60's Greenwich Village by Robert Otter
November 21, 2005 11:55 AM   Subscribe

Rare photographs of 60's Greenwich Village by Robert Otter. A genuine labor of love project, New York Tenor saxophonist/composer Ned Otter has compiled the work of his father Robert, a gifted photographer who passed away in 1986. Spanning 1962 through 1972, Otter's photographs capture moments from a Greenwich Village of the 60's that seem both inexplicably foreign and timelessly familiar. via alex
posted by rodney stewart (23 comments total)
One thing I noticed is how hats were going out of style... by this era, only the older and middle-age people were wearing them.
posted by rolypolyman at 12:09 PM on November 21, 2005

Thank you. I really like the alex blog too.
posted by xod at 12:14 PM on November 21, 2005

Uh, the © info needs to be bigger. I could almost make out really cool photography behind it.
posted by Rawhide at 12:21 PM on November 21, 2005

Am I doing it wrong, or are all the photos in the galleries ludicrously small?
posted by Brian James at 12:32 PM on November 21, 2005

I needed some cheering up and this did the trick. I work in the same neighborhood as where many of these shots were taken. It's still nice down here, but it isn't like it was then, sadly.
posted by jonmc at 12:52 PM on November 21, 2005

Amazing how WSP hasn't changed at all! Even the art exhibits are the same, not to mention all the barefoot hipsters chilling around the fountain.

And the "chess 3" shot, in front of the NYU law library, could have been taken today except for the cars. Very cool.
posted by booksandlibretti at 1:02 PM on November 21, 2005

Wow, that Women's House of Detention on Sixth Ave and Greenwich Ave just blew me away with its size. I had read about it but didn't know what it looked like. Now it's a really nice park, at least it wasn't replaced by a Duane Reade or something.
Great photos. I lived on macDougal btwn 3rd and 4th sts last year, and still spend most of my time around here. It's cool to see how that neighborhood used to look.
posted by banishedimmortal at 1:04 PM on November 21, 2005

I've always been fascinated by the desolate and run-down appearance of NY in photographs and films of that period. Maybe it's the black-and-white? The juxtaposition of the early 20th century artifacts giving way to the modern world?
It all seems to have that early-sunday-morning-mother-of-all-hangovers feel to it.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:13 PM on November 21, 2005

Neat post.
posted by bardic at 1:26 PM on November 21, 2005

I grew up in the Village at the time these photos were taken -- played tag at the fountain, drank orange drink at the Nedicks, bought books at the 8th street bookshop, listened to conversations between inmates of the Women's House of Detention and passersby on the street. This has me aching with nostalgia. Thanks a million.
posted by QuietDesperation at 1:32 PM on November 21, 2005

What a pleasure. I see my block... west 10th and hudson
posted by mert at 1:46 PM on November 21, 2005

Fantastic post. Having attended NYU and resided in the area for nearly 6 years, many of these shots are just mindblowing for exactly the reasons you suggest, their eerie familiarity.

I'm also struck by that women's prison. Nuts that that thing was there as recently as the late 60s.

Thanks again for a great post.
posted by saladin at 2:15 PM on November 21, 2005

Fantastic street photography. Thanks.
posted by Miko at 2:38 PM on November 21, 2005

Great post. Thanks.
posted by luckypozzo at 3:13 PM on November 21, 2005

It took me a few seconds to figure out why all the streets seemed so much bigger in these photos, and then I realized: No cars. Apparently, they must not have allowed as much street parking back then. Now both sides of the streets are always full, and then people are double-parked on top of that.
posted by Gamblor at 3:46 PM on November 21, 2005

very cool.
these are exactly the kind of images i've imagined whenever i've walked through greenwich village (i'm from toronto.) it's my favourite part of NYC.
in toronto we have yorkville which is just sad to walk through now, it's all boutiques and condos.
i couldn't tell if any of these were from the era when you could still drive throught the arch in WSP...when did they close that off? '50's?
posted by chococat at 4:38 PM on November 21, 2005

This is an interesting close up of the Women's House of Detention

from this great site


This has good pictures too:

posted by banishedimmortal at 5:11 PM on November 21, 2005

doesn't render right under firefox 1.5 / linux.. the pictures are very small.
posted by ori at 7:20 PM on November 21, 2005

you're right. broken in MacOS firefox too. i'll send him a note.
posted by rodney stewart at 7:48 PM on November 21, 2005

I've emailed Ned, and he reports it works fine in releases prior to 1.5. He extends an apology for anyone unable to view the site. Any Flash wiz know what's up?
posted by ori at 9:00 PM on November 21, 2005

must not have allowed as much street parking back then

Actually, I think it was even less regulated than today. I'd attribute the difference to a combination of factors. New York wasn't as well-heeled on average as it is today, so there were fewer car owners in the city. The suburbs were far less populated than today, and fewer people commuted into the city from homes elsewhere, making public transport more practical than driving. Car ownership was less common overall, with very few families owning more than one car and many families still owning none, particularly in metro areas.
posted by Miko at 9:11 PM on November 21, 2005

These are fascinating. I've lived in the Village for nine years and have always closely noted the ebb and flow of storefronts and street life. Does anyone know if there's a similar photo archive for Alphabet City and the lower East Side from the same era?
posted by AJaffe at 6:16 AM on November 22, 2005

They looked like pictures, but they were actually SAMPLEs.
posted by washburn at 12:46 PM on November 22, 2005

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