Reader Philip Shelley turns us on to a great find--from the NBC/Universal Film Archives, originally shot for NBC News, it's a whole bunch of 1970s stock footage of the city.
Click here to watch Part One--it includes Times Square, a quiet part of town compared to today. The silent, shuffling crowds go by, only the sound of their feet making noise. The streets are more subdued, and they're also sexier with their 1,001 Danish Delights, porn houses that offer a "box lunch," sidewalk barkers drumming up customers for the "anything goes" psychedelic burlesque.
The footage moves along. Sixth Avenue is desolate. No crowds. The whole city seems a bit hushed. Until you get to total pandemonium at what looks like Bethesda fountain in Central Park--people riding bikes and rowing boats in the water. You'll also find rare scenes in the old Children's Zoo.
Click here to watch Part Two , which goes from Harlem to Brownsville to the South Bronx, desolate scenes of children playing in the wreckage, footage of buildings in flames.
At 43 minutes in, we go to Coney Island, the beach packed like it never is today, bodies overlapping on the sand. And there's the forgotten Tornado rollercoaster, eventually lit on fire and demolished in 1978.
Finally we see city buses covered in graffiti, subways messily tagged, not with the exuberant artworks that would come in the 80s. Weary riders, bereft without uninvented electronic devices, have no choice but to think and feel as they plunge below the streets of this other, lost city.