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New review

The New Review - 5th August

The big picture

Par Peter Conrad - 1 mn


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Tap to tip a busker? I’d sooner sue the lot of ’em

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The glamour of Manhattan is a distant dream in Evelyn Hofer’s evocative shot of 1960 s New York

Poised in a state of perfect equilibrium, the young man with the bike is going nowhere. To explain his predicament and his dejected air, just look at his location. He is standing in Queens, across the river from Manhattan; although the Queensboro Bridge connects the factories and taxi garages of Long Island City with the penthouses and roof gardens of the Upper East Side, he remains stranded in what snooty Manhattanites call “the outer boroughs”.

In the hazy distance, the skyscrapers of midtown Manhattan are out of reach and almost out of sight. Under the bridge’s anchorage there is another barrier – the ruins of the asylums, quarantine hospitals and penitentiaries on Roosevelt Island, a sliver of rock in the East River where New York once confi ned those it considered insane, infectious or unrespectable. In the 1920 s Mae West was briefl y locked up there as punishment for being too se...

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