Wednesday, February 13, 2013

80s Deuce

Awhile ago, photographer and illustrator Mitch O'Connell posted to his blog a plethora of photos he took of 42nd Street in the 1980s. He writes, "Wish I had taken 1000 photos (and gone back at night), but at least I got a handful of snapshots of the long gone cool decaying seediness of that bustling stretch of real estate!"

Mitch O'Connell

Thanks to Jim Linderman at Vintage Sleaze and to Mick Dementiuk for sending in the links to this amazing work.

You can see all of Mitch's 42nd Street photos by clicking: here and here and here and here and here and here.

Mitch O'Connell

Wait a minute, is that Jon-Erik Hexum in that fake ID photo? No, it's that other guy. What's his name?

Mitch O'Connell


marjorie said...

pretty sure that's ted mcginley.

retaining the names of actors who have appeared on the love boat and/or fantasy island is my sadly unmonetizable superpower.

Sybil Bruncheon said...

Jeremiah! It's so great to see someone care so much for NYC and its wonderful (and vanishing!) eccentricity...I've been collecting any pieces of NYC memorabilia, when fate and money would allow! Especially Greenwich Village items. My two latest triumphs??...the swinging kitchen doors from the original Waverly Inn dating back to 1920. They were being tossed out during the last 'renovation' and I managed to get them before they went in the dumpster. Like you, I wish I had done so much more to photograph or actually rescue so much that's been lost!!! Keep up the great work, and with any luck, we'll run into each other someday and share a coffee over great stories and memories!

maximum bob said...

I remember it certainly had flavor. Now it's all glitz.
I especially can't stand those
goddamn costumed creeps walking around hustling tourists.

Anonymous said...

Aside from the fact that it's sad that this poetically broken down era has passed, the sadder thing for me personally is that I took all of it for granted. I came to NYC in 1986 and had passed through Times Square and the deuce hundreds if not thousands of times. If someone from the future had come up to me back then and said "You see all this? In 20-25 years it's all going to be gone and turned into a tourist attraction" I would have never believed them. It just didn't look like it could be dismantled and turned over in such a relatively short time. Now everytime I see a collection of photos like these, I could kick my own ass a million times because I didn't do the same. Not until the demise of Howard Johnson's did I actually get a good chunk of pics. Sad, sad, sad.

Victor J. Banis said...

If you like reading about old time Times Square, you owe yourself the pleasure of reading some of Mick (Mykola) Dementiuk's writings. Mick has been dubbed The Bard of 42nd Street, and he writes about it the way it was - often raw and seedy and never dull and dressed up.

esquared™ said...

That's Gabriel Hedfield of UVA. =-\

Just recently saw the 1983 film Variety, about a woman ticket taker at a porn movie theater-- Variety-- but set in Times Square, (which really was supposed to be in 3rd ave. and 14th street). Ok film, but good shots of the old Times Square, Yankees Stadium, Fulton Fish Market, and Manhattan. Based on Nan Goldin's cinematic narrative photographs. And a young Luis Guzman is in this film.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for posting these pics and for the links! I remember this NYC fondly, if not with a bit of fear. NYC in those days was a place you had to grow up to enjoy and appreciate. Part of it was dangerous, part of it was expensive, yet there was another part of it if you were young and had the wherewithal you could live there cheaply, find kindred spirits, and create something memorable. It hit me hard that things had changed when I saw a humungous Hollister store on 5th Avenue. Fifth freakin' Avenue! That's where you went to shop For Reelz--to find real designer stuff or to just marvel at the sculptures in the Steuben Glass store. Not ogle a bunch of kitsch, overpriced, imitation logo t-shirts. I'm horrified how suburban NYC has become, how sanitized, how tourist-friendly and creative un-friendly. Even the garment district is museums!! (and we used to go there to buy bulk t-shirts to dye and print for our t-shirt business...) I still love NYC, don't get me wrong, but I miss the sleaze, the "danger" (it was only dangerous to those not mature nor savvy enough to handle it.) NYC shouldn't be a playground for midwestern kids who want pics with Elmo and jerks who think nightclubbing is getting drunk and throwing up all over everyone.

Mitch O'Connell said...

Thanks for the link!
Much appreciated!

Mykola ( Mick) Dementiuk said...

You know I'm always reading your blog. Man, it's fantastic!

Anonymous said...

I think that the most pathetic thing about those cheesy Times Square photo ID's is that I never once got turned away at a bar in the city with one.