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What you can do with the city

Living in a city means living together, defining and negotiating relationships with neighbours and with the urban environment. But it’s easy to overlook the everyday actions that make the stuff of urban life because it often seems like they are overpowered by the heavy frame of the contemporary urban system’s logistics, administration, and regulations. Bring the focus back onto pedestrians, gardeners, religious pilgrims, cyclists, recyclers, and drivers stuck in traffic. Make and use the city.

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West 37th Street, Manhattan

Photographs by John Veltri

In 1966, New York engineering firm Wegman & Co. proposed to solve the problem of congestion in the narrow, densely-built traffic artery of West 37th Street between 8th and 9th Avenues. In its study “Arcading Side Walks,” Wegman & Co. suggested eliminating the ground floors of buildings and creating an arcade that would accommodate free pedestrian traffic while adding extra lanes for cars. The firm commissioned John Veltri to photograph every building, parking area and shaftway in this corridor. He did this between 13 September and 18 September 1966.

John Veltri. Photograph from the series Arcading Side Walks Project: Existing conditions of West 37th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues, New York City. 13–18 September 1966. PH2000:0006

John Veltri. Photograph from the series Arcading Side Walks Project: Existing conditions of West 37th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues, New York City, 13–18 September 1966. PH2000:0005

John Veltri. Photograph from the series Arcading Side Walks Project: Existing conditions of West 37th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues, New York City. 13–18 September 1966. PH2000:0010

John Veltri. Photograph from the series Arcading Side Walks Project: Existing conditions of West 37th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues, New York City. 13–18 September 1966. PH2000:0044

John Veltri. Photograph from the series Arcading Side Walks Project: Existing conditions of West 37th Street, between 8th and 9th Avenues, New York City. 13–18 September 1966. PH2000:0046

Veltri’s survey is part of our collection. It was the subject of our exhibition West 37th Street, Manhattan, photographed by John Veltri between 13 September and 18 September 1966, held in 2003 and 2004.

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