Striking Photos of Empty New York City Locations in the 1960s

By
Share:

It’s hard to imagine a perpetually populated New York City spot like Penn Station free of people, but photographer Duane Michals captured the quiet side of the iconic locale, and others, in his Empty New York series. Started in the 1960s, Michals explored the streets of New York during the early morning hours, capturing shops, parks, and subway cars. His striking work was the subject of a recent exhibition at DC Moore Gallery that closed in May.

“It was a fortuitous event for me [to discover the work of Eugene Atget in a book]. I became so enchanted by the intimacy of the rooms and streets and people he photographed that I found myself looking at twentieth–century New York in the early morning through his nineteenth-century eyes,” the artist stated. “Everywhere seemed a stage set. I would awaken early on Sunday mornings and wander through New York with my camera, peering into shop windows and down cul-de-sacs with a bemused Atget looking over my shoulder.”

Michals reinterpretation of the metropolis is theatrical and sometimes eerie, bringing an unexpected philosophical resonance to everyday spaces like a laundromat. See more of these rare gelatin silver prints in our gallery.

Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum of Art will exhibit Michals’ other work from November 1 through February 16. Visit DC Moore Gallery through the end of the month to see the paintings of Robert De Niro, Sr., father of actor Robert De Niro.

© Duane Michals. Courtesy of DC Moore Gallery, New York.

Duane Michals Empty New York, c. 1964 Vintage gelatin silver print 4 3/4 x 7 inches (image); 8 x 10 inches (paper)

© Duane Michals. Courtesy of DC Moore Gallery, New York.

Duane Michals Empty New York, c. 1964 Vintage gelatin silver print 4 3/4 x 7 1/4 inches (image); 8 x 10 inches (paper)

© Duane Michals. Courtesy of DC Moore Gallery, New York.

Duane Michals Empty New York, c. 1964 Vintage gelatin silver print 5 5/8 x 7 1/4 inches (paper)

© Duane Michals. Courtesy of DC Moore Gallery, New York.

Duane Michals Empty New York, c. 1964 Vintage gelatin silver print 5 7/8 x 7 1/4 inches (paper)

© Duane Michals. Courtesy of DC Moore Gallery, New York.

Duane Michals Empty New York, c. 1964 Vintage gelatin silver print 5 1/4 x 7 1/8 inches (paper)

© Duane Michals. Courtesy of DC Moore Gallery, New York.

Duane Michals Empty New York, c. 1964 Vintage gelatin silver print 5 1/4 x 7 1/4 inches (paper)

© Duane Michals. Courtesy of DC Moore Gallery, New York.

Duane Michals Empty New York, c. 1964 Vintage gelatin silver print 4 1/2 x 7 inches (image); 8 x 10 inches (paper)

© Duane Michals. Courtesy of DC Moore Gallery, New York.

Duane Michals Empty New York, c. 1964 Vintage gelatin silver print 5 x 7 1/4 inches (image); 8 x 10 inches (paper)

© Duane Michals. Courtesy of DC Moore Gallery, New York.

Duane Michals Empty New York, c. 1964 Vintage gelatin silver print 5 3/4 x 7 3/8 inches (paper)

© Duane Michals. Courtesy of DC Moore Gallery, New York.

Duane Michals Empty New York, c. 1964 Vintage gelatin silver print 5 1/4 x 7 1/4 inches (paper)

© Duane Michals. Courtesy of DC Moore Gallery, New York.

Duane Michals Empty New York, c. 1964 Vintage gelatin silver print 5 1/4 x 7 1/4 inches (paper)

© Duane Michals. Courtesy of DC Moore Gallery, New York.

Duane Michals Empty New York, c. 1964 Vintage gelatin silver print 5 1/4 x 7 1/4 inches (paper)