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Cara Sutherland’s Bridges of New York City

I will return to work on Monday after a two-week long spring break during which I went on a number of largely successful photo shoots along the Harlem River.  I tried as best I could to take advantage of the time that I had off to capture some of the subjects that had remained on my to-do-list.  As is usually the case, variables such as poor weather, prevented me from checking all the subjects off my list but it was fun and successful break photographically, nonetheless.

Bridges of New York City

I also made time to do a bit of pleasure reading.  Cara A. Sutherland’s Bridges of New York City (2003) is a beautiful and richly informative book full of captivating black and white photographs of many of the city’s most significant spans.  As expected, most of the book is devoted to the iconic bridges of the East River – Brooklyn Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, (Ed Koch) Queensboro Bridge, Williamsburg Bridge – and the Hudson River’s George Washington Bridge.  To my surprise, however, she focuses on the history and significance of the Harlem River’s High Bridge as well as some of the city’s earliest spans, such as the King’s Bridge and Coles Bridge.  Moreover, some impressive photographs that I had never seen before of these bridges are included.  Attention is also given to the peripheral but vital Verrazano–Narrows Bridge in addition to the Bronx-Whitestone and Bayonne Bridges.

Sutherland’s book also has a selection of images taken by Berenice Abbott during the 1930s.

I must confess that before studying her photographs in this book, I had never given her iconic images much attention.  That has all changed now!  I was floored and hooked!   Impressed and humbled, I purchased Bernice Abbott: Changing New York, which has these and many other of her acclaimed and recognizable 1930-era photographs of New York City.

In sum, Sutherland’s book is highly recommended for NYC bridge and history enthusiasts!

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