Broadway at Night, by Alvin Langdon Coburn ca. 1910
[from last year’s Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibit, Night Vision: Photography After Dark]
"It is only at twilight that the city reveals itself to me in the fulness [sic] of its beauty, when the arc lights on the Avenue click into being. Many an evening I have watched them and studied carefully just which ones appeared first and why. They begin somewhere about Twenty-sixth street, where it is darkest, and then gradually the great white globes glow one by one, up past the Waldorf and the new Library, like the stringing of pearls, until they burst out into a diamond pendant at the group of hotels at Fifty-ninth street. Probably there is a man at a switchboard somewhere, but the effect is like destiny, and regularly each night, like the stars, we have this lighting up of the Avenue."