The 1970's was a time of the disco craze in Studio 54 and the glorious days of the New York Yankees, but also a time of high crime rate, urban flight, and decay. Art and chaos were two worlds meeting in the city. The fiscal crisis of 1977 had also plummeted Big Apple down. Everything was almost falling apart in New York, and so were the city parks. Even some New York Times photographers were on a labor strike. In the meantime of that season, they were set on a different mission.
This special collection of photographs came from a small project by former Parks Commissioner Gordon Davis, who hired several New York Times photographers to document the parks in 1978. Davis was met with an NYC park system that was completely terrifying. Central Park was lackluster, public pools were understaffed, and graffiti was everywhere. To revive the parks system, he sent out unemployed photographers who were on strike against the New York Times: Neal Boenzi, Joyce Dopkeen (the first female staff photographer hired by the Times), D. Gorton, Eddie Hausner, Paul Hosefros, Robert Klein, Larry Morris, and Gary Settle.
What's impressive of this collection is how it provides a glimpse of an entirely different New York. For the first time, these images are shown to the public at the Arsenal Gallery. Here are some more of the photos on preview:
Images are with permission from the NYC Parks Photo Archive.