I found a striking shot, recently, of Sixth Avenue — a.k.a “Avenue of the Americas” — taken from the vantage point of about West 51st Street looking south (that’s it above). I feel quite remiss in admitting that I didn’t glean the photographer’s name, nor the year it was snapped. What’s notable about this photograph is the fact that the scene seems mysteriously bereft of any signs of life, and there’s only a few cars parked along the sides of the avenue, recalling the eerie, post-apocalyptic desolation of films like 1959's "The World, The Flesh and The Devil." Judging from the style of the automobiles, it was probably taken at some point in the 70’s (probably in the early morning), but I just don’t know, unfortunately.
ADDENDUM: Loyal reader/excellent friend Chung Wong wrote in to solve the mystery. The black and white photo above was taken by Thomas Struth in 1978.
I was drawn to it not only for its clean, stark symmetry and its lonely, haunting vibe, but also because I spent a wide swathe of my life working on both sides of this particular patch of Manhattan real estate (specifically at LIFE Magazine and TIME Magazine on the right and MSN and NBC over on the left). As such, this neighborhood will always have a special resonance for me ... for better or worse.
In any case, I attended part one of a two-part high school reunion last night that found me trudging up this very strip. Upon crossing the street, it occurred to me that I was walking past the same vantage point, approximately. As such, I stopped and tried to replicate the shot.
Now, granted, that picture was taken in broad daylight with no one around while mine was taken on a rainy night, teeming with activity, but here’s my version below.
I’m quite pleased with it, actually.