Celebrating the City

The Museum of the City of New York has come up with yet another wonderful photography exhibition, “Celebrating the City.” It mixes past and present, as well well-known photographers with newcomers whose visions of New York’s streets and neighborhoods are illuminating and often playful. The images are arranged by theme – Working, Shopping, Playing, etc. – rather than chronology, and capture quintessential New York moments. 

Double Trouble 1983, Jill Freedman

Untitled, (Two Women in Subway) 1979, Jamal Shabazz

Untitled (Four men in front of hat display)1982, Jamal Shabazz

Bree Darby, 2021, Mahtab Hussain

A striking portrait of Bree Darby also includes her thoughts about growing up part-Black, part-Indian and Muslim in the city. 

Woman and Taxi, 1982, Helen Levitt

An unfamiliar image by the great Helen Levitt – best known for her photographs of children playing in the streets of the city – is deliciously eternal. I’d love to have “Woman and Taxi” on my wall.

Untitled, 1996, Mitch Epstein 

The inside of a cop’s hat with a photograph of his girlfriend or wife inside, by Mitch Epstein, an early proponent of color photography as fine art, is unexpected and touching. 

Two Men in Chairs, 1939, Helen Levitt

Baseball Plie, 1982, Sylvia Plachy 

Willie, 1962, Ken Heyman

Over the years, The Museum of the City of New York has mounted exceptional photo exhibitions of New York-focused work, such as Stanley Kubrick’s early work as a black and white photographer. Now, its permanent collection has expanded, due to the recent donation to the Museum by Joy of Giving Something, Inc. (JGS), a nonprofit organization created by the late financier and collector Howard Stein to support the photographic arts by working in partnership with museums, schools, and community organizations. 

According to the Museum, “This transformational donation includes nearly 1,000 photographs with works by more than 40 photographers who are now represented in the permanent collection for the first time.” 

This is great news for all of us who love the city and love viewing its street life and landscapes through the lens of the world’s greatest photographers. 

Museum of the City of New York 
1220 Fifth Ave at 103rd Street 
Open Friday–Sunday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Text and photos by Eleanor Foa Dienstag 

About Eleanor Foa Dienstag (36 Articles)
Eleanor Foa Dienstag is a veteran author, journalist, photo-journalist and award-winning corporate writer. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Harper's, the New Republic, the New York Observer, Ms., Travel & Leisure, and many other websites and publications. Eleanor is the author of three books. Her most recent, available on Amazon and Centro Primo Levi is MIXED MESSAGES: Reflections on an Italian Jewish Family and Exile. It is a multi-layered memoir about Eleanor’s personal journey, her father’s exile from Fascist Italy and the Foa Family journey, whose Italian-Jewish roots go back to the 1500s in northern Italy where her ancestors were famous printers. WHITHER THOU GOEST: The Story of an Uprooted Wife, also a memoir, was acclaimed by Business Week for its insights into corporate life. Her third book, In Good Company: 125 Years At The Heinz Table, offered a unique view of a quintessential American company. Eleanor served as staff speechwriter to the Chairman and CEO of American Express. In 1983, she founded Eleanor Foa Associates (www.eleanorfoa.com). It provides a wide variety of corporate writing and marketing services. Eleanor is past president of the American Society of Journalists and Authors (ASJA), received speechwriting awards from IABC, and was awarded literary residencies at Yaddo, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA). She resides in Manhattan.