Here is a link to a page I have added to the blog with links to resources about the life and work of William H. (“Holly’) Whyte.
Holly was the source of most of the ideas underlying the success of the Bryant Park restoration. After a visit to The Rockefeller Brothers Fund by Vartan Gregorian and Andrew Heiskell (President and Chair of the New York Public Library) in the late 70’s seeking funds for the restoration of the Library, the President of the Fund, William Dietel recommended that a study be made by Holly of the conditions of the public space surrounding the library. The study that Holly produced is uniquely perceptive, fascinating reading and available as a link on the resource page.
There is also an excellent obituary from the New York Times of Holly linked on the page. But an often forgotten part of Holly’s significant impact on Urban Life is that while he was a senior editor at Fortune Magazine, my understanding is that he commissioned Jane Jacobs’ first published work, and he continued to support and encourage Jacobs’ writing.
I would welcome the contributions of others for the page – particularly links to archives of the time-lapse photography that was at the center of Holly’s work. Holly’s thinking was based on careful observation of how people actually behaved in public space; and he used time-lapsed photography to deepen his ability to observe people in public space over time. I’m particularly interested in finding the film observing the almost comically prolonged process of people saying good-bye on street corners. They keep shaking hands, starting to walk away, and then continuing the conversation a bit more. We all do it!