A painter’s evocative look at an empty street beside the Manhattan Bridge

Anthony Springer was a lawyer-turned-artist who painted the energy and vitality of various downtown New York City neighborhoods until his death in 1995.

His work has been featured on this site before—rich, colorful images of quiet streets and empty stretches of Greenwich Village before the 1990s revitalization breathed new life into fading storefronts and forgotten corners…and in many cases changed the fabric of the neighborhood.

Here’s a Springer painting that offers a look at a slender street alongside the Manhattan Bridge. It calls up a time when you could find deserted streets like this downtown—populated by pigeons, a lone parked car (or stolen one ditched?), an industrial building not turned into lofts, a glorious bridge empty of the pedestrians and bikers seen today.

I’m not sure if we’re on the Manhattan or Brooklyn side, but it’s an evocative reminder of a different city.


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19 Responses to “A painter’s evocative look at an empty street beside the Manhattan Bridge”

  1. San Says:

    Keep going. You are going great man💜

  2. boxwoodbooks Says:

    Thank you for this painterly ‘evocation’ which also engages the viewer with the enormity of the bridge’s infrastructure and realises the question of its huge land grab with the approaches on both sides taking up acres of what was once Grade 1 coastal and agricultural land.

    • S. Solomon Says:

      Re: “…huge land grab….”
      It’s called Eminent Domain and it is NOT an illegal land grab! Prior to the Manhattan Bridge the ONLY way to travel Manhattan >< Brooklyn was the 1883 Brooklyn Bridge…and it did NOT accommodate the SUBWAY (which helped working-class people find homes in a then-less-expensive borough!

      • boxwoodbooks Says:

        Of course it was all legal, but by bringing outer borough workers into Manhattan with the ease of subway trains it marked the depletion and demise of those boroughs into anything more than dormitory areas, perpetuating their small community infrastructures.
        It wasn’t until the major redevelopment of downtown Brooklyn, led by the Mayor’s Office and the Office of Downton Brooklyn Development in the late 1960s, that the growth of its business (the Klein building) and cultural sectors (BAM, Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn Botanical Garden plus the colleges including Pratt, and universities) sparked Brooklyn’s extraordinary renaissance.

  3. Larry Gertner Says:

    That looks it it could be what’s called Mechanic’s Alley on the Manhattan side.

    • ephemeralnewyork Says:

      I thought it could be Mechanics Alley, and I was hoping to use this as an opportunity to write about that strangely named little street. But it doesn’t seem to match up unfortunately.

  4. The naked city, Anthony Springer – This isnt happiness Says:

    […] The naked city, Anthony Springer […]

  5. ytfnyc Says:

    This is the Manhattan side.

  6. chas1133 Says:

    where is his work sold?

  7. Nancy Anderson Says:

    Could be a view of Attorney Street, Manhattan Side of the Manhattan Bridge

  8. stevenj Says:

    It is in Dumbo Brooklyn. Along Adams St. Easy match still to street and large open arch There is not this angle of street on N side of Bridge toward East River in Manhattan. Pike next to old Pathmark site is not like this! Narrow Mechanics Alley looks nothing like this either.

    • ephemeralnewyork Says:

      I agree, I suspected this was in Brooklyn after trying to match it to Pike Street and Mechanics Alley.

      • jms Says:

        Perhaps the buildings are no longer around? I took a Googoo Street View look along Adams and didn’t spot matching structures, although otherwise it’s the best fit. Any idea when the painting was painted?

      • ephemeralnewyork Says:

        I don’t know unfortunately; it’s undated. I’m just guessing the 1980s or early 1990s, as many other Springer paintings look to be around this time frame.

      • jms Says:

        Running with the Adams Street theory, this seems a rather good match for the left side of the painting, although for the right side I’d think this vantage point, a half-block or so away, would work better. Perhaps Springer played tricks with perspective.

  9. Ray Laskowitz Says:

    That’s in DUMBO. Everybody and their brother photographs that street. It’s very gentrified today.

  10. GARY MATZ Says:

    I’m pretty sure it’s right across the street from the old Pathmark site on Pike street. I walked on that street many many times when I lived down there.

  11. Miro Says:

    Tony Springer is in this chess documentary “Men Who Would Be Kings”….he also enjoyed playing chess for money in Washington Square Park

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