Another Side of New York in the 1970s Before the Great Clean-Up

New York is a global power city that exerts a significant impact upon commerce, finance, media, art, technology, and entertainment. New York is the most populous city in the United States and the most populous urban agglomerations in the world, with its fast pace that is defining the term New York by the minute.

A street scene in Brooklyn, New York City, 1974

Photo credit: Andy Blair | Flickr

Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy and has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world.

But before the great clean-up began, New York had abandoned blocks dotted the landscape, creating vast areas absent of urban cohesion and life itself during the 1970s.

These amazing photos from photographer Andy Blair that show another side of New York in the 1970s that you may never know

A homeless man sleeps next to a 50 gallon drum of burning scavenged wood, New York, 1970

Photo credit: Andy Blair | Flickr

A 1960s Ford Galaxie and a battered early 1960s Plymouth Valiant cruise along Canal Street with peeling pavement, 1973

Photo credit: Andy Blair | Flickr

A lot of abandoned car chunks of a Triumph Spitfire at Plum Beach near Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn, May 1973

Photo credit: Andy Blair | Flickr

An abandoned ’64 Rambler, Queens, New York, June 1973

Photo credit: Andy Blair | Flickr

An abandoned 1960s Ford Thunderbird with broken-out windows and a torn vinyl roof, an abandoned apartment building completes the scene, Breezy Point, Queens, June 1973

Photo credit: Andy Blair | Flickr

An abandoned car at the river, Queens, New York, May 1973

Photo credit: Andy Blair | Flickr

Breezy Point in Queens, New York near the Atlantic Ocean with the abandoned skeleton of an apartment building that was never finished, June 1973

Photo credit: Andy Blair | Flickr

Construction of Independence Plaza North, cobblestoned West Street and Lower Manhattan from under the elevated West Side Highway, New York, June 1973

Photo credit: Andy Blair | Flickr

Ellis Island and industrial Jersey City shoreline across the Hudson with abandoned CRRNJ railroad terminal, June 1973

Photo credit: Andy Blair | Flickr

Half buried early 1960s Dodge Polara station wagon on the beach at the ocean side of Breezy Point in Queens, an abandoned apartment building at left distance, 1973

Photo credit: Andy Blair | Flickr

Independence Plaza North going up in what is now Tribeca in Lower Manhattan, June 1973

Photo credit: Andy Blair | Flickr

Pier ruins across West Street from the World Trade Center, Battery Park City and the World Financial Center would be built here in later years, March 1973

Photo credit: Andy Blair | Flickr

Ruins of old piers across West Street from the World Trade Center where is exactly the World Financial Center is now, March 1973

Photo credit: Andy Blair | Flickr

Skeleton of apartment building never completed, abandoned refrigerators and a burned out 1965 Ford Mustang, Breezy Point, Queens looking toward Brooklyn, 1973

Photo credit: Andy Blair | Flickr

Subway 1973-style with graffiti, March 1973

Photo credit: Andy Blair | Flickr

A forlorn old industrial neighborhood in Brooklyn, 1974

Photo credit: Andy Blair | Flickr

Battery Park City being built using land excavated from the World Trade Center construction site across West Street, April 1974

Photo credit: Andy Blair | Flickr

Battery Park City being created from soil dug out to build the World Trade Center, Statue of Liberty in the distance, March 1974

Photo credit: Andy Blair | Flickr

Battery Park City landfill edge by Hudson being constructed looking south to Pier A, 1974

Photo credit: Andy Blair | Flickr

Battery Park City landfill, NY Telephone Company, abandoned West Side Highway and the World Trade Center, 1974

Photo credit: Andy Blair | Flickr

Boxes of Adam and Eve products on Reade Street looking east from West Broadway, New York, July 1974

Photo credit: Andy Blair | Flickr

The Battery Park City landfill muck, New York, June 1974

Photo credit: Andy Blair | Flickr

The hulking West Side Highway closed and abandoned, New York, June 1974

Photo credit: Andy Blair | Flickr

Theatre Alley downtown off Ann Street, the narrowest street in Manhattan, filled with the litter and trash, March 1974

Photo credit: Andy Blair | Flickr

World Trade Center (the dark building at Vesey and West St) from Battery Park City landfill, the West Side Highway crosses the whole view, April 1974

Photo credit: Andy Blair | Flickr

23rd St and abandoned West Side Highway, a battered Ford Galaxy 500 drives by on cobblestones, April 1975

Photo credit: Andy Blair | Flickr

Abandoned piers at Exchange Place in Jersey City and the World Trade Center across the Hudson in Lower Manhattan, April 1975

Photo credit: Andy Blair | Flickr

Battery Park City landfill construction, West Street, West Side Highway, The World Trade Center, March 1975

Photo credit: Andy Blair | Flickr

Battery Park City was just a lot of mud with a great view to the industrial skyline of Jersey City and the Colgate Clock, right across West Street from the World Trade Center, April 1975

Photo credit: Andy Blair | Flickr

View from Pier A’s fire escape, Battery Park City landfill, West Side Highway, World Trade Center and lots of colorful 1970s cars on a rainy, foggy day, 1975

Photo credit: Andy Blair | Flickr

View from the 58th floor of the World Trade Center to the Battery Park City landfill, Pier A, end of the West Side Highway and New York Harbor on a foggy afternoon, March 1975

Photo credit: Andy Blair | Flickr

Where the beautiful Battery Park City esplanade along the Hudson is now, June 1975

Photo credit: Andy Blair | Flickr

Nassau Street looking toward Wall Street, Lower Manhattan, 1976

Photo credit: Andy Blair | Flickr

The swampy fields of future Battery Park City, The World Trade Center hovers, New York, August 1976

Photo credit: Andy Blair | Flickr

The abandoned West Side Highway looking out at the completed Battery Park City landfill, New York, April 1978

Photo credit: Andy Blair | Flickr

‘Welcome to Marlboro Country’ sign under the West Side Highway by 150th Street, New York, September 1979

Photo credit: Andy Blair | Flickr

SHARE this with your friends by clicking below!