New! A Little Old New York 🐦
Scrambled Thursday greetings, collectors! It’s Jen here, with some updates, plus an intro to a fab new edition fit for all you die hard I <3 NYers +/or lovers in general. It’s been a month here at 20x200, with some of our favorite chicks leaving the nest and sickness sweeping through our tiny, intrepid team. (I managed to avoid the ‘vid for nearly four years, but it finally got me!) Things are a little topsy-turvy ‘round these parts as we recover and rebuild a bit, ergo the Thursday release of our newest Vintage Edition: Two Pigeons by a prolific, troubled and enigmatic mid-century photographer named Angelo Rizzuto, who also went by the name Anthony Angel.
I can’t help but anthropomorphize Two Pigeons' avian subjects. Are they starcrossed lovers captivated by one of NYC’s preeminent architectural wonders? Or perhaps critics in the vein of Statler and Waldorf? A couple of besties kibbitzing about the latest headlines? Whoever they are, I’m 100% sure that they’re quintessential NYers, just like the image itself. The grainy soft focus of the image gives it a very retro feel, as does all that breathing room the Chrysler Building has around it. There’s also a timelessness to it: there’s a good chance this rooftop still exists and if it does, it most certainly has this generation’s pigeons perched upon it, albeit taking in a much more crowded skyline view.
This is our first release by Rizzuto, but it certainly won’t be our last. An incredibly prolific photographer, he left behind a trove of over 60,000 photographs when he died, which he bequeathed to the Library of Congress. Only a fraction of them have been cataloged to date, but there are myriad treasures among them. I’ll do a deeper dive into his history for a later date, when I’m in less of a post-Covid swoon, but browsing through his archive brought to mind everyone from the similarly eccentric and also enigmatic Vivian Maier to the epic Elliott Erwitt to our own Joe Holmes and Ruben Natal-San Miguel.
That Rizzuto lived on 51st St and departed from there daily to tirelessly document the city also brings to mind our beloved Jason Polan, who lived just around the corner from there for many years and was similarly prolific in his wanderings. Jason’s never far from my mind, but he’s been especially present this week as the fourth anniversary of his death is in just a couple of days. I miss him so terribly and miss seeing the world with him, and through his eyes. Luckily, the things he taught me about how to see—and be in—the world will be with me forever: it’s endlessly interesting out there and it’s pretty much ALWAYS a good idea to go for a walk.
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