Gritty Photographs of ’80s New York

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Take a stroll through New York City in the mid-80s. Visit the pre-“Disney-fied” Times Square with its XXX theaters and Evangelical protestors. See glimpses of Manhattan and Brooklyn, before gentrification. Every time we look back at New York — in the 1900s, the ’40s, the ’70s — we get a twinge of idealistic nostalgia. Yet, it wasn’t all cheap hot dogs and naughty peep shows. “Gritty” isn’t an aesthetic. But go right ahead, nod and swoon and let the photographs of Steven Siegel transport you to the times, places and people since then displaced by the passing of decades and NYC’s vicious real estate market. For more Steven Siegel’s New York, check out dozens of photos in his set, hundreds on his Flickr page and his stellar short films of Subway graffiti and Coney Island.

Photo credit: Steven Siegel. Times Square, circa 1985

Photo credit: Steven Siegel. Street protest on the Upper West Side, circa 1980

Photo credit: Steven Siegel. NYC Street Portrait

Photo credit: Steven Siegel. Times Square, circa 1980

Photo credit: Steven Siegel. NYC in the ’80s

Photo credit: Steven Siegel. Times Square Birdman

Photo credit: Steven Siegel. Bushwick

Photo credit: Steven Siegel. Times Square, circa 1985

Photo credit: Steven Siegel. NYC in the ’80s

Photo credit: Steven Siegel. The Bowery and Houston Street, circa 1980