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GojiMet86

When the City Was a House of Horrors

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An interesting photo collection from John Cohn.

 

From the NY Times:

October 29, 2011, 2:00 pm

When the City Was a House of Horrors

 

By ALAN FEUER

 

The late 1970s and early 1980s — when buildings were burning, fiscal crises were raging and the Dead Boys were playing at CBGB — were a macabre time in New York City’s history, a period when it could be said that the city resembled a haunted house.

 

The photographer John Conn, 62, spent those years documenting the subway system, what was then the dungeon of the city’s haunted house. His images from underground include a bat-wielding man in a hunchback costume, a nun absorbed in a tabloid newspaper with a front-page headline about an attack on the pope and a disembodied arm brandishing a switchblade through an open subway window. The images have a quality of ghoulishness: fear and madness, as if seen through the eyes of a frightened child on a never-ending Halloween night.

 

“I liked the edge factor,” Mr. Conn said. “Not knowing what kind of trouble I would get in next.”

 

He claims to have roamed the subways for hours at a time, with no more than a Hasselblad camera and his own blade in his pocket. For nearly a decade, he photographed the graffiti-scarred trains and the denizens of the subway system — capturing everyone from the homeless to shoeshine boys to bathroom attendants at Grand Central Station. Then one day in 1982, as impulsively as it began, his project suddenly stopped.

 

“I still see images now and then, but I just don’t take them anymore,” Mr. Conn said. “What I did back then, I feel I did it right.”

 

 

Click the link to view the gallery:

 

 

http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/29/when-the-city-was-a-house-of-horrors/?ref=nyregion

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Very interesting article, thanks for sharing... hard to believe we've changed so much from those times, of graffiti laced trains/stations, and when it was dangerous to roam the stations at night...

 

That first picture gave me the creeps even ;)

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The first photo is scary. The third photo is ridiculously scary. That guy looks like a complete madman. The fifth photo is a bit funny. I like the cop photo too. It conveys a message like "Don't f*ck around with me".

 

I'm taken back by how good the photos look. They look as if they were taken a year ago.

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Very interesting article, thanks for sharing... hard to believe we've changed so much from those times, of graffiti laced trains/stations, and when it was dangerous to roam the stations at night...

 

That first picture gave me the creeps even ;)

 

At night?! it was more dangerous to roam the streets of NYC during the daytime then, than it is to roam the streets at nighttime now.

 

Today you could walk through East New York during nighttime & you wont have as much trouble as you would walking through ENY during the daytime in the 70's.

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The last picture says it perfectly for the whole pic set.. NYC in a NUTSHELL.. :) Until Mayor Guiliani using real leadership deciding to use the NYPD to finally beat crime and get investment into the city which didn't happen for another 12 years with 1993 or 94 with the worst murder number ever...

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