Recently, an exciting collection of vintage New York photos has turned up in the Vanishing New York Flickr pool. From photographer Carl Burton, they show a ragged city filled with slumped brick walls, neon, hot dog stands, and nudie joints.
Carl Burton, behind Klein's on Union Square
He's got some fantastic 1980s street portraits, mostly taken in Hell's Kitchen, including lots of tough kids, biker guys, and a group shot of hippies with one girl in a t-shirt that says: "Born on a mountain, raised in a cave, truckin' 'n fuckin' is all I crave." She'd just come in on the train from Long Island.
A set of black-and-white shots lends a noirish air to the city, a world of topless dance parlors and crumbling movie palaces.
Carl Burton, Fanelli's 1979
Carl told me, "These day's I'm not doing as much work on the street as before--I used to get up early in the morning and lug my 4x5 Deardorff around New York, looking for good stuff. The change is astonishing, and I now think that I've put together a small historical archive of the city."
His Broadway and Beyond set shows several scenes of Times Square in full color in the 1980s.
Said Carl, "New York is certainly a more civilized place these days, but, visually, during the 70s and 80s--periods of economic difficulty--it was much more exciting. The whole theater district was beautiful in its decline. It was seedy and had a melancholy beauty that has largely disappeared. I'm glad that I had the energy to get up early and shoot."
This shot's got it all--adult bookstore, Nedick's, a bank of phone booths--everything vanished:
Carl says he's interested in re-shooting some of the sites he documented in the 1980s. "I've more or less abandoned film these days, except for my Fuji 6x17. But when I look at the prints made from large and medium-format film, I'm thrilled by their beauty. It's like the difference between the sound on LPs and CDs."
NYC '75 by DeWolf
Getting Lost in the City
Laura Rubin Photos