26 March 2010

A View From 1978


A friend recently found an old souvenir picture book of New York at a stoop sale and picked it up to give to me. It was published in 1978 and has some wonderful old shots in it. One of my favorites is the above view of Times Square, looking up Broadway from 46th Street. Notice the Howard Johnson's in the foreground. That newsstand is still there. Nothing else, though.

Below are two views of Fifth and Sixth Avenues, looking fairly unchanged, aside from the people's clothes and the cars.








Here is a scene from the old Chelsea free market.


This shot of Times Square's W. 44th Street looks particularly foreboding. Love the big old metal chartered bus steaming through.


This is Greenwich Village. W. 4th near the corner of Sixth.

19 comments:

john said...

FYI that first shot of Sixth Ave is actually Fifth Ave...666 Fifth can be seen at center & the railings to the right are for the steps to St. Pat's.

Tom Fielding said...

The last time I was at these scenes was 1963 while in the Coast Guard. Sure brings back good memories. I'm retired now after 21 yrs. tomfeel....said

wh said...

You missed an opportunity to lament the loss of the terrific Coogan Building featured in the picture of the Chelsea Flea Market

This picture is only one I've been able to find of it on the internets.

http://www.nyc-architecture.com/GON/GON019.htm

David Freeland said...

I especially appreciate seeing the old Coogan Building on Sixth Avenue. That was indeed a great loss, one that should never have been allowed to happen.

kingb said...

hey, nobody is looking down at their iPhones or Blackberries!

Bob Hopeless said...

Hey,
My wife is enraptured with your blog and now has me hooked. She knew I would love to see anything on Times Square in the late 70's, early 80's when it was my very frequent stomping grounds (and not generally for the most morally upright reasons). So it is with more than a twinge of nostalgic sadness that I can report that I used to go see strippers at the Follies Burlesk above the Howard Johnson's, clearly visible in the picture. This was, if not old school burlesque, certainly old school in some fashion- small wooden stage, dim lights, quiet crowd of single,scruffy men and a variety of performers, some young and some quite shopworn, performing for a few scattered tips. Scratchy old records played. No techno, no flashing lights, no table dances and no stockbrokers or similar masters of the universe spending corporate funds (or taxpayer bailout money) on "entertainment".

Your blog is fantastic, and making me sad as shit. But thanks anyway.

b-midnight said...

Ah! A 70's trend I don't mind coming back, NO BRAS!

Brooks of Sheffield said...

Thanks much, Bob. Don't be so hopeless. Still some nice thing left in the city.

Ken Mac said...

looks like sunday morning

Ken Mac said...

what was the mad obsession with orange?

Carlos said...

i love those old photos. Definitely classics!

Upstate Johnny G said...

The plethora of orange in the photo Brooks posted might be due to color fading over time. Most of these might have been red in reality, except for the HoJo, which was famous for using orange. Great photos Brooks! Reminds me a trip I took with one of my high school classes, back in 1972. Our teacher was pretty young and hip and had gone to Columbia for his MA so he knew the city. There were only about 15 of us. It wasn't an "official" school trip, just a bunch of us going to the big city with our teacher. He let us make the calls as to what we did and if I remember correctly we went to the Empire State Bldg, saw a first-run movie (my town only had a second-run theater), walked around Times Square, and had dinner at a restaurant beneath the Hotel Taft called Enrico and Pagliarulli (or some such) where we enjoyed a great pasta dinner. In those days the drinking age in New York was 18 as opposed to the 21 it was back home. SOME of us were actually 18 but not all, by any means. We were pretty nervous about getting served, but what's an Italian meal without wine? The waiter was young and hip and when he told us he had to card us he said "just show me some kind of a card with your name on it. I don't care what kind." I showed him a library card!! We had a great time, no one got drunk, and the strangest person we saw all day was a guy in OUR group who sported a huge orange (all natural) afro and snow-white skin. He was intrigued by the recruiting station at Times Square, and, using a rolled up rock poster as a rifle, he pretended to mount an assault on it. He didn't even draw a glance from anyone except laughs from us, which perhaps shows how different the world was then. Thanks, Brooks, for tripping that memory switch.

Marjorie said...

I love this blog. I have to go through it more thoroughly, but thanks for posting this photo.

I was a teacher, in 1978, at a public school just three blocks from this location.

I am filled with nostalgia.

Brian said...

I was a senior at the HS of Performing Arts on W46th St between 6th and Bway when that shot was taken. The Burger King in the background was a Horn & Hardart Automat with a lovely decaying balcony. There was one on 6th between 45th-46th St too. That photo really sums up the look of the time. Never did I think back then that TImes Square would be a "destination" vacation, let alone a neighborhood to live in!

Geocosmic said...

I found your blog by typing in "New York City 1978" and immediately came upon the photo of Times Square 46th Street and Broadway. Tears jumped to my eyes to see the two ads of "The Wiz" and "Bubbling Brown Sugar" looking like they're next to each other. I had an aunt performing in The Wiz and an Uncle performing music in Bubbling Brown Sugar. I was 11 years old and from a far out of town suburb so Times Square was more than a little intimidating. My aunt took my brother and I to that Burger King and we ate upstairs looking out of the window at the ads with the moving signs and smoke blowing out of them.

This photo also helped answer another question I had. The Wiz openned at The Majestic Theatre and I knew it moved a few years later but didn't know what theatre it moved to. The sign in this photo says, "Now at the Broadway Theatre." Awesome. This brings me back to when the performance bug was ignited in me and it's amazing to see.

Anyone curious about the interior of the Howard Johnson's restaurant in this photo should look at the DVD of the film "Fame". The scene of Coco being flattered into doing an audition-gone-wrong is filmed in that Howard Johnson's at the coffee counter. I can't believe it's gone. It was there right up until the mid 90's.

Fantastic blog!

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great classic photos

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Kristian Rex said...

Does anybody remember two clubs in NYC, TRAX at 100 w 72nd, and another on the upper east side called JP's? JP was the owner of both and was a great friend and was wondering if anyone knows of his whereabouts or if he is still in the business. he and Paul Colby gave me my start. Kristian Rex kristianrex@gmail.com