May 17, 2018

Shocking Photos Capture the Underage Prostitutes of New York’s Times Square in the Late 1970s

In the 1970s, pimps and prostitutes haunted Times Square along with crime-filled subways and drug dealers. These shocking photographs taken by Stephen Shames reveal the abuse and depravity of 1970s New York when male prostitutes and hustlers roamed the streets openly.

According to the book titled Runaway Kids and Prostitution, the young boys who fell into a world of drink, drugs and sex work were known as “chickens” and the perverse older men who exploited were called “chicken hawks”.

The majority of the young lads who ended up leading this depressing life were runaways or kids that had been thrown out of their homes. Others called them street hustlers, and many may have supported families through prostitution.

Crack dens would double as “sex-for-drugs” centers where boys would exchange sex for crack cocaine. Buildings were left vacant becoming home to squatters as they fell into disrepair. But Times Square changed as companies like Starbucks and Disney moved in and it became the high rise center of the metropolis we know today.

Adult male hustler kisses a 16-year-old child prostitute in Times Square.

Child prostitutes talk with chicken hawks, men who buy sex with boy prostitutes, in Times Square.

Three boy prostitutes pose for the camera while waiting for customers.

A12-year-old hustler on 7th Avenue near 42nd Street.

Two teenage hustlers walk by an x-rated video store in Times Square that offered nude girls for 25 cents.

Hustlers (center) and chicken hawks (left and right), older men who pay for sex with young boys.

Hustlers and chicken hawks.

Two young hustlers in Times Square.

A child prostitute and his friend in the subway, heading home in the Bronx after a night hustling in Times Square.

Two young hustlers sharing their happy moment.

Child prostitutes or also known as teenage hustlers share a cigarette while waiting for customers on 7th Avenue near 42nd Street.

A teenage hustler smoking in a telephone booth.

A teenage hustler fooling around with two transvestites.

A 16-year-old child prostitute (right) sniffs glue out of a paper bag as his friend (left), an older hustler, undresses him in 1979.

Hustlers (center) and chicken hawks in Times Square.

(Photos © Stephen Shames)




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