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Blog Juxtaposes Historical and Current Photos to Show NYC's Transformation

By Jess Wisloski | August 19, 2013 5:04pm
 Paul Sahner's hobby blog shows a stunning glimpse of old New York, through a modern lens.
NYC Grid's Then and Now Photos
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MIDTOWN EAST — Imagine a Bryant Park with trees so young that they barely cast shadows, or a cement-paved, nearly empty Union Square. 

That's the historical vision of New York on display on graphic designer Paul Sahner's blog, NYC Grid.

Sahner, who dabbles in photography, dug up dozens of old images of the city and then took his own photos of the same locations, presenting them side-by-side with a slider bar that allows users to scroll between past and present.

Sahner takes pains to reproduce, as accurately as possible, the angle of the period photographs he found in the Library of Congress, from a desolate Union Square West in 1894 to the once low-rise skyline seen from Park Avenue in the 1950s.

The Park Avenue shot was taken shortly after the mirrored Lever House, at 390 Park Ave., was constructed in 1952. While the Lever House dominates the historic shot, it now blends into the forest of very similar towers that surround it.

"Built at a time when, and in a neighborhood where, stone structures represented the brute strength of the organizations who inhabited them, Lever House brought a shiny, futuristic approach to the stuffy avenue," wrote Sahner on his blog. "Today the building blends in...but it's worth slowing down for."

Sahner, who graduated from the School of Visual Arts in 2008 and works in video advertising, according to his website, did not respond to inquiries on Monday about his site, which was first reported on by Gothamist last week.

For more information, follow Sahner on Twitter or visit his website.