Book Review: New York, Line by Line: From Broadway to the Battery

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This is an art book done in line art by German illustrator Robinson (1910-1994). On the book jacket, it says he has created hundreds of thousands of drawings, not just for New York. That sounds incredible but not hard to believe when you go through the pages.

It was first published in 1967 and this is a very welcome reprint. Looking at the illustrations is like traveling back in time to 60s New York, Manhattan precisely. The impressive skyscrapers were already up, and the 60s cars are all still crowding the streets.

The aerial drawings of Manhattan are breathtaking in astonishing detail. There are many in the book. New York Line By Line only has 64 pages, but the format is huge, great for showing off the line art.

I've been to Manhattan on holiday before and these drawings gives me fond memories of the place. Many are from the exact spot where I stood. There are drawings from the top of Empire State Building, at Park Avenue, Chinatown, Grand Central Station, NY Public Library, Bryant Park, Radio City Music Hall, St. Patrick's Cathedral,Rockefeller Center, Time Square, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Central Park, Kennedy Airport and more.

Through the drawings, you can see how New York has changed with its people and landscape. Buildings at Time Square were just a few floors tall back then. Today, their top can't even be captured in photographs.

I like the last section where they compare numbers from the 60s New York with present day. There were 3000 shoe stores back then and now only 620. It's interesting to see how businesses have evolved through those numbers, many which changed drastically.

This is an impressive and astonishing book.

If you want to travel even further back in time, check out Denys Wortman's New York.

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New York, Line by Line: From Broadway to the Battery is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | ES | JP | CN) and Book Depository

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