Cars parked on the mean streets of mid-1970s New York City


Originally published at:


I’m so grateful for people who thought to take photos of “stuff” in the past. Street scenes, modes of dress and transport, domestic and mundane scenes that open a window on the past.

Obligatory BGM


Yeah, I totally love these. Mundane subjects but beautifully composed, perfectly shot and with a colour saturation and cast that feels almost hyperreal. Illustrative and still beautiful.


Is there a name for those crusty chunks of brown snow that collect in the backside of wheel-wells?

I hate those things, but admit it gives me some pleasure kicking them off after I park the car.


Snake Plisken. I heard he was dead.


We had relatives & family friends in Manhattan until the early 90s. Visits and family get-togethers meant driving in and finding parking, often blocks away in lonely non-glitzy areas. So these give me a “been there” feeling.

(And yes, we had a couple of break-ins. I remember my mother wishing the junkies who stole her emergency road kit from the back of our seedy old Toyota would buy enough smack to overdose and die.)


I loved NYC in the mid-70s. It was real. Now they’ve sanitized it so much you might as well be in Minneapolis.


Love these. And yes - people don’t remember how gritty, polluted, violent and downtrodden cities were then.How these urban environments prospered and how pollution was diminished is a story that bears examination. It puts the lie to the ineffectiveness of regulation - and that they apparently can from nowhere.


I just want to say one word to you, just one word…


(What will future historians think of us? The horror.)


Wouldn’t they have to install a lot of Habitrail first?


To clarify, lowest ebb financially. I would have done anything to be old enough to check out the grindhouse theaters around Times Square or strolled around the meatpacking district back then.


Mums, eh? :smiley:


Alas, being old enough to have done that then has some down sides now.

With global warming even Minnneapolis won’t need it.


I’ve lived in New England my whole life and my family has always referred to them as “road snot.”


They found parking in New York?


I get a serious Scorse vibe off these shots


I loved NYC in the mid-70s. It was real.

Yes. There are several well administered facebook groups devoted to photos of New York prior to 1990, and so many share this sentiment (including me, of course).

It wasn’t just that it was “gritty.” There was room to test boundaries, room to explore; it’s no accisdent that there was so much more artistic activity then. It was a more interesting place to be.


One time I tried to take a shot of “stuff” in a shopping precinct/mall, some bulky tosser in a red vest with corporate logo/flair approached me to tell me it wasn’t allowed. Mentioned some notice in the entrance saying as much, which turned out to be a barefaced lie. The ‘window into the future past’ argument, which I absolutely used, cut no ice at all.


This is also true after a crisis when all of a sudden they beg for photos from the public to help solve a crime, but when there is no crisis they spend a lot of energy preventing photos from being taken.