New York City Travel Posters Through the Decades

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New York has long loomed large in the traveller’s imagination, most notably in the olden, jet-setting days when getting there was half the fun. A new book, “Wonder City of the World: New York City Travel Posters,” out this month, coupled with a forthcoming exhibit at Poster House, presents a compelling history of New York City tourism through travel posters. In the retrospective, which starts at the close of the nineteenth century and takes us through the decades, ocean liners give way to airplanes, graphic styles evolve, and skyscrapers climb ever higher. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, one of the recurrent visual symbols of the city, the Twin Towers, fell. New York City tourism declined, and, even as it recovered, the tradition of printed posters had passed its prime. But the images, some of which are gathered below, remain. Together, they depict a cumulative dream of a city forever in motion, still beckoning to be discovered. —Françoise Mouly & Genevieve Bormes

“Barnum & Bailey/Coney Island” (1898).Courtesy Poster Photo Archives, Posters Please Inc., N.Y.C.

“French Line/New York,” by Harry Hudson Rodmell (circa 1932).WorldPhotos / Alamy Stock Photo

“New York/Swissair,” by Henri Ott (1951).Courtesy Poster House

“Farrell Lines/Wonderful way to get there . . .,” by Frederick (Fritz) Siebel (circa 1951).Courtesy Poster House / Collection of Jolean and David Breger

“Compagnie Générale Transatlantique/SS France,” by John Bainbridge (1968).Courtesy Poster Photo Archives, Posters Please Inc., N.Y.C.

“Iberia/New York” (1966).Courtesy Poster House

“Swissair/USA,” by Donald Brun (1955).Courtesy David Pollack Vintage Posters

“Lufthansa/New York” (1972).Courtesy of Galerie 1881, Paris

“New York/Delta Air Lines” (1993).Courtesy Collection Galerie 1 2 3, Geneva/Switzerland

This is drawn from “Wonder City of the World: New York City Travel Posters.”


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