The Future Is Now

by Don Friedman on December 1, 2015

I’m hard-pressed to think of a picture that shows the future arriving more dramatically than this:

(Click on the picture for a very large version.)

That is a panorama of New York’s City Hall Park in 1913, with south/southwest to the far left and northeast to the far right. On the left you’ve got the 1880 General Post Office with the just-completed Woolworth Building behind it, City Hall is in the center, and on the right is the Brooklyn Bridge train terminal with the about-to-be-completed Municipal Building behind it. Oh yeah: two of those new aeroplanes in the center.

Except maybe it’s not quite real. The description says that the planes and Municipal Building were “spliced into [the] negative.” I’m not sure if that means this is a complete fake or if work was done to make several negatives into a panorama. Underhill was a serious photographer, so it’s hard to believe it’s a fake.

I’m sorry to say that we’ve only worked on one building in the photo: the Emigrant Savings Bank just below the right-hand plane.

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