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The Destruction of Lower Manhattan.



If you walk along the narrow passages between Broadway and West Street in Lower Manhattan, a petrified slice of New York's past emerges: There are the few remaining low-slung Civil War-era buildings snuggled between the Art Deco-influenced skyscrapers erected in the years following the construction of the American Stock Exchange in 1921. Casting shadows over it all are the shrouded ruins of the International Style Deutsche Bank Building, which largely survived the collapsing Twin Towers next door but awaits its fate of being taken apart, floor by floor, in a process known in the building destruction trade as "deconstruction." Danny Lyon's Destruction of Lower Manhattan unearths what this area, south of Chambers Street, endured during its agonizing initial phase, in 1967, as sixty acres of nineteenth-century cast-iron structures east and west of Broadway were leveled to accommodate urban renewal and the World Trade Center site. Fresh from his work documenting the civil rights movement and the Chicago Outlaws biker club, Lyon, a latter-day Bartleby, presides over the leather district's final rites, as he melancholically pictures hostile hard hats sealing the fate of these once-mighty giants of mercantile New York.--EB

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Publication:Artforum International
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jun 22, 2005
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