Benjamin Goldman: New York Divided


I’m not sure how old this project is, but a reader recently shared with me a Benjamin Goldman-directed visual essay, “New York Divided; Slavery and the Civil War”. The short was produced by The New York Historical Society and The History Channel as part of a museum installation. You can visit the virtual exhibition here.

As with all visual essays, there are two basic reasons this spot succeeds: 1) it says something interesting, and 2) it says it thoughtfully. The animation is subtle but clever, often using the power of metaphor to underline the dilemma old New York faced. The pacing is spot on as well—and given the fact that the script is read, not spoken, that’s especially important.

Props to Benjamin for handling this subject so well. Make sure to check out the rest of his portfolio for more solid work.

(Thanks to Oliver for the tip!)

About the author

Justin Cone

Together with Carlos El Asmar, Justin co-founded Motionographer, F5 and The Motion Awards. He currently lives in Austin, Texas with is wife, son and fluffball of a dog. Before taking on Motionographer full-time, Justin worked in various capacities at Psyop, NBC-Universal, Apple, Adobe and SCAD.



So that’s who did the end titles for A series of Unfortunate Events!! Outstanding works! Great way to start the morning. :)


nicely done!

Joe Clay

That was wonderful. As a kid, I always loved to stare at the engravings and drawings in my history books, and to see it all animated like this makes me wish I had thought of it first. It was beautiful! The sound design was excellent. The transitions were smart and not flashy.

My only complaint is that it was hard to choose between reading it and watching it! That’s not a bad problem to have. It makes me watch it over and over again. :)


Story well-told. The animation was full of subtle surprises and had a nice balance between text and image. Overall, very well thought-out with incredible attention to detail. Kudos.

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