Photographer Miron Zownir has just published NYC RIP, a collection of photographs capturing the "day-to-day lunacy" of New York City in the 1980s--mostly images of sex workers and drug addicts--with an introduction by Lydia Lunch.
In talking to Dazed, Zownir recalled of his time in New York, “Rents were still cheap, crime was high, most of the Lower East Side, Harlem and the Bronx were dangerous slums, the establishment was uncomfortable and scared, and the police corrupt or helpless to guarantee any protection. But NYC was bursting with a sexual and creative energy that was overwhelming.”
His beat was Times Square, the Bowery, the piers along the Hudson River. All places that have been sterilized since. As Lydia Lunch writes in the intro, the city has been "white washed of all its kaleidoscopic perversions in order to make it safe for anyone who could afford the ridiculous rents charged for shoe box size apartments."
see full NSFW image here
Recently in the Times, Edmund White asked why so many of us are nostalgic for the gritty New York of the 1970s/80s. He explained that there's "a craving for the city that, while at its worst, was also more democratic: a place and a time in which, rich or poor, you were stuck together in the misery (and the freedom) of the place, where not even money could insulate you."
In New York magazine this week, Mark Jacobson writes about the 1970s New York nostalgia trend. He says, "Change is the genius of the city, what has always made New York what it is. But the whiplash rezoning of more than 40 percent of the five boroughs during Bloomberg’s tenure has produced a generational-based moral crisis. Longtime residents no longer feel the joy of the ever-altering landscape, the rapid clip of cosmopolitan turnover that creates continuity. They walk about gaslighted, as if suddenly set down in a drug dealer’s apartment, with everything new and shiny, bought at the same time."
Read more at Dazed. Get NYC RIP. And see Miron's work here.