a further focus on an urban view

Last September, in reclaiming the urban memory , myurbanist profiled legendary photographer Burton Holmes, his dramatic imagery, international travelogue presentations and the implications of his work for today’s urbanism.

Perhaps not surprisingly, Holmes’ urban chronicles also had a domestic element, which centered on the New York skyline, and his classic, breathtaking city view.

Bearing an apt explorer’s moniker, his New York apartment on the west side of Central Park was called “Nirvana”. Not unlike his depictions of urban scenes abroad, Holmes once described–and photographed– the “wondrous” perspective on city life looking out from his home base:

Some day I will attempt a lecture on New York City, a subject no lecturer possessed of half an eye or half a tongue could really fail to put across to an audience.

Thinking thus, I gaze from my own apartment windows which look down on Central Park. I see beyond that spacious playground…

Who in all the world could not be thrilled by such a sight as all this.

–Burton Holmes, as quoted by Genoa Caldwell in The Man Who Photographed the World, 1977

Under copyright of the Burton Holmes Historical Collection (BHHC), here is Holmes’ photo, surveying Central Park South, and, by special permission from BHHC, newly enhanced with dimensions of music and motion.

Our goal? To complement Holmes’ already remarkable words, images and urban portrayals, in order to further focus the senses on all that a city can be.

Original photograph ©2006 BHHC, enhanced by myurbanist. Restricted use. Do not copy.

revealing the nocturnal urban landscape

Quotations can often frame characteristics of successful cities, where five important qualities combine to create 24-hour, magnetic places.

When evening light and crowds merge to create a sense of safety, where walking and transit define mobility and proximity, if commerce goes on without the sun, then interaction of human personality and the built environment will succeed…

“Cities, like cats, will reveal themselves at night,” said the English poet, Rupert Brooke.

From around the world, consistent with Brooke, and indicative of safety, mobility, proximity, commerce and interaction, here is imagery which reveals the city at night.

[showtime]

An earlier, abbreviated perspective on “legendary darkness of a city night” appears here. For a related post on “Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED),” click here, and, as republished in Crosscut, here.