The current exhibition Hipsters, Hustlers, and Handball Players: Leon Levinstein's New York Photographs, 1950–1980 features candid photographs of New Yorkers, with each of Levinstein's subjects representing a particular neighborhood. In the thirty years since these photographs were taken, New York City's neighborhoods have changed dramatically: new buildings have appeared, businesses have opened or closed, and a new generation has moved in. What would Levinstein see in the people of New York today?
As the online marketing coordinator in the Department of Digital Media, I asked myself how I could enlist the help of our audience in answering this question, while encouraging visitors to absorb the images in the exhibition and think actively about Levinstein's work. I decided to invite members of our Flickr community to go out into their neighborhoods and observe their surroundings the same way Leon Levinstein did. By submitting these photos to the group with geotags to indicate exactly where they were taken, our contributors will help us create a dynamic and growing map of New York City personalities. Each individual photo or video will become part of a larger portrait of the entire city; as more neighborhoods are represented, the picture becomes more complete.