Snapshot: Norman Parkinson and New York City

Sinatra’s New York, New York was also a hymn to a particular kind of metropolitan life: affluent, aspirant, smart, suited and hatted, go-getting, forward-looking, optimistic. The world of a famous black-and-white photograph titled New York, New York. Taken in 1959, it shows a couple running across the Brooklyn bridge, with the Empire State building in the background. It is surely the only exciting and sexy picture ever taken which features a man with a briefcase.

The photographer was Norman Parkinson, a Londoner who then had a house in New York. Nor were the couple in the picture native New Yorkers. Both were English — they were Parkinson’s Manhattan neighbours. The woman was Pippa Diggle, a medical secretary friend who soon moved back to London. The man-with-briefcase was a friend of hers, Robin Miller, a gay Old Etonian former Guards officer and actor. 

© Peter Silverton 2022

*This is an extract from the book London Calling, New York, New York by Peter Silverton to be published in 2023.

Corbis/© Norman Parkinson Ltd/Courtesy Norman Parkinson Archive

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