Larry Silver’s Striking Black-and-White Photos of Postwar New York City Life

By
Share:

Bronx-born photographer Larry Silver’s black-and-white photos of postwar New York City life reveal a metropolis in transition. We see a different skyline, before the original Pennsylvania Station was demolished and the United Nations Headquarters was a newly erected building. Nearly 50 of those images are now part of an exhibition at the New-York Historical Society that is open through December 4.

“Larry Silver’s work opens a window into a New York City that no longer exists,” Marilyn Satin Kushner, Curator and Head, Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections at the New-York Historical Society says. “His photographs convey the spirit of the post-World War II era, of a city rebuilding after years at war and transforming into the metropolis we know today. Though they were taken decades ago, there is also something familiar in the faces Silver captured. It’s an energy New Yorkers will recognize.”

Silver also had a skill for capturing the city’s setting through the experiences and expressions of young people during a time when the threat of polio, a crippler of children, still loomed and families were making an exodus to the suburbs. See a preview of Photographs by Larry Silver, 1949-1955 in our gallery.

©Larry SilverChildren on United Nations Construction Pile, 1951 Gelatin silver printGift of William and Jeryl SilversteinCollection of the New-York Historical Society, published with permission

©Larry SilverBoy on Rooftop, 1951Gelatin silver printGift of William and Jeryl SilversteinCollection of the New-York Historical Society, published with permission

©Larry SilverRaft, New York Botanical Garden, 1950Gelatin silver printGift of William and Jeryl SilversteinCollection of the New-York Historical Society, published with permission

©Larry SilverMacy’s Parade, 1951Gelatin silver printGift of William and Jeryl SilversteinCollection of the New-York Historical Society, published with permission

©Larry SilverManhattan Backyard, 1952Gelatin silver printGift of William and Jeryl SilversteinCollection of the New-York Historical Society, published with permission

©Larry SilverNearby Eggs, 1952Gelatin silver printGift of William and Jeryl SilversteinCollection of the New-York Historical Society, published with permission