Tuesday, May 3, 2011

NYC Vintage Image Of The Day: 1970s' Times Square Dissonance

This dramatic photo of a senior New York citizen standing in front of the gay burlesque Gaiety Theatre was taken by German photographer Dirk Reinartz in 1974 at the corner of  46th Street and Broadway, located on the second floor of the famed Howard Johnson's restaurant in Times Square.
The Gaiety opened in 1975 and, despite then Mayor Guliani's clean sweep of the neighborhood in the mid-1990s, managed to remain open until March 2005, when the building was sold. Likewise, HoJo's closed that July. Today, Guliani would be thrilled to know that the building was demolished to make room for national chain American Eagle.
Stay tuned for a related NYC Vintage expose on the Times Square Howard Johnson's, which I've been collecting photos and info on for the past week!

In the midst of the oil shortage, the Vietnam War and the associated  recession, with rising unemployment and a never-ending series of  political scandals, Americans in the 1970s found themselves facing a  deep identity crisis. Dirk Reinartz captured this mood in sensitive  pictorial compositions that not only show the pervasive tristesse of the  times, but also include snapshot-like character studies that reflect  back his warm and affectionate gaze.