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January 23, 2020

Vintage Photos Capture Times Square’s Depravity in the 1970s and 1980s

Before Times Square became a global spots, the neighborhood was once defined by burlesque shows, porn theaters, grindhouses, go-go bars, peep shows and sex shops. A symbol of New York’s decay, 42nd Street was called the “worst” block in the city by the New York Times in 1960, with nearly every block became crammed with these seedy businesses. One of the city’s busiest corridors, every day thousands of people would have to pass under the marquees of numerous adult theaters lining the street. These 18 vintage black-and-white photographs from the late 1970s to mid-1980s, taken by renowned photographer Andreas Feininger, will give us a glimpse of the area during the time it was bound with the social decline of urban America:

Posters advertising burlesque shows at the Follies Burlesk and Gaiety Theater in in Times Square, New York City, 1975.

A man walking past the entrance to a topless bar in Times Square, New York City, 1975.

Men walking past the entrance to one of the strip clubs around Times Square, New York City, circa 1975.

Street scene showing a sex shop and massage parlour titled 'Porno House', New York City, 1975.

The 'Follies Burlesk' showing the upcoming shows for 'Valerie Craft' and 'Marinka', 46th St. and Broadway, New York City, 1978.
The 'Follies Burlesk' showing the upcoming show for the 'Gaiety Male Theater' above 'Howard Johnson's' restaurant on 46th St. and Broadway, New York City, 1978.

A sign offers 'Private Preview Booths' at a peep show, New York City, circa 1978.

A view of the entrance to the 'Live Nude Review' on West 42nd Street, New York City, circa 1978.

The entrance to the 'Rap Studio', a strip club and adult book shop in New York City, circa 1978.

The 'Whirly Girly Revue' and 'Bigtime Vaudeville' strip club signs at the 'Follies Burlesk' on 46th St. and Broadway, New York City, 1978.

Two men walking past the entrance to a topless disco, New York City, circa 1980.

Two men walking past the entrance to a topless disco, New York City, circa 1980.

The Roxy Burlesk Theater on 42nd Street, New York City, 1980.

An elderly man walks past signs, posted on glass doors, with illustrations depicting a scantily clad woman holding a bat on her fingertips, New York, 1981.

An exterior view of a cinema which is showing the adult film 'The Filthy Rich', New York City, 1982.

Cinema signs on the Rivoli Theatre and surrounding cinemas on Broadway advertising adult films and shows, New York City, 1983.

The Circus Cinema in Times Square, showing 'Taboo II', an incest-themed adult film, New York City, 1983.

Cinemas and burlesque theatres on 42nd Street, New York City, circa 1984.


1 comment:

  1. OMG 'Adult Films,' ie The Road Warrior and The Sorceress, teensy weeny bit of hyperbole here and I haven't even mentioned the Vampirella poster yet.

    ReplyDelete

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