Last month, Ephemeral New York ran a post featuring some never-before-seen downtown street photos taken in the summer of 1979.
They were taken by a Dutch sailor whose ship was docked in New York Bay.
Whenever he could take a day off and visit Manhattan, he brought along his camera, capturing the energy and excitement of a city he had no idea was at its supposed nadir, facing bankruptcy and with residents fleeing fast.
These photos are from the same collection. Rather than random street shots revealing glimpses of the magic and beauty of day-to-day life downtown, they focus on stores—the kind of small, local businesses that are becoming an endangered species in today’s Manhattan.
Some of these businesses still exist, like Rocco’s, still the best pastry shop on Bleecker Street.
Ottomanelli’s meat market also remains on Bleecker; you can see part of the old-school sign in the photo below…
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