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Broken Window on South Street, New York

Rebecca Lepkoff (American, b. 1916)

Broken Window on South Street, New York, 1948

  • Gelatin silver print
  • 8 5/16 x 7 3/8 in. (21.1 x 18.7 cm)
  • The Jewish Museum, New York
  • Purchase: Esther Leah Ritz Bequest, 2008-81
  • Digital image © 2010 The Jewish Museum, New York Photo by Ardon Bar Hama

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Broken Window on South Street, New York

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Broken Window on South Street, New York



There is a strong demarcation of foreground (the broken window), middle ground (the street), and background (the view of the skyline) in this composition. The composition is almost divided in half length-wise—the row of buildings (seen from the side) that ends in the shattered window fills the right half of the composition. The image includes many quintessential urban details: skyscrapers, a bridge, stoops, fire escapes, a bishop’s crook streetlamp, debris on the sidewalk, and a man walking his dog. The vertical lines of the buildings and the diagonal lines of the street direct the viewer’s eyes to the buildings in the background. This is in contrast to the immediacy of the shattered window which fills the space on the right.

Close Looking and Discussion

  • Compare and contrast the compositions of Shoeshine Boy with Cop, 14th Street, New York and Broken Window on South Street, New York. What’s similar about the arrangement of elements within the pictures? What’s different?

  • Compare and contrast the photographer’s/viewer’s point of view in each image.

  • Describe the mood evoked by each image.

  • How are these portrayals of New York City similar? How are they different?