The shadowy corners of a city street in 1930

“Corner Shadows,” by printmaker Martin Lewis, depicts a Depression-era city of lamp light, back streets, and regular New Yorkers absorbed in their own thoughts, even in a crowd.


It’s not clear what corner of the city we’re on, but the drugstore across the way hints that it’s ordinary and nondescript, a working class neighborhood perhaps.

Look close, and you can see ads for Ex-Lax, soda, and seltzer, plus a counter occupied by a few lonely souls.

Much of Lewis’ extraordinary drypoint prints give us a similar New York noir . . . sometimes with a bit of playfulness.

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9 Responses to “The shadowy corners of a city street in 1930”

  1. beforemybigbreak Says:


  2. ephemeralnewyork Says:


  3. margythomson Says:

    I notice the group standing on the corner. My dad said they used to do that, bring harmonicas etc. in Ottawa’s neighbourhoods like Mechanicsville and a few others (some not existing now).

  4. fridge freezer sale Says:

    It has quite a gritty feel and it really captures the night and shadows perfectly. Leave the rest to your imagination.

  5. Mykola Mick Dementiuk Says:

    Awesome, and almost erotic in their dress and teasing stroll. I would certainly follow them on their walk on the wild side…

  6. Bella Stander Says:

    My first thought at seeing this image was the 1939 short story “The Girls in Their Summer Dresses,” by Irwin Shaw. Read it here:

  7. Mykola Mick Dementiuk Says:

    I read that many years ago, very nice…

  8. doomheart1234 Says:

    Reblogged this on Keres.

  9. Rich T Says:

    Is little stripe top girl wearing a bustle? Look at how wide her shorts (skirt?) are under her left hand. And I think street crossing guy, fixated on the sheer skirt, walked into that pole right after this picture was made.

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