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September 22, 2021

Life of a New York Family in the 1970s Through Beautiful Photos

Reeling from a decade of social turmoil, New York in the 1970s fell into a deep tailspin provoked by the flight of the middle class to the suburbs and a nationwide economic recession that hit New York’s industrial sector especially hard.


Combined with substantial cuts in law enforcement and citywide unemployment topping ten percent, crime and financial crisis became the dominant themes of the decade.

In just five years from 1969 to 1974, the city lost over 500,000 manufacturing jobs, which resulted in over one million households being dependent on welfare by 1975. In almost the same span, rapes and burglaries tripled, car thefts and felony assaults doubled, and murders went from 681 to 1690 a year.

Depopulation and arson also had pronounced effects on the city: abandoned blocks dotted the landscape, creating vast areas absent of urban cohesion and life itself.

In totality, the decade was a transformative one for New York, as it reconfigured the economic and social realities of America's most prominent city. By the conclusion of the 1970s, over a million people had left the city.

These vintage photos from Helena Volkova were taken by her father that show life of his family as well as New York’s street scenes from 1972 to 1976.



































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