Download Imagining New York City: Literature, Urbanism, and the by Christoph Lindner PDF

By Christoph Lindner

Utilizing examples from structure, movie, literature, and the visible arts, this wide-ranging publication examines the importance of latest York urban within the city imaginary among 1890 and 1940. particularly, Imagining big apple City considers how and why convinced urban spaces-such because the skyline, the sidewalk, the slum, and the subway-have come to emblematize key features of the trendy city situation. In so doing, Christoph Lindner additionally considers the ways that cultural advancements within the past due 19th and early 20th centuries set the level for newer responses to various city demanding situations dealing with the town, akin to post-disaster restoration, the renewal of city infrastructure, and the remaking of public area.

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Additional resources for Imagining New York City: Literature, Urbanism, and the Visual Arts, 1890-1940

Example text

For Henry James, then, the effect of gazing at the skyline after returning home from his extended stay in Europe is to experience both wonder and unease: wonder at the vertical excess and extravagance; and unease at the unfamiliarity of this new and animated urban spectacle. Here, as in the much later narrations of Baudrillard and de Certeau, the result is a dual sense of excitement and estrangement. The difference, however, is that in James’s text the uncanny ultimately comes to dominate much more forcefully over the sublime.

49 And in glimpsing that future, writers like Trollope and Thoreau not only seem to anticipate the rise of the vertical city but, in the process, prefigure the even more extreme urban visions of late nineteenth- and early twentiethcentury writers. Indeed, once New York turns vertical, the experience of wonder and estrangement already evident in the prevertical narratives of Trollope and Thoreau becomes significantly accentuated in literary and other artistic representations of the skyline. One such representation occurs in Henry James’s early twentiethcentury travelogue The American Scene (1907).

During this period of rapid urban growth and development, encompassing the consolidation of the five Skylines 27 boroughs in 1898, New York’s physical appearance and character were radically transformed by the widespread construction of skyscrapers. As late as 1883, the neo-Gothic spire of Trinity Church on Broadway and Wall Street in Lower Manhattan remained the tallest completed structure in the city (figure 3). The spire is 284 feet tall. By 1900, however, more than ten new buildings exceeded this height, including the prominent Park Row and St.

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