Tuesday, July 9, 2013

1970s Stock Footage

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.


chummy's mum said...

Incredible archives!! Thank you, as always, for sharing it with us!!

NYCDreamin said...

Thanks for the links - great video!

zeldamet said...

I am simply at a loss for words. The young woman nodding off in the last photo is my sister. She passed away almost two years ago and suddenly seeing her on your blog took my breath away. What are the odds?

Jeremiah Moss said...

zeldamet, that is astonishing.

Did you look at the video? That's where the screenshot is from.

Anonymous said...

I remember pictures one and three. I was too young to understand what the psychedelic fun house was, but it didn't look like much fun to me. I always wanted to eat at the stalls. The idea of having a hot dog AND pizza at once was amazing. But my parents never let me. When I got older, I didn't want to! I remember the "chop suey" place. I am not sure if I ate there though. We used to go to Sam Wo in Chinatown and a second floor place near Macy's.

My father was an artist with a place in Hell's Kitchen, then Spring/Lafayette (across the street from a methadone clinic and next to the office of Punk Magazine). To use the phone, we had to cross Lafayette and use the coin phone next to the methadone clinic, with my dad standing in the doorway of our building watching. Calls were infrequent and short.

Funny thing, as soon as they could afford it, we moved 60 miles outside of NYC. 1970s in NYC was an odd place for a child.

zeldamet said...

Yes, I watched it. The fact that this is one of the stills you used on the blog is only one of the insane aspects of this. My son-in-law subscribes to the blog and spotted it. He couldn't believe his eyes and sent to me and a couple of other people - all of whom recognized her. It's really going to take a few days to get over this.

Unknown said...

How do i see the video?

sammy71 said...

Wow, of all the things I have seen on this blog. This footage has touched me the most, especially part 2, with all the kids playing in the street everywhere and all the mom and pop shops.

Its sort of depressing when you realize that its all gone never to return, replaced by a populace that I seriously detest.

Yes, NYC has always changed but there was always room for the common man, his offspring and the type of retail establishments that would cater to him and this is what made New York.

What's happening now ( or happened already ) is disgusting.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in NYC during the 80's and 90's but my father and Grand father were in NYC and it was a way different scene. 40's-60's were more civilized and family oriented, the 70's was exciting and fun I heard but very scary.

When I grew up we called in "New Jack City" like the movie with Wesley Snipes.

Now It seems very young, white-suburbanite, single, narcissistic. The criminals and thugs kind of kept the white bread suburbanites out of the city in the 80's and early 90's but that's long gone.