Oblivious to Berenice Abbott's camera, pedestrians at Union Square in New York City were photographed mid-stride on an especially sunny and warm day. Union Square has long been a center of commercial activity, as well as a busy intersection where people catch one of the many subway or bus lines that run along Lexington Avenue, Columbus or Broadway. While recording the intersection, Abbot also documented the area's prominent billboards and businesses.

Abbott's intention when making this photograph was not simply to record a place, but to convey the vitality of New York. Her work during this period parallels that of Walker Evans, who often photographed New York's hurrying pedestrians, advertisements, and varieties of architecture as evidence of popular culture.


  • Title: Union Square, Manhattan
  • Creator: Berenice Abbott
  • Date Created: July 16, 1936
  • Physical Dimensions: 19.7 × 24.8 cm (7 3/4 × 9 3/4 in.)
  • Type: Print
  • External Link: Find out more about this object on the Museum website.
  • Medium: Gelatin silver print
  • Terms of Use: Open Content
  • Number: 84.XM.222.2
  • Culture: American
  • Credit Line: The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles
  • Creator Display Name: Berenice Abbott (American, 1898 - 1991)
  • Classification: Photographs (Visual Works)

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