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The Internet Loves Digital Collections (March 2015)

Roy Colmer Door
West 52nd Street between 5th Avenue and 6th Avenue. Odd Numbers.

What was the most viewed image on NYPL's Digital Collections platform in March 2015?

It was a door.

Specifically, a door on the north side of 52nd Street between 5th Avenue and 6th Avenue. (Pictured at right; you can see what it looks like today at the bottom of this post.)

Why was that image the most viewed? Here's the story: The image comes from "The Roy Colmer New York City doors photograph collection," which includes 3,122 images related to a set of "photographic prints used in Colmer's conceptual art piece, Doors, NYC (1976)" (from the collection description).

A blog post from early 2014 commemorating Colmer and his work describes the project a bit more fully:

From November 1975 to September 1976, Colmer photographed more than 3,000 doors, inclusive and in sequence, on 120 intersections and streets of Manhattan from Wall Street to Fort Washington. The project, although documentary in nature, was essentially conceptual to Colmer, for whom Doors, NYC was as much an exploration of the serial possibilities of photography as of its ability to capture a place.

Meanwhile, for quite some time David Lowe, a specialist in our photography division, has been working with the division's metadata to create what he calls the Photo Geographies. Colmer's door project was among the first mapping projects of Lowe's geodata work (see map embedded below).

This project in turn attracted the attention of NPR's History Dept. (among others). And it was this NPR post that drove the most traffic to our Digital Collections site, and the photo above in particular.

That's the story for this month! Check back in a few weeks for more stories from our Digital Collections.

The view of 52nd st. today:


Patron-generated content represents the views and interpretations of the patron, not necessarily those of The New York Public Library. For more information see NYPL's Website Terms and Conditions.

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