Broadway to the Battery (from the Irving Trust Company Building)

Vintage Silver Gelatin Photograph

Abbott’s Federal Art Project “Changing New York” hand stamp with the title, date, location, and numeric notations in ink, on verso.


Berenice Abbott’s image, Broadway to the Battery, taken from above the Irving Trust Company building in 1938, benefitted from being photographed with a box camera.

The camera uses a large negative that could capture detail with precision. This precision provides a visual sense of the magnitude of the city. Abbott has a dynamic perspective and compresses space to show the new, monumental American architecture. The horizon, with the statue of liberty acting as a marquee on its harbor, nurtures the incoming immigrants from Europe. This line of sight foreshadows the flourishing and exponential growth the city would experience in the coming century.

Berenice Abbott’s photograph, Broadway to the Battery, is a unique, early vintage photograph printed by her in 1938. Most of Abbott’s available photos are modern prints, printed and edited in the 1970s. The image has the Federal Art Project’s stamp on verso as well as notations, place, angle, and dating.