Classic photography-to see and (affordably) own

New York certainly never sleeps and is always changing. The proof: Berenice Abbott’s Changing New York, a collection of some 305 photographs from the mid-1930s that reveal a city recognizable but starkly different from the metropolis we know today.

Abbott began her signature project—now available online and for purchase (at economy-friendly prices) through the New York Public Library—in 1933 and eventually published it for New York World’s Fair in 1939. A wonderful example of straight photography (the photos resemble momentary glimpses from the window of a speeding taxi or train), Changing New York shows the age of familiar New York landmarks: The starkly modern American International Building rises behind a horse and buggy; downtown’s Art Deco towers are matched by the masts of a working ship; and elevated tracks pass by the Jefferson Market Courthouse. Abbott’s photographs were supposed to be a portrait of a city in rebirth, but now we can consider them history.

This post is from Observer Short List—an email of three favorite things from people you want to know. Sign up to receive OSL here.