This New York view emphasises the size of the Singer Building with its flag pole almost reaching the top of the plate. The two steam ships lying in port represent the city’s important industrial transatlantic links.
When Pennell moved to England in 1885, New York was not yet the centre of production, industry and power. Tower Building, completed in 1889, was the first ever skyscraper. Van Dyke described how ‘sky-scrapers are put up overnight. One can actually see the steel platforms grow from hour to hour as they lift higher and higher into the air.’ When Pennell returned to New York in 1904 he was confronted with a very different landscape.