The Destruction of Lower Manhattan
In 1967, Danny Lyon, a young documentary photographer, joined an informal Manhattan colony of artists and dissidents living in abandoned buildings near Wall Street. Many streets in the area had been barricaded, and it was clear that hundreds of mid-nineteenth-century buildings nearby were about to disappear. (Among the new developments already on the rise was the World Trade Center.) Lyon decided to photograph what he could of his doomed and little-documented neighborhood.
He soon took an interest in the wreckers, whose labor he saw in historical perspective. In his book The Destruction of Lower Manhattan (1969), Lyon writes of men “risking their lives for $5.50 an hour, pulling apart brick by brick and beam by beam the work of other American workers who once stood on the same walls and held the same bricks, then new, so long ago.”