Daily photographs by HANS VON RITTERN, with humorous, artistic and social commentary on life in the big city.

From the gallery: WEST SIDE STORY

WEST SIDE STORY: The cast iron district of Manhattan also known as NoHo and Soho, features some of the most wonderful cast iron buildings in the world. The idea of building with cast iron revolutionized the building process from 1840 – 1880, you didn’t have to stack all those thousands of little bricks. All the parts were shipped to the building site. The door frames, windowsills, columns, staircases, beams, windows and doors, skylights, turrets, ornamentations, etc. Like a giant Tinkertoy or Lego set. Now all you had to do was install the interior walls and the floors and the building was finished in one third the time of a conventional mortar and brick building. The two neighborhoods have the largest collection of all or part cast iron buildings in the world, 250, and . . . if you have a magnet on you it will stick to about every third building in the area.
The best time to walk the streets is just before sunset and you see these wonderful dramatic shadows cast by one of the quintessential items of New York – the cast iron fire escapes. Film noir drama.
Here I tinted the photo red to accent the angles and recreate the feel and look of the original graphics of “West Side Story.”

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