This has turned into a very good discussion. And I think it is because the image is pretty good to start with. I agree with Chuck, cropping is a good and valid technique for improving images and for educating people about good composition.
All I can say is that some of the best photographers in history disagree with the idea that you can crop your way to nirvana. But if you believe that, there's nothing I can say that'll dissuade you.
I will only point out to Russ that cropping is a staple of teaching in almost every photographic course, even if it is only done with brackets or by eye and the mind.
John, I'm quite aware of that, and that's one of the many things wrong with "photographic courses." You can teach the mechanics -- how to develop film, how to print, dodge, burn, use Photoshop, use Lightroom, how to take care of your camera, how aperture, shutter speed and ISO work... But you can't teach anyone how to make a good photograph. A photographer first has to have the God-given ability to make a decent photograph and then has to learn how to put that talent to work by himself -- by trial and error and by learning from the work of the masters.
This fine image has all the qualities Slobodan has mentioned, but where I disagree is that I think, the top lights are overpowering. By cropping out the top lights, almost nothing is lost in the image and the deep urban empty feeling that Slobadan mentions is reinforced even more
John, Sorry, but again, we disagree. Those intense, impersonal, overpowering lights are essential to the bleakness Slobodan put his finger on. They're an important part of what makes the picture what it is. Any crop -- any crop -- changes the whole character of the picture. Once you crop, the picture becomes a subset of what it was meant to be. With a crop you've taken a part of someone else's picture and called it your own. In a sense, the result is plagiarism.
Because of our human frailties, there are times when our original ideas were faulty, and we need to crop the image after the fact (one of my best selling images is an example).
Chuck, "Perfect world" or not, how often do you crop? Tell the truth. Yes, evidently one of your pictures was improved with a crop. And you're right, in my own imperfect world I crop more often than I'd like. In my own case, it's usually a street shot that went bad and all I can do is dump it. On the other hand, if it's something static I'll go back and try to re-shoot it unless the lighting or some other atmospheric was close enough to unique that going back is impractical. Then, I might try to save it by cropping, but the odds are always very much against success. I'd be willing to bet that in spite of that best selling image, in your heart you agree. Your work is too good for me to believe you crop as a rule.