Taking a sunbath on a Depression-era city roof

Martin Lewis was a 20th century painter and printmaker better known for his mesmerizing etchings of New York’s darkened corners and shadowy streets, illuminated by lamp light and store signs.

But some of his urban landscapes bring people and buildings out of the shadows and into daylight—like in this image.

Here, two women sit on a tenement rooftop, one enjoying the timeless ritual of catching some sun on a New York roof.

Disapproving mother and young, attractive daughter? Lewis completed this etching in 1935. While it might be the Depression, the city before us is inviting and limitless—and it belongs to the daughter.

Tags: , , , , ,

13 Responses to “Taking a sunbath on a Depression-era city roof”

  1. Penelope Bianchi Says:

    Beautifully described! And so true! Such a great picture!

  2. Taking a sunbath on a Depression-era city roof | News for New Yorkers Says:

    […] Source: FS – NYC Real Estate Taking a sunbath on a Depression-era city roof […]

  3. Tar beach, Martin Lewis – This isn't happiness Says:

    […] Tar beach, Martin Lewis […]

  4. Taking a sunbath on a Depression-era city roof | Real Estate Marketplace Says:

    […] Source: FS – NYC Real Estate Taking a sunbath on a Depression-era city roof […]

  5. Ty Says:

    Disapproving? That’s how old ladies sat in the Bronx, in a perpetual state of judgement and martyred discomfort.

    • ephemeralnewyork Says:

      And I’m sure 25 years later the daughter, now older and heavier, sat on a tar roof admonishing her daughter, and on and on

  6. mvalspeed Says:

    My compliments to the editor for this caption. “While it might be the Depression, the city before us is inviting and limitless—and it belongs to the daughter.”, capturing the remembrances of old sins and the promise of a new beginning tomorrow. Well done.

  7. Ricky Says:

    This reminds me of another one of your great entries “Sixth Avenue North From 47th Street”
    https://ephemeralnewyork.wordpress.com/2010/10/26/sixth-avenue-north-from-47th-street/

  8. Colin Newman Says:

    I’ve been a big fan of this guy’s work since discovering this blog but have never come across this image before. Did it recently make its way to the Internet? I wonder how much more of his work is out there

    • ephemeralnewyork Says:

      I’ve been a fan for a while, too, and though I thought I’d seen all of his work, this one suddenly turned up in a simple Google search. More must be out there; I love discovering them. A New York museum really needs to do an exhibit.

  9. olga may starr Says:

    Love it. And thank you so much for these wonderful peeks into a place that I love.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: