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Brooklyn, 1974
June 9, 2011 9:43 PM   Subscribe

Images of Brooklyn NY, 1974. (via)
posted by Ad hominem (63 comments total) 42 users marked this as a favorite

 
Some great photos here, thanks for posting.
posted by New England Cultist at 9:49 PM on June 9, 2011


You can just smell the stale urine.
posted by bardic at 10:03 PM on June 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


That was really interesting.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:10 PM on June 9, 2011


Needs a little Javascript thing where you hover the mouse over any of the people in those pics and you get a little popup that explains what they did in life and what they're doing now..
posted by crapmatic at 10:17 PM on June 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


I have a theory that the world before the 80s had a lot more litter in it.
My theory is somewhat backed up by half-remembered personal anecdotes from growing up.
These pictures show me I may have been right.

or it may just be that Brooklyn was filthy in the mid-70s.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 10:20 PM on June 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow, remember when people were skinny?
posted by Tube at 10:23 PM on June 9, 2011 [21 favorites]


Brutal New York 1965/1995 some of these are heartbreaking.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:25 PM on June 9, 2011 [10 favorites]


Riis Park is in Queens, actually. You have to go down Flatbush Avenue over the Gil Hodges Marine Park Memorial Bridge to get to it. As you go over the bridge, look to the right and wave. If it's summertime, that's where you'll find me on the bay side.

I miss NY in the 70's. Never did a city hit the skids so defiantly and wear it like a badge of honor. These photos remind of that "New York is for New Yorkers" spirit.
posted by KingEdRa at 10:32 PM on June 9, 2011 [6 favorites]


I lived on Governors Island in '74 - just across Buttermilk Channel from Brooklyn. We were nicely isolated from the rest of the city, but I'm happy to have lived in a couple other boroughs since - I feel like I've gotten more of the big picture of the city that many miss out on when they grow up in a single location.
posted by blaneyphoto at 10:34 PM on June 9, 2011


Manhattan 1941, 1942,1960, 1970s
posted by Ad hominem at 10:41 PM on June 9, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wow, remember when people were skinny?

Two things stuck out to me: Not a single logo or visible brand; if you had words on your clothing it's because you were wearing a uniform of some kind.

So little advertising: No billboards, no KFC awnings, no alt. weekly stands, just the few generic "FOOD" stores and the sport shop.
posted by 2bucksplus at 10:48 PM on June 9, 2011 [9 favorites]


Last one Carroll Gardens 1970s

When I tell people what Carroll Gardens was like in the 70s, nobody ever believes me.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:49 PM on June 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I remember that summer. This is me and my brother at Coney Island in '74. I think Jaws came out a year later and nobody went into the water.
posted by cazoo at 10:50 PM on June 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


Having spent my whole life residing west of the Mississippi, there's a part of me that will never get the heavy sigh a lot of you will get looking at these photos. Lot of the photos are pretty snapshotty, IMO. A few gems in there, to be sure (kid at the pool leaning against the yellow concrete is captivating). As far as just what-I-notice; more litter & no obesity. TV helped solve the litter problem (all you United-Statesians know the commerical I'm talking about), but the obesity thing... eh, not so much.
posted by Lukenlogs at 10:57 PM on June 9, 2011


Thanks for this.

Jeremiah's Vanishing New York just posted Carl Burton:

NYC street portraits 1980s

Broadway and Beyond
posted by Violet Hour at 11:06 PM on June 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't know NY, but I would love it if there was a comparison with street view today. Can someone do this?
posted by joelf at 11:07 PM on June 9, 2011


these were places of white flight and blight. No Safeways, just dangerous ways.
posted by stbalbach at 11:13 PM on June 9, 2011


Fuck what a depressing thing to end my night with.
posted by symbioid at 11:19 PM on June 9, 2011


I remember this NYC well. It was different from everywhere else I'd ever been. I've missed it. Ah, the memories of a well-spent youth!
posted by Goofyy at 11:25 PM on June 9, 2011


Fuck what a depressing thing to end my night with.

And here I sit, thinking how awesome this made my night. That's what life looked like back in 1974. More poverty and litter? Yeah. But no branding. No corporate homgenization of everyday life. Back then your neighborhood was its own little self-contained world. Meanwhile, just a few blocks away was another little world, completely different and unique from your own.
posted by KingEdRa at 11:46 PM on June 9, 2011 [10 favorites]


I don't know NY, but I would love it if there was a comparison with street view today. Can someone do this?

Street view of the building on Vanderbilt Ave. (7th photo from bottom)
posted by brain_drain at 11:49 PM on June 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


I kept looking for Popeye Doyle and not finding him.
posted by bwg at 11:49 PM on June 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Google street view.

Looking towads the Manhattan Bridge.

RKO Theatre, Bushwick Now a High School.

Kosciosko Swimming Pool

Bonus Public Pool: Red Hook Recreation Center

From the Carroll Gardens Set Union Smith Market, which is amzingly still there.

Bonus Cock Fighting Arena on Hoyt Street. ( well in the 70s it was)
posted by Ad hominem at 11:53 PM on June 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, just a few blocks away was another little world, completely different and unique from your own.

So true.
posted by Ad hominem at 11:56 PM on June 9, 2011


I have a theory that the world before the 80s had a lot more litter in it.

There was. When I was an early teen, suburban early 70s, it was uncool not to litter. The world was our dump.

And the music was better.

And the car chases.
(Speaking of early 70s Brooklyn)
posted by philip-random at 12:25 AM on June 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


There's are by Danny Lyon ! (The photo linked at the exclamation mark is pretty iconic.)

Danny Lyon is the fucking best! Brooklyn!
posted by From Bklyn at 1:08 AM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't know NY, but I would love it if there was a comparison with street view today. Can someone do this?

Street view of the building on Vanderbilt Ave. (7th photo from bottom)


And going past it, a sightseeing bus - that's something you didn't see in 1974 I would imagine.

Interesting that someone would mention litter, it's so often the other way around "people never used to litter in my day". And then you show them pics from the 70s or the 40s or the 1890s (ok, not so much litter - but lots of horse and dog waste) and, well to be honest, they still think it was better back then, but what can you do?
posted by ntrifle at 1:15 AM on June 10, 2011


Danny Lyon is the real deal.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 2:52 AM on June 10, 2011


Another google street view (not great quality)

Wall paintings on Nostrand Ave., Brooklyn (actually on Park Place)
posted by ntrifle at 2:53 AM on June 10, 2011


I don't remember it being that yellow. But it was that littery, burned out, beat down, blasted, dangerous, and desperate. But we were young. And this is the world we had to work with, so we woke up every morning, cheerful, and lived and loved and had our lives in it. (Those guys sitting on the stoop in APARTMENT HOUSE ACROSS FROM FORT GREEN PARK IN BROOKLYN NEW YORK CITY. June 1974, used to harass my sister, and once calmly got up, crossed the street and mugged a friend of mine. Mugging in those days was often a plain ritual of show-the-gun, give-the-money, with the criminals having no fear.)
posted by Faze at 4:25 AM on June 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Anyone else read THE FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, by Jonathan Lethem?
posted by crunchland at 4:42 AM on June 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Goddamn hipsters everywhere!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 5:00 AM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Listen, you fuckers, you screwheads. Here is a man who would not take it anymore. A man who stood up against the scum, the cunts, the dogs, the filth, the shit. Here is a man who stood up.
posted by pracowity at 5:02 AM on June 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have a theory that the world before the 80s had a lot more litter in it.

There was. When I was an early teen, suburban early 70s, it was uncool not to litter. The world was our dump.


This and this, though they seem like jokes today, actually did a lot to start changing attitudes. The commercials were just part of a real, publicly funded push in schools and the media to end the problem, and shocking as it sounds, it actually worked for the large part.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 5:17 AM on June 10, 2011 [4 favorites]


And the car chases

Wow, that was great, I don't think that I've seen that move since the 70s. Great big Detroit cars with soft suspension going a hundred miles an hour. Scheider could look pissed-off better than anyone.
posted by octothorpe at 5:23 AM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


the world before the 80s had a lot more litter in it.

Yeah, I remember when being "ecological" on a personal scale pretty much meant not throwing garbage on the ground. There were big, bad chemical companies and so on doing the major polluting, but on the human scale the big thing was littering or not littering. At least that's the way it seems now, looking back.
posted by pracowity at 5:27 AM on June 10, 2011


I have a theory that the world before the 80s had a lot more litter in it.

City cleanup and garbage services (in NYC) during the 70s were also rather bad, I believe. It was a time of great fiscal crisis for the city. And of course, not just Brooklyn, but all over, including Manhattan. A lot of the cinema from that time shows a very filthy Manhattan and Brooklyn ("Panic in Needle Park", Midnight Cowboy", "Dog Day Afternoon", "the French Connection"), for example. People might have been likelier to toss garbage on the street back then, but I also think it had a lot to do with little to no budget for cleanup.

I remember the first times I visited NYC, starting very shortly after I moved to Boston in 1977. New York was so much grimier then, and yeah, lots more garbage in the streets everywhere.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:45 AM on June 10, 2011


Both my mother's and father's families were from Brooklyn so we went there a lot in the 60s and 70s. I moved upstate in 1975 to go to college so my memories of Brooklyn are basically what's in these photos. Today's Brooklyn is an entirely different place, only vaguely similar to the place of my memories.

Re: litter - Don't forget the NY state bottle deposit. Nothing like armies of folks picking up discarded bottles that were formerly worthless to help with litter.
posted by tommasz at 5:51 AM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Could you really find shells this big at the beach in Brooklyn? If so, wow!
posted by limeonaire at 5:52 AM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Looking towads the Manhattan Bridge

That's a similar view to a shot in Once Upon a Time in America.

Last one Carroll Gardens 1970s

Check out the cute little Ramones.
[Photo does not contain actual Ramones.]

Black sports heros are the motifs in the wall paintings on Nostrand Ave., Brooklyn

That was when O.J. Simpson was still just a sports hero. I also recognize Dr. J, Hank Aaron, and Babe Ruth.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:53 AM on June 10, 2011


I have no connection to Brooklyn or New York, but I was born in 1974 and I would love to see a similar photo set for my home town (Milwaukee). My dad was/is a pretty good amateur photographer; I'd guess he has some good shots. This post inspires me to go through his slide collection and digitize the highlights.
posted by desjardins at 5:57 AM on June 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


More poverty and litter? Yeah. But no branding. No corporate homgenization of everyday life.

What an awful thing to say.

Meanwhile, just a few blocks away was another little world, completely different and unique from your own.

Where you would be beaten up for being an outsider.
posted by gjc at 6:13 AM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Waaaaariors, come out to plaaaay.
posted by yeti at 6:15 AM on June 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


Where you would be beaten up for being an outsider.

Whereas today, they beat you up to steal your Nikes.
posted by briank at 6:25 AM on June 10, 2011


75% of those looks like stills from a Scorsese movie. Awesome!
posted by The Deej at 6:35 AM on June 10, 2011


I grew up in the California suburbs. These are pictures from a foreign land.

I remember when I realized, somewhere in my 30s, that Sesame Street wasn't purely a made-up fictional land, but was instead a cleaned up version of New York.
posted by benito.strauss at 6:48 AM on June 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


I grew up in the seventies during this time about 30 miles west in Jersey. I did go into the city a few times a year for school field trips and family outings to the Met and such but mostly I saw the city through the light of Channel 4 news and The New York Daily News so my impressions from that time are largely of the worst of the city. If you only got your ideas from TV and tabloid newspapers you'd think that the city at that point was almost not worth saving.
posted by octothorpe at 7:06 AM on June 10, 2011


No corporate homgenization of everyday life.

Yeah, branding was totally non-existant in the 70's. Wait what? Are you talking about the era that took branding from the age of Mad Men/Darrin Stephens to the age of MTV? Todays branding is disposable, forgotten-in-five trash compared to the scientifically formulated icons of the 70's!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 7:49 AM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thank you, Robert Moses.
posted by mrhappy at 7:58 AM on June 10, 2011


I too grew up on the West Coast -- and I've still not yet ever been to NYC (dammit), but even though I know that NYC hasn't been that way for, what now, 20-odd years, every mental image I have of NYC is the equivalent of these photographs of it, because that's all you ever saw of NYC as represented on TV and in movies in a certain day and age.
posted by blucevalo at 8:19 AM on June 10, 2011


It wasn't just another world to you Californians. I grew up a mere stone's throw away, in the tawny reaches of Connecticut, and although we often went into Manhattan for day trips, or an occasional trip to Queens to watch the Mets play, the idea of going to Brooklyn or worse, Harlem or the Bronx, was completely out of the question. You'd only go there if you had a death wish back in the 70's. As I mentioned above, reading Lethem has since given me a better picture of what life was really like there back then.
posted by crunchland at 8:34 AM on June 10, 2011


1974, Brooklyn: The year and place of my birth. These pics show a time before crack... Before the Shower Posse ran things in my part of Brooklyn... things were about to get really bad...

June 1982 Willie Turks Beating
October 1984 Eleanor Bumpurs (Bronx)
December 1984 Subway Vigilante Bernhard Goetz
December 1985 "Big" Paul Castellano Assassination
May 1986 77th Precinct Scandal
November 1986 Larry Davis (Bronx/Citywide)
December 1986 Michael Griffith & The Howard Beach Incident
September 1988 The Rise of the Decepticons (approx.)
August 1989 Yusef Hawkins
August 1991 Crown Heights Riot

...That's the Brooklyn of my youth.
posted by Stu-Pendous at 8:42 AM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


These are awesome. Lovely photos. Here's another Brooklyn set from a flickr user that I believe was posted here previously.
posted by oneirodynia at 8:50 AM on June 10, 2011


...That's the Brooklyn of my youth.

