chapter  10
14 Pages

‘A sense, through the eyes, of embracing possession’ (Henry James): Bird’s-eye views of New York City, 1880s–1930s


Near the end of the nineteenth century – and some twenty years before New York’s international career took off – bird’s-eye and other distanced overviews were circulating quite widely and helping to define the city’s identity and even its iconic future in some cases.1 These overviews, whether imaginary or made from across the bay or from the new tall buildings, pictured the city through discrete as well as mixed media.