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A love letter to ‘the city that was’ that exuberantly makes the case for preserving the historic building fabric of New York City.

Jill Gill is the rare painter who can write and the more rare writer who can paint, and she does both with charm and grace, and with an eye for details unseen by mere mortals. Her Lost New York series makes the city found again.     —John Tauranac

Do not be misled by the jaunty, playful quality of Jill Gill’s watercolors. They are fun to look at, but they tell the profound story of a city evolving, not always for the better. Jill Gill has recorded New York with love and insight, and her book is at once an elegy, a personal tale, and an exquisite historical document.     —Paul Goldberger

Jill Gill is equal parts artist and author, commentator and collector of the ever-changing city. Since the mid-1950s, in a series of over 100 watercolor-and-ink paintings, she has captured vital but mostly unlandmarkable New York City blocks that would otherwise be lost to memory: the glorious Helen Hayes Theater, Bonwit Teller, the Art Deco Horn & Hardart Automat on 57th Street, and blocks upon blocks of ordinary yet distinctive buildings.


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Here's a little tour of the book so you can get an idea of what it's all about. Go ahead flip through Site Lines: Lost New York.

Jill Gill in the New York Daily News:

Harry Siegel: Jill Gill’s 70 years of painting a changing NYC

By Harry Siegel
July 6, 2024

“They all disappear,” said Jill Gill when I visited her Upper West Side apartment the other week just before she escaped the city heat for some beach time on Long Island. “It’s extremely ephemeral.”

The 91-year-old artist was talking about Manhattan and its haphazard buildings, the ordinary ones that feel permanent right up until they’re not.

“I adored the ones that had names on the tops of them — probably the owners’ girlfriend or wife or grandmother or whatever — and sculptures of heads over doorways, probably by the Italian stone workers who were hired that also could have been relatives. Stories we’ll never know but they’re there.”

Siegel (harrysiegel@gmail.com) is an editor at The City, a host of the FAQ NYC podcast and a columnist for the Daily News.

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Her New York, a short film by David Gross:

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