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Has There Ever Been a More Spectacular City Than New York?

 New York, the Big Apple, has always been a spectacular city of larger than life characters. One of the greatest periods in the history of the metropolis came just after the Second World War when the US economy was driving America towards its status as the world’s leading nation. During this special time (1945-1960), photographer Todd Webb captured the real essence of New York with a marvelous collection of fascinating black and white photos.
 
 
Click on images to enlarge
LaSalle Street and Amsterdam Avenue, Harlem (1946)
New York, retronaut, black and white, photographySource: Museum of the City of New York/Todd Webb Archive
From Empire State Building, looking southeast (1946)
New York, retronaut, black and white, photographySource: Museum of the City of New York/Todd Webb Archive
125th Street (1946)
New York, retronaut, black and white, photographySource: Museum of the City of New York/Todd Webb Archive
In 1945, at the age of 40, Todd Webb was discharged from his position in the Navy and decided to move to New York City. 
125th Street, Harlem (1946)
New York, retronaut, black and white, photographySource: Museum of the City of New York/Todd Webb Archive
3rd Avenue El looking south from Fulton Street Station (1948)
New York, retronaut, black and white, photographySource: Museum of the City of New York/Todd Webb Archive
East 7th Street (1946)
New York, retronaut, black and white, photographySource: Museum of the City of New York/Todd Webb Archive
He had become seriously interested in photography in the year 1942 after he took a class with Ansel Adams and met Alfred Stieglitz who encouraged Todd to devote his energies to photographing New York as it underwent a post-war boom.
Fulton Fish Market wharf (1946)
New York, retronaut, black and white, photographySource: Museum of the City of New York/Todd Webb Archive
Watching Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (1946)
New York, retronaut, black and white, photographySource: Museum of the City of New York/Todd Webb Archive
Tenements and Graveyard from Chatham Square El Station (1946)
New York, retronaut, black and white, photographySource: Museum of the City of New York/Todd Webb Archive
While spending his nights sleeping in photographer Harry Callahan’s kitchen, he spent his day running around the city trying to capture the architecture and street life of the Big Apple.
125th Street, Harlem. Whisk broom salesman (1946)
New York, retronaut, black and white, photographySource: Museum of the City of New York/Todd Webb Archive
The Battery (1945)
New York, retronaut, black and white, photographySource: Museum of the City of New York/Todd Webb Archive
3rd Avenue from 42nd Street El Station (1945)
New York, retronaut, black and white, photographySource: Museum of the City of New York/Todd Webb Archive
He spent a lot of his time meeting other like-minded photographers and artists who had made the city their home, such as Lisette Model, Georgia O’Keefe, Gordon Parks, and Berenice Abbott.
Maise, Queen of the Bowery (1946)
New York, retronaut, black and white, photographySource: Museum of the City of New York/Todd Webb Archive
125th Street and Broadway, Harlem (1946)
New York, retronaut, black and white, photographySource: Museum of the City of New York/Todd Webb Archive
104th Street (1946)
New York, retronaut, black and white, photographySource: Museum of the City of New York/Todd Webb Archive
His first New York exhibition, entitled ‘I See a City’ was held at the Museum of the City of New York in 1946.
Sixth Avenue between 43rd and 44th Streets 1/4 (1948)
New York, retronaut, black and white, photographySource: Museum of the City of New York/Todd Webb Archive
Sixth Avenue between 43rd and 44th Streets 2/4 (1948)
New York, retronaut, black and white, photographySource: Museum of the City of New York/Todd Webb Archive
Sixth Avenue between 43rd and 44th Streets 3/4 (1948)
New York, retronaut, black and white, photographySource: Museum of the City of New York/Todd Webb Archive
You can see some of Webb’s most notable images back on display at MCNY until September 4th 2017 in a new exhibition entitled ‘A City Seen: Todd Webb’s Postwar New York 1945-1960.’
 
Sixth Avenue between 43rd and 44th Streets 4/4 (1948)
New York, retronaut, black and white, photographySource: Museum of the City of New York/Todd Webb Archive
Suffolk and Hester Streets (1946)
New York, retronaut, black and white, photographySource: Museum of the City of New York/Todd Webb Archive
Third Avenue and Bowery (1946)
New York, retronaut, black and white, photographySource: Museum of the City of New York/Todd Webb Archive
"Life goes on about me, and I am a living breathing part of it. I feel things, the people, the buildings, the streets, and I have something to say about them and my medium is photography."
Todd Webb, August 5, 1946
Times Square sign painter (1946)
New York, retronaut, black and white, photographySource: Museum of the City of New York/Todd Webb Archive
Greenwich Village (1946)
New York, retronaut, black and white, photographySource: Museum of the City of New York/Todd Webb Archive
Near Fulton Fish Market (1946)
New York, retronaut, black and white, photographySource: Museum of the City of New York/Todd Webb Archive
T'hey stood in a row and I asked them to just stand as though they were talking. The boy who seemed to be the leader said with an eastside accent, ‘Oh, you mean nonchalant. OK guys, get nonchalant.’ It sounded funnier than it reads".
Todd Webb, April 20, 1946
Mott Street (1948)
New York, retronaut, black and white, photographySource: Museum of the City of New York/Todd Webb Archive
Third Avenue (1946)
New York, retronaut, black and white, photographySource: Museum of the City of New York/Todd Webb Archive
Orchard Street (1946)
New York, retronaut, black and white, photographySource: Museum of the City of New York/Todd Webb Archive
"New York is now home to me. I can’t imagine living anyplace else".
Todd Webb, December 28, 1946
Amsterdam Avenue near 125th Street (1946)
New York, retronaut, black and white, photographySource: Museum of the City of New York/Todd Webb Archive
New York Stock Exchange from Old Treasury Building (1959)
New York, retronaut, black and white, photographySource: Museum of the City of New York/Todd Webb Archive
37th Street (1946)
New York, retronaut, black and white, photographySource: Museum of the City of New York/Todd Webb Archive
"This time I have been able to give myself in New York has been wonderful — I wouldn’t have missed it for anything, and I have no regrets at having depleted my savings. I feel like I needed a year to start what is really a new life…."
Todd Webb, April 3, 1946
Sixth Avenue (1946)
New York, retronaut, black and white, photographySource: Museum of the City of New York/Todd Webb Archive
Source: Mashable.com
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