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vintage photographs

If time travel were possible, someone visiting New York City during late November through December 100 years ago would find familiar scenes: these 17 photos show how those living in New York City between 1900 and 1915 shopped and stocked up for the holiday season. Despite the pervasiveness of online shopping in modern times, New Yorkers still crowd sidewalks and public places, and do their share of in-person shopping before the holidays. Special, temporary “holiday markets” have become increasingly popular, despite the great improvements made to online shopping in recent years. While those photos from the previous century seem to show that commercialism wasn’t as rampant as it is today, the late 19th century saw the trappings we now associate with Christmas start to spread to all levels of society, although with less thoroughness than in our times. There were some cultural differences, though. Apparently, Christmas postcards were big.

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From a facebook posting by Michael Cala:
“I’m very pleased, as a first-time applicant, to announce that I was just awarded a sizable grant from Staten Island Arts to mount an exhibition of my vintage Coney Island photographs (1970-1980). The exhibition will hopefully take place some time in mid-2017. Got some great people on board to help with printing and mounting. And the initial exhibit will be held at the Garibaldi-Meucci Museum.” …

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Photographer David Godlis Takes us Back to the 1970s Bowery

Posted on: June 22nd, 2016 at 5:15 am by

Bowery, 1977

It’s mid 1970s gritty New York City and you’re perusing through the Village Voice when a large ad for a bar you’ve never heard of catches your eye. Night after night you find yourself heading down to this seedy part of town which has drawn you in with its sweaty air, loud punk music, and self-destructive shady characters. Having become a regular, you’re having another one of your many rounds that evening, when your mind clears for a brief moment long enough to realize the need to document this soon-to-be-famed bar when all the lights have dimmed and the freaks come out. Nights turn into mornings and you gather photos of what you see as just your evening routine, your 20-something wild days of partying and listening to people scream on stage while regulars lean up against the bar smoking cigarettes. Chaos-filled nights go by, but the story certainly doesn’t end here. It is the beginning of a fascinating one that involves the Lower East Side’s well-loved CBGB and iconic photographer David Godlis.

No Wave Punks, Bowery 1978. l. to r.: Harold Paris, Kristian Hoffman, Diego Cortez, Anya Phillips, Lydia Lunch, James Chance, Jim Sclavunos, Bradly Field, and Liz Seidman

Last week, I met up with Godlis at a coffee shop on Sixth Avenue, and we spent hours talking about his days (and most importantly, nights) at CBGB. Documented in his soon to be released photography book entitled History is Made at Night (it sure is), we are able to get a glimpse into what the real, dirty, sweaty, nightlife was like at CBGB from 1976-1979. Although Godlis admits that it was just his routine, that he was just living his life the way we live ours, he does admit that himself (and others) realized that something special was happening around them. Having previous experience as a street photographer, he was in the perfect position to take it upon himself to start documenting the scene. Although CBGB was filled with now extremely well known and famous bands such as The Ramones, Television, Blondie, The Dead Boys, Patti Smith (I could go on.. and on…and on…) Godlis understood the importance of photographing the locals as well. It is because of this that many moments, which could easily have been forgotten, are preserved. After all, it’s not just the big names, but the CBGB regulars that made the scene what it was.

Television, CBGB, 1977

Merv Ferguson, CBGB bouncer, Bowery, 1977

Richard Hell, Bowery rainstorm, 1977

Godlis’ pictures capture CBGB’s truest form using light that was provided from the street. Taken only at night using his hand held Leica and TRI-X film, they give an accurate picture of what was really happening in the dimly lit surroundings. Taking a closer look at each image, it is impossible to turn the page without wondering what circumstances surrounded them. Who was Richard Hell waving to? What was Handsome Dick Manitoba doing standing outside groping his girlfriend? Why was Merv Ferguson on the street randomly holding two beers? The fascinating part of his pictures is that each tells a unique story. And if you’re anything like me, you want to know more.

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From Time Out NY:

Interactive map lets you delve into New York City history

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According to The New York Times, abandoned cars are “A New York Memory”.

“In 1988, the Department of Sanitation removed 148,257 abandoned cars from city streets (and parks and waterways).

That’s an average of 406 cars a day, 17 every hour, one every three and a half minutes. In other words, a lot of steel.

Abandoned cars were such a fixture on the New York landscape that a 1970 Volvo ad showed a couple of battered Detroit products rotting on either side of the George Washington Bridge with the slogan, “The Roads of America Are Strewn With Broken Promises.” The carcasses were an ecosystem unto themselves, feeding first the scavengers of stereos and wheels and batteries, then the resourceful harvesters of wiring and lights, then serving as jungle gyms for underserved children before finally going to the scrap heap that awaits us all.”

Why and when did abandoning non-working cars on the streets of NYC cease to be “a thing”?

“Changes in laws, the value of scrap metal, and car security systems have slowed car theft and abandonment to a near standstill. In fiscal year 2013, the last for which statistics are available, the sanitation department hauled just 2,156 derelict cars to their final resting place.

These photographs from the morgue of The New York Times, taken between 1968 and 1990, show a city all but gone from memory, when the five boroughs’ reverse alchemy turned a four-figure sleek machine into a heap that in 1968 brought the city as little as $1.01 per automobile, and topped out at about $5. No wonder people just walked away.

These days, as steel mills have increasingly turned to recycling old metal, a junker is too valuable to just leave by the side of the road. Somebody wants it and will pay for it. Love survives after all. And the streets are a little cleaner for it.”…

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