Now and again, some one opens an old film canister and discovers a time machine back to the New York of another era. Its usually silent, always black and white or sepia tone and definitely grainy. But a newly restored film released by the MoMa is anything but.
Despite being shot by the Swedish company Svenska Biografteatern in 1911, the footage is clean and crisp. You can really feel what horse-and-carriage New York would have been like.
The film features shots of the Statue of Liberty, the New York Harbor, Battery Park, the John Ericsson statue, the elevated railways at Bowery and Worth Streets, Broadway sights like Grace Church and Mark Cross, the Flatiron Building and Madison Avenue.
But perhaps the best scene in the film is the look of ennui on a little girls face as she is chauffeured down Fifth Avenue in the front seat of a convertible limousine — in some ways nothing has changed.
To see the film you’ll have to hop over to the MoMa’s website.