“Why New York and Paris?” journalist and photographer Frank Van Riper asks. “New York is simple: It’s what I am. I was born in Manhattan and grew up in the Bronx, just blocks from Yankee Stadium. New York is in my blood, along with egg creams, the Daily News, the subway pastrami, and cannoli. Paris came more slowly, after my friends Neil and Carol Offen moved to France in 1976 for what would be a nine-year stay, first in Paris and then in Provence, after which they wrote an amazing (though sadly unpublished) book about France and the French of their day. My frequent visits to these New York-born Francophiles helped form my appreciation – and ultimately my love – of Paris.”
The photos in this tome illustrate this love. They also lead to images that exist in my own memory of these two cities. The fact that they are all in black and white certainly contributes to the feelings of nostalgia that come over me when spending time with these heart-warming images. The fact that they were taken before “B.I.”, as Van Riper calls it, before the internet, that is, means that they bear testimony to people, places and things actually observed. Or differently put: “If you wanted to experience something back then, you had to be there. You went to the ballpark, the theater, the concert, the reading, the lecture.” And, the photos in this book convey this presence.
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