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January 12, 2023

Grindhouse and Adult Theatres: Fascinating Snapshots of New York’s Old 42nd Street From the Late 1980s to Early 1990s

42nd Street is a major crosstown street in the New York City borough of Manhattan. It was, however, quite notorious before the renovation in the 1990s. For much of the mid and late 20th century, 42nd Street, nicknamed the “Deuce,” was the cultural center of American grindhouse theaters and home to activities often considered unsavory, including peep shows.

These photographs of the area was taken by comic book artist Mitch O’Connell from the late 1980s to early 1990s. “Way back in the late 80s, right before 42nd Street was sweep clean and purified with Disney goodness, you could still enjoy the historic New York location in all it’s noisy, colorful, rude and vivid glory.” He described.

“I only had the one (didn’t think to have multiples) so that left me plenty of free time to stroll the city, and what was more eye catching than 42nd Street? I wish I had taken 1,000 more photos (and gone back at night) of the amazing buildings and people that could only be found there, but at least I got a handful of snapshots of the long gone cool decaying seediness of that bustling stretch of real estate!”

(via Mitch O’Connell)


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