Update, October 2012: I've upgraded all the photos with a "before/after" slider, so you can better see the changes. Just drag the yellow bar in the center to see more or less of each image. You can also click on the year labels below each set of images to reveal the full photo instantly. The full gallery of individual images is also still available.
I'll admit, I have a slight obsession with the past – how time changes or preserves select things fascinates me. So, when we recently came across a handful of slides that my grandfather took while in New York City in 1961, I was more than just a little excited. For the past month or so, I've been looking at his photos with great interest – mainly just trying to re-construct the locations and route he walked through midtown as he took these images. I realized the best way to experience this would be to re-visit the spots myself. So, with camera in-hand I went out over the past week and did my best to photograph, in the same manner, all the locations in his original photos. Some were easier than others, and a few were down-right impossible. But it was quite amazing to stand in, what I could only assume was, the exact same location my grandfather stood almost 50 years ago.
So, it's with a lot of excitement that I offer up the results of my trek, side-by-side with the originals.
I'd by lying if I said this was an original idea. One of my hands-down favorite books is New York Changing. In this nearly 200-page masterpiece, Douglas Levere revisits many of the locations photographed by the legendary Berenice Abbott for her Changing New York collection. He, of course, being a professional photographer is able to get much more impressive results – especially considering he used the identical equipment that Abbott used 60 years earlier in her work. In my case, I was shooting with a DSLR verses my grandfather's film camera of unknown make and model shooting slide film. I'm not sure you could get much more different than that. Maybe I could have used my iPhone's camera. So, if you happen to find the images I've posted of any interest, I'd highly recommend New York Changing.