I thought it was very apt to use the word mythic in the title of this wonderful book. Surely Samuel Gottscho as much as anyone helped to create the popular visual concept of the dynamic American metropolis, a city of towers by day and a kaleidoscope of dazzling light by night, his work must have especially influenced creative folk from comic book artists to Hollywood art directors, the graphic city image is straight out of his photos.
Apart from the short intro essay the book is basically photos, divided into several sections and covering, for instance, bridges, Times Square, business, commercial and residential areas of Manhattan plus a few photos of the 1939 New York World's Fair. It is with the night photos where Gottscho really excelled. To achieve his luminous effect he took two exposures, one at dusk to define the building shapes and another some hours later to capture all the blazing window lights. I think these photos plus the ones of Times Square at night look quite stunning.
Another reason I like the book is the coverage of streamline design that keeps on appearing in many of the photos, not just the skyscrapers but interiors of retail units, Radio City, some of the apartment interiors and obviously the '39 World's Fair.
The book is well printed and designed and the paper makes the photos sparkle with their 200 dpi screen. The captions are basically the location, date and architect though frequently there is more detail provided where necessary. Overall I thought this was a fascinating photobook of what New York looked like in the recent past.
***FOR AN INSIDE LOOK click 'customer images' under the cover.