NYC Grid has quite an entrancing photo series that can have you staring for hours. For the uninitiated, NYC Grid is “an exploration and documentation of New York neighborhoods- street by street and block by block.” Since moving to New York City nine years ago, Paul Sahner found himself wandering through the metropolis, taking random photos and videos, but with no intention or purpose in mind for the images.
He eventually decided to use that undertaking for the NYC Grid site. Each post at NYC Grid focuses on one block at a time. Sahner says, “for example: 26th street between 8th and 9th avenues, or Ludlow between Grand and Broome where I will attempt to document anything of interest, be it architectural, cultural, or just a good place to get a burrito.”
For now, the site has a remarkable series of then and now composite photographs. Each image is of an intersection or landmark or a recognizable structure in the Big Apple. He then overlays it with a photo from the past, as far back at times as a century ago. The viewer has the option to slide back and forth between the two identically framed images, but shot many decades apart. It is quite a captivating project that will have you engrossed for hours.
Here are excerpts from his comments on the Union Square West composite image,
“For over 100 years, the northwest corner of Union Square has stood out thanks to its block of six narrow buildings. Appearing not unlike a bar graph, each building rises to a unique height, ranging from one flight up to sixteen. The most storied tower is perhaps The Decker Building – the second from the left in the photo above. Built in the late 19th Century, The Decker originally had a minaret crowning the top. I can’t find any firm date, but most sources indicate that it “disappeared” sometime before World War II. “Disappeared” is a strange word for something that must have been documented and observed as being removed. This building was the site of the 1968 shooting of Andy Warhol, which he just barely survived.”
Other composite images appearing are: Gramercy Park West, Manhattan Bridge Archway & Colonnade, 23 Wall Street, Bowling Green, New York Savings Bank on 14th Street & 8th Avenue, Park Avenue and Lever House, Sutton Place, and the Racquet and Tennis Club, just to name a few from the absorbing collection.