I Love New York

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Midtown Manhattan. Drawing, black ink on paper, 1980s? The Connecticut Historical, Gift of the Richard Welling Family, 2012.284.5733

Artist Richard Welling loved to drawing buildings, especially very large buildings. He was therefore drawn to cities, and his two favorite cities were Hartford, Connecticut and New York City. His drawings chronicling the construction of the World Trade Center are today at the New-York Historical Society, but some of his other New York drawings came to the Connecticut Historical Society with the contents of his studio in 2012. Like Welling, I’m a Connecticut native, but for almost ten years I worked in New York, commuting daily on Metro-North like many other Connecticutians. Welling’s view of the Manhattan skyline looking north over Forty-Second Street is one that I can relate to. The New York Public Library where I used work appears in the foreground. Welling could make Hartford look every bit as glamorous as New York City, and understanding his fascination with New York helps to explain his enthusiasm for the sweeping changes that were transforming Hartford during the late twentieth century.

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New York City in the 1970s

Richard Welling. Times Square, New York City. 2012.284.694.

Richard Welling. Times Square, New York City. 2012.284.694.

Despite not being alive in the 1970s and having only spent a limited amount of time in New York City, photographs of it in the ‘70s are some of my favorite things on earth. (Actually, really any photos from ‘70s do it for me; the Environmental Protection Agency’s 1972-1978 project, Documerica, is one of the most awesome collection of photographs ever. It was originally conceived as a way of documenting subjects of environmental concern across the United States, and while it does do that, it also seems to capture the spirit of the decade. I think. I wasn’t there.) So, Richard Welling, who I’ve written about before, was into the architecture of New York City and photographed it with his SX-70 Polaroid camera in the 1970s. Continue reading

Fire at Sea!: The Steamer Lexington Disaster

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Hartford lithographers D. W. Kellogg & Co. published this view of the doomed Lexington sometime after Nathaniel Currier’s print was released. Survivors can be seen clinging to floating debris in the foreground. 2003.263.0

Problems seem to be plaguing the passenger ship business these days, whether it be the tragic loss of the Costa Concordia off Italy or the seemingly endless string of mechanical failures that have turned several recent pleasure cruises into anything but.

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