant Pepsi Cola sign here in this area. Well, for starters, it proudly sat above the roof of the Mavis Bottling Plant back in 1935 when Charles Guth, who started the Pepsi Cola Company back in 1931 in Delaware decided to purchase the botting company amid booming sales. The original factory which sat on the property now occupied by these twin tower luxury condos was demolished back in 1999. The sign itself was declared a landmark and saved from sharing the same fate of its former home. Exactly ten years later, around late February 2009, the sign was restored letter by letter to the area that would mark its final resting place. At night, it is brightly lit up in ruby red, a glowing beacon of history that can be seen across the river from manhattan. Below is a pre-demolition stock photo of the plant as it was.
pepsi cola factory
the new pollution
Thought I’d share some new work, right now I’m doing an ongoing large format series covering the development of my neighborhood, specifically Long Island City. Within the last ten years, there has been a steady rise in hi rise luxury condos, such as the buildings you see pictured, in an effort to bring in a new era of gentrification to a part of New York that was severely neglected up until the late 90′s. The L.I.C. waterfront area, home to some of the few remaining Float Gantry Cranes are fortunately preserved here in Gantry Plaza State Park.
chamonix 45n-2 4×5 portra 160