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BOOK

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REVIEW

The Mythic City: Photographs of New York by Samuel H Gottscho, 1925-1940 Princeton Architectural Press, 2005. 224pp. £25

Neon signs and their reflections in the wet tarmac of Times Square, midtown skyscrapers becoming a honeycomb of lights. Samuel Gottscho loved to photograph New York at night and celebrate it as a 24hour city, an electric paradise.

And his interiors are real period pieces of chrome, glass brick and marble veneer.

Gottscho was close to Raymond Hood and kickstarted his career with photos of Hood's American Radiator Building, but the dominant architectural presence in this book is the Rockefeller Centre. Gottscho shows it under construction and explores it in detail up to the 80th-floor Rainbow Room lounge, with its mirror ceiling, where all that's missing is a very dry Martini. The 1939 World's Fair is the book's fitting close.

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