After quitting LIFE magazine in 1954, W. Eugene Smith moved into a shabby loft in New York’s flower district. Smith described the broken window as “the proscenium arch with me on the third stage looking through it, … and the whole audience in performance down before me, an everchanging pandemonium of delicate details and habitual rhythms.” LIFE published this work, “As From My Window I Sometimes Glance,” under the headline “Drama Beneath a City Window” on March 10, 1958, and in its 1978 book Great Photographic Essays from LIFE. The caption read: “Bursting from the florist’s in what was probably her Communion dress, the girl seemed a Dresden figurine come alive. Amid city’s tired things — ashcan, hydrant, battered flower stands — she became a creature of lovely fantasy. ‘For the moment,’ Smith remembers, ‘she took over the scene. Everyone turned to look at her.’ Then she was gone.”

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