News on the street a century ago

The Whitney’s Lyonel Feininger show is full of delights: the little comic faces, the tiny village of rough-carved wooden houses and people, the eerie and magnificent evocation of twilight.

For me the standout was “Newspaper Readers (1909),” above, which shows that getting your news on the run isn’t anything new. That’s exactly how I stare at my phone on the way to the subway in the morning, hunched, goggle-eyed, and oblivious to passersby. Every month or two I’ll reform briefly — and read only when waiting for the light to change — after twisting my ankle on some hole in the street or crack in the sidewalk.

See also PDAs of the ancient Sumerians and traversing the bridge while reading.


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