When a Neighborhood Fell, and Barely Made a Sound

Published: June 19, 2005

IN 1966, a swath of Lower Manhattan faced a demolition job of staggering
magnitude. Over the next year, whole streets were slated to disappear,
and did, along with the cast-iron "Bartleby the Scrivener"-era buildings
that lined them, housing printing lofts and importers, tanneries and
produce stalls. More than 24 city blocks would be razed to allow for a
wave of development that included an access ramp for the Brooklyn
Bridge, the expansion of Pace University, and office buildings, shops
and housing.


More immediately, 9/11 has rewritten the context of the photographs.
After the destruction of the World Trade Center, there was renewed
interest in exhibiting his images, but Mr. Lyon initially resisted. "I
thought it would be in bad taste to do it at the time, so I waited," he
said. Then, the reissue of the book by Powerhouse prompted the Museum of
the City of New York to seek an exhibition of the complete set of
vintage prints, which were lent to the museum by a private collector.