This wonderful image, of dark and foggy Madison Square and the legendary Flat Iron building, then one of the tallest buildings in New York City, captures forever the mood, spirit, even the smell of NYC at the dawn of the twentieth century. It was taken by Edward Steichen (1879 – 1973) and is an early example of night photography.
Notice the subtle coloration. Steichen manually and laboriously applied layers of light-sensitive gums to create the one-of-a-kind sense of color.
Steichen was heavily featured by Alfred Stieglitz in Camera Work between 1903 and 1917.He went on to become Director of the Department of Photography at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, where he curated the famous The Family of Man exhibit.
Even today, the triangular Flat Iron building still seems a bit magical. And, speaking of witchcraft, who can forget James Stewart tossing his hat from the roof onto a snow filled Madison Square as he romances Kim Novak in “Bell Book and Candle?”