Posts Tagged ‘etchings of New York City’

Sleet and snowy stoops on a West Side street

February 4, 2013

Australian-born Martin Lewis’ “Stoops in the Snow” dates to 1930—and it perfectly balances the still beauty of a New York snowfall with the miserable struggle that ensues while trying to navigate it.

This scene could depict almost any residential New York block, with its uniform brownstone steps and elevated train platform in the distance.


Luckily Lewis’ original title for the etching, “Stoops in the Snow, West 40s,” narrows down the neighborhood for us.

Lewis tends to keep the locations of his etchings vague, as he did with this piece depicting a busy workday morning somewhere in the city.

“East Side Night, Williamsburg Bridge”

June 2, 2011

Martin Lewis’ 1928 etching illuminates some of the city’s mysterious layers, levels, and corners. This piece belongs to the Brooklyn Museum . . . which for some reason doesn’t have it on view, according to the website.

Memo to New York museum curators: An exhibit of Lewis’ etchings is long overdue!

A late traveler makes her way to the subway

October 20, 2010

A woman descends the subway stairs in “Late Traveler,” a 1949 drypoint etching by Martin Lewis.

It’s noirish and mysterious. I think we’ve all been this woman at some point or another, making our way through a quiet, lonely city in the dark.

“Late Traveler” is part of the collection at the Detroit Institute of Arts. View a close-up of the etching here.

A 1920s Hell’s Kitchen street scene

March 24, 2010

Artist and Hell’s Kitchen resident Harry Wickey etched this dark, moody moment in time on Ninth Avenue circa 1923. 

The Ninth Avenue El, dismantled in 1940, looms large in the background. It was the city’s first elevated railway, starting at Greenwich Street and traveling up Ninth Avenue to Columbus Avenue and 155th Street.

Wickey, who switched to sculpture after etching acids damaged his sight, wrote in his autobiography about how he “changed from an Ohio farm boy into an enthusiastic resident of Hell’s Kitchen, New York’s tough area along the Hudson River,” according to a Life article from 1942.

“There Wickey now lives with his wife in three rooms where he can watch the slum kids, housewives, tramps, and tavern topers whom he has transformed into bronze.”