And that's the Brooklyn I moved to in 1984. I remember all those things pretty well. There was a lot of really, really good stuff, too, though. Personally, I thought it started getting bad in the mid-90s, and I left in '95. Getting bad how? Just too fucking expensive. Brooklyn (Fort Greene, specifically) priced me out!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:57 AM on June 10, 2011


Street view of the building on Vanderbilt Ave. (7th photo from bottom)

Holy crap, I was wondering what building that was.

In return, I'm pretty sure this is the "apartment building across from Ft. Greene Park".
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:58 AM on June 10, 2011


September 1988 The Rise of the Decepticons (approx.)

I never actually believed there were any Decepticons.

There was also actual terrorism! in New York back then. There were seven bombings by the group FALN between 1974 and 1980.

Anyone else read THE FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, by Jonathan Lethem?

Sure, I'm from roughly the same area. I loved his descriptions of skelly. I spent hours making skelly tops but I don't think I ever actually played skelly.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:03 AM on June 10, 2011


t I was born in 1974 and I would love to see a similar photo set for my home town (Milwaukee). My dad was/is a pretty good amateur photographer; I'd guess he has some good shots. This post inspires me to go through his slide collection and digitize the highlights.

Do it, man. I've been researching a movie set in early 70s Canadian suburbia. It's a little shocking how little online evidence there is of it in terms of just straight ahead photo-documentation -- what normal buildings, streets, parks, neighborhoods, normal people actually looked like.
posted by philip-random at 9:28 AM on June 10, 2011


It reminds me of the opening sequence of Dog Day Afternoon
posted by readery at 10:02 AM on June 10, 2011


I was about 8 months old when these photos were taken, but they are very evocative of the memories I have from visiting my grandparents in Brooklyn in the late 70s and early 80s. In my memories it always seems to a hot summer day with lots of boys not wearing shirts. (Of course I know we visited my grandparents at Christmastime as well, but maybe it was too cold to leave their apartment). Anyhow, thanks for sharing the memories.
posted by Rarebit Fiend at 10:39 AM on June 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Gorgeous photos. It's so nice to see actual photos from the 70s, and not photos that have been run through an app that makes them appear as though they were shot in the 70s. Ugh. Hate that trend.
posted by heyho at 11:50 AM on June 10, 2011


This was the New York City of my high school days. As a suburban kid my forays into the city were generally limited to Manhattan, but there were plenty of places that looked just like this with litter everywhere and dilapidated buildings. They don't show the subways here but those were quite an experience - like something from Dante's Inferno in the summer, with stench and graffiti and crowds and busted A/C and power failures stranding you in pitch dark tunnels with your face jammed into somebody's sweaty armpit.

This photoset comes from the year before Gerry Ford's famous F U to New York City but you can see the runup to that situation.

New York really was on the skids. My dad worked for CUNY and they stopped paying their staff for several months. As in, no paychecks, no money, nada. This was true for many if not all city employees (I'm not sure if benefits like health insurance were kept up). But New Yorkers are a stubborn and oddly loyal - or maybe just defiant - bunch and many of them kept right on working for free. Eventually the City paid off the back wages in dribs and drabs over the next few years, but it was definitely a grim time to be a New Yorker.

Those days are cemented in my memory as "the real New York City", and now when I visit I'm amazed at how clean it is, how swanky everything looks, and how nice the subways are.
posted by Quietgal at 11:50 AM on June 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Anyone else read THE FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, by Jonathan Lethem?

That part of Dean Street is two blocks away from the house on Wyckoff where my mom and a lot of her family used to live. The Selling of The Wyckoff House in The Late 80s, Like Ten or Fifteen Freaking Years Too Early Oh My God is a long-running favorite in our family pool of laments, for obvious reasons.
posted by invitapriore at 3:55 PM on June 10, 2011


I grew up in the California suburbs. These are pictures from a foreign land.

I remember when I realized, somewhere in my 30s, that Sesame Street wasn't purely a made-up fictional land, but was instead a cleaned up version of New York.


Yes! I grew up in the Midwest, and I had the same realization upon my first visit to New York/New Jersey in my mid-twenties. You ever visit Hoboken, N.J.? That's probably the one place in the world right now that looks the most like Sesame Street to my eye.
posted by limeonaire at 7:24 AM on June 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


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