"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Where & When: Special Request 3

What, another one? Hmmm…

Where & When Request 3 2015This was obviously somewhere in the middle of some big-picture thinking, but this humble view belies a rich chapter in the city’s history.  No extra clues necessary for this one, either, but there will be a certain amount of guessing here; guess right or closest and you’ll win today’s prize of a big mug of cold root beer (because the weather is wonky this Christmas season) and perhaps a small pizza roll as a bonus for each bit of trivia you bring to the conversation.  So, the idea is Where this picture was taken (approximately) and When (approximately).  I won’t say too much to spoil the fun, but I hope you’ll keep the conversation going with the trivia.  Have fun, folks!

Photo Credit: Andy Blair

Categories:  1: Featured  Chyll Will  Where & When

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1 Bronx Boy in NC   ~  Dec 23, 2015 12:35 pm

The angle between Liberty and Ellis islands put the location as Battery Park City, and the state of affairs told me it's the landfill on which they had yet to build - so early 1970s. The photographer is standing on the abandoned West Side Highway.

A little browsing and I found this photog's Flickr posting, where he tags the shot as June of '74.

I know it runs counter to the usual spirit here (missing the "authentic" old Deuce, etc.), but a shot like this brings back to me just how shitty things were then. Most people weren't at CBGB or hanging out with Lou Reed. They were living with abandoned cars and ankle-deep dogshit and hoping they made it home without getting mugged. The only things I miss about early-'70s New York are Thurman Munson and my grandparents.

2 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 23, 2015 1:49 pm

I'm not against discussing that at all, honestly. It's a reality of the city, that's what I meant about the "rich history", meaning that there is a lot of harmony and tragedy (a LOT of tragedy) involving the development of New York. Definitely the financial crisis in the 70s that incorporated the scenes you mentioned (particularly in the Bronx) is a major part of that history, and what I find most ironic is that the current "redevelopment" largely ignored, pushed aside or stomped all over the needs of the people who lived through those hard times.

Consider the development of the original World Trade Center; a large contingency of families and small businesses in an area that had a discernible identity were wiped off the map to build a landmark that laid largely unoccupied for many years. There were other plans that would have had similar effects on Manhattan and the city in general had it not been for yet another contingency which stood up against the powers that be and actually stopped wholesale remapping of at least Lower Manhattan.

I do miss the architecture of older New York in the sense of craftsmanship that seems to have been abandoned in the last half-century, yet I'll never ignore the blight that came about even with those buildings, as well as with the reckless development (among other things) of modern and "post modern" New York, so that's why I encourage discussion here not only of the sites and trivia, but of the era itself. The 1970's was not the urban utopia the movies and TV shows may make it seem to be in hindsight, but all aspects of the city from its pearly gates and skyscrapers and dinner parties to its abandoned and/or burning tenements and garbage-filled curbs and violence are equally valid.

I invite everyone to watch "New York: A Documentary Film" in eight full episodes by Ric Burns (Brother of Ken Burns) that details a fascinating timeline from Henry Hudson's first voyage into the harbor to the aftermath of the fall of the Twin Towers. It covers a lot of ground and inspired me to do further research into the city itself, finding that the series doesn't pull many punches in its process. (The above is eps. 1 of 8)

3 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 23, 2015 1:51 pm

[1] You got the root beer, by the way, not to mention a big pizza roll >;)

4 rbj   ~  Dec 23, 2015 4:38 pm

Dang, finishing up Christmas food shopping with the parents (in their 80s) so I missed this. Yeah, Ellis Island is the key.

Is that low tide, or just a polluted marshland?

BTW, Cubs released Brendan Ryan. Non roster invitee? Cubs on the hook for his salary already.

5 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 23, 2015 4:41 pm

[4] That may have been the plan all along, but I'm only speculating.

6 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Dec 23, 2015 8:21 pm

[0] Darn it, too late. I would have got this one.

[1] I hear you on that kind of nostalgia, and yet..every time I come back to visit NYC I'm more and more put off. Times Sqaure is a hideous, Huxleyan nightmare. The Village has long been whited-out by millionaires (Thankfully the Village Vanguard is still there, but for how long?)

And my hometown of Brooklyn..the house I grew up in my father bought for $80,000 in 1979, as a 35-year old lower-middle class fead of the family. That house today last was sold for $1.4 million...maybe the city was a dump in the 70s, but it's completely unaffordable now while also having much of the old culture destroyed.. :(

7 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 23, 2015 8:58 pm

[6] Maybe you and Boat have time for a nightcap? I'll see what I can do.

8 Bronx Boy in NC   ~  Dec 24, 2015 12:39 am

[2], [6] I didn't mean to drag this enjoyable exercise into a downer. And I agree gentrification and Disnification are not great outcomes either. Somewhere between David Berkowitz and Donald Trump, the truth lies.

We strive on toward the ideal Mark Helprin saw in Winter's Tale:

For what can be imagined more beautiful than the sight of a perfectly just city rejoicing in justice alone?

9 Chyll Will   ~  Dec 24, 2015 1:21 am

It's cool, I was expanding on your larger point. The only tangible downers from this game are the 4 and 5 to Bowling Green >;)

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