New York by Helen Levitt (c. 1942)

The photograph titled “New York” was taken by the artist Helen Levitt around the year 1942. It captures a candid street scene in black and white, evoking the essence of the urban experience during that time period.

In the photograph, we see a moment of childhood play in an urban setting. A young girl sits perched atop a concrete stoop or wall, while another child stands at ground level, holding one end of a long, flexible object, possibly a jump rope, that creates an arc between them. The girl on the stoop seems delighted, perhaps preparing to jump off or slide down the object, while the child on the ground looks up with a focused expression, possibly guiding or stabilizing the makeshift plaything. In the background, a small group of people, which appears to be more children, is gathered on a raised platform or steps, observing the interaction. Classic features of a New York street, such as the brick buildings and the concrete pavement, frame this simple, timeless interaction, offering a glimpse into the play and camaraderie of neighborhood children. The image, with its contrast and composition, carries a sense of motion and anticipation.

Other Photographs from Helen Levitt

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