Changing New York

Born in Springfield, Ohio, Berenice Abbott gained her fame in the 1920's as the photographer of Paris' cultural elite. In 1929 she returned to the states determined to apply the new learned techniques of documentary photography where you capture the reality of urban life and reveal what is beneath the surface of an ordinary experience. However, the stock market crashed just ten months after her arrival in New York City putting a damper on her intentions. It wasn't until the creation of the WPA's (Works Progress Administration) FAP (Federal Art Project) that Abbott was really able to do anything with her intended art project. With the financial help of the FAP, Abbott was able to start her project 'Changing New York' where through her photographs she hoped to preserve the architectural and social history of New York. Three main themes emerge from Abbott's project: the comparison of old and new Manhattan, New York's transportation infrastructure, and the role of small businesses. This gallery focuses on her theme of the role of small businesses where we see hardware stores, bakeries, restaurants and other small businesses that were the basis of the city's economy.

Traveling Tin Shop in Brooklyn - 1936.
Rothman's Pawn Shop at 149 Eighth Avenue in Manhattan - 1938.
Gunsmith at 6 Centre Market Place in Manhattan - 1937.
Bread Store at 259 Bleecker Street in Manhattan - 1937.
A&P Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company at 246 Third Avenue in Manhattan - 1936.
Milk Wagon and old houses at Grove Street, No. 4-10 in Manhattan - 1936.
Hardware Store at 316-318 Bowery at Bleecker Street in New York City - 1938.
 Snuff Shop at 113 Division Street in Manhattan - 1938.
West Washington Market at Washington Street and Loew Avenue in Manhattan - 1936.
Blossom Restaurant at 103 Bowery in Manhattan - 1935.
Billie's Bar at 56th Street and First Avenue in Manhattan - 1936.
Chicken market at 55 Hester Street in Manhattan - 1937.
Credits: All media
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