Focusing on James's account of New York in the 1850s from A Small Boy and Others, this essay argues that, despite his clear antipathy toward the "modern" New York he describes in The American Scene, his own memories of an "old" New York involve a much more varied and pleasurable response to the city itself. Indeed, James's nostalgia for the city of his childhood reflects a prior modernity marked everywhere by media (dioramas, panoramas, posters) and spectacle (melodramas, theatrical displays, the Barnum Museum)—a modernity whose "visibility," for James, has been "smothered" but not lost.