Lamps and building

I'm always on alert for interesting architectural photos when I’m walking in New York City. 

Through the years I’ve captured a variety of what I consider to be intriguing scenes: shots that contrast new glass-and-steel architecture with older brick buildings; shots that focus on shadows cast on aging brick by metal fire escapes; shots of buildings reflected by other buildings.

I’m always looking for lines and angles, shapes and contrasts.

On this day I was wandering through lower Manhattan near the Brooklyn Bridge after a day of meetings when my attention was drawn to the vintage cast-iron twin street lamp posts lining Park Row. I thought a lamp post could make an interesting photo if I could find the proper background so I spent some time walking up and down Park Row surveying scenes.

I grabbed a few photos of lamps in front of light-colored block buildings that I knew would work well in black and white. Then I saw this lamp standing in front of a red brick building on the corner of Beekman Street and Park Row. I liked how the vintage light complemented the lines and architecture of the century-old structure so I snapped a few shots of it, including this one that became my photo of the week.

I later learned that the building in the background is the Potter Building at 38 Park Row. The building was completed in 1886 and was declared a New York City Landmark in 1996.

Many of the twin street lamps along Park Row date to the 1930s, old by today’s standards but still half a century younger than the building in the background.

Each week I will post a photo from my collection with an explanation of how I got the shot. Previous photos of the week are in the archives.


Date/time: Sept. 23, 2008, 5:52 p.m.  
Location: 40°42’42.737” N 74°0’23.387” W (Show in Google Maps)  
Camera: Canon EOS 40D  
Lens: Canon EF 28-135 (135mm) 
Aperture: f/5.6
Shutter: 1/60th second
ISO: 400