01 January 2009

So a few years ago I had an idea to do a "Then and Now" type book to add to my collection of historical Bay Ridge photo books. I reached out to Brian Merlis and Lee Rosenzweig who'd recently published "Bay Ridge and Fort Hamilton: A Photographic Journey" and told them my idea. Now, I don't know about you guys but every time I look at those books the FIRST thing I think of is "Oh wow, what's there now?". Its like getting your bearings to visualize a photo of Shore Road from 1890 by thinking of what's there currently.

So duh - I realized no one had done this yet and I figured it would be brilliant. On one page you'd have the photo of 75th and 3rd in 1910 in black and white and on the next page would 75th and 3rd circa right now. Then my dreams were shattered. I had a cool idea but no old pictures. Apparently in order to publish these old neighborhood books you have to either own the old prints or be part of the historical society or whatever it was. Now I wasn't looking to make money off the idea I just thought it would be something cool to immortalize and appreciate. But sans the rights to the old photos, I was shit outta luck. "Oh, vell", life moved on.

A few years later I saw that still no one had done my idea of a "Then and Now" and I secretly started a blog in January. Bay Ridge: Then and Now . I figured fuck it. I'd just scan the old pics from the other books and then take my own color new photos. I did a bunch but I was too busy and never got around to posting it and so the framework for my brilliant new blog just sat there like a Maybach in a garage.

Fast forward to about a week ago, I get an email from a woman named Lynn from Arcadia Publishing. Arcadia does (among other things) all those old neighborhood books you see in the bookstores. So Lynn came across my blog, Gotham City Insider not the aborted one, and told me about the book and asked if I'd be interested in reviewing it. "Of course", I said, "send it STAT". And so she did. And here it is. My idea as brought to life by somebody else. haha. Hey, great minds think alike, what can I say...

Its not officially out yet, I believe it comes out in mid-January but I'm sure I don't have to urge any of you guys to pick it up. If this is your thing, its your thing... check it out... I give it four out of five stars - just because I would have liked to see the "now" pics in color to juxtapose the "then" pics in B&W but other than that, its flawless.

Then & Now: Bay Ridge


Then & Now - Bay Ridge
by Peter Scarpa and Lawrence Stelter for the Bay Ridge Historical Society

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