The “Sassy” ’70s in Photos, From Suburbia to the NYC Stage


Meryl Meisler’s last photography project looked at wild times in disco-era Bushwick and beyond. Now, she returns to the ’70s in a more personal book and exhibition.

Purgatory & Paradise: SASSY ’70s Suburbia & The City, alternates between the theatrical flair of New York in the decadent decade and Mesiler’s family’s suburban life, from Rosh Hashanah dinner to weddings, from the circus to Fire Island. “This book encapsulates my coming of age: The Bronx, suburbia, The Mystery Club, dance lessons, Girl Scouts, the Rockettes, the circus, school, mitzvahs, proms, feminism, Disco, Go-Go, Jewish and LGBT Pride, the New York streets, friendship, family and love,” writes Meisler in an introduction to the project. “I had to photograph it to make sense of it all. To hold onto the time, to release and share it, put it in perspective and move on. It was sassy, but also sweet, and so was I.” Thus, a chaotic time and place are filtered back through black and white.

Enjoy a sampling of images below.

Father and Sons In Pinstriped Suits at The Easter Parade, NY, NY, 1977. Photo credit: Meryl Meisler

Ms Fire Island with USA flag Hat, Cherry Grove Fire Island, NY. Photo credit: Meryl Meisler

Love in Bloom G-d Bless America, Henry Street Settlement. Photo credit: Meryl Meisler

North Massapequa, NY, Rosh Hashanah, September 1975. Photo credit: Meryl Meisler

Clown Car at The Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus, NY. Photo credit: Meryl Meisler

Mom Kvelling During Ken and Laurie’s Wedding, Syosset, NY. Photo credit: Meryl Meisler

Subway Rider Profile, NY, NY, March 1978. Photo credit: Meryl Meisler

Self Portrait, The Ballerina, N Massapequa, NY June 1975. Photo credit: Meryl Meisler

The Rockettes Raise Their Arms, Radio City Music Hall NY, NY. Photo credit: Meryl Meisler