A personal look at New York City, yesterday and today

Monday, February 2, 2015

A Look Back - The Feast of San Gennaro

Way back in the early 1970's, a time when Italians lived in Little Italy, the Feast of San Gennaro was really a big deal. 

It was crowed, noisy, smelly and fun. Here is a small glimpse of that celebration from 1972.

All photos © Lionel Martinez.

Friday, November 7, 2014

1972 Morton Street - A Place Where Trucks Were Parked Every Weekend.

In 1972 the west end of Morton Street was consisted of two parking lots and a place for trailer truck cabs to park on weekends. Now there are coop buildings on both sides of the street 

Detail of a Truck on Morton Street

 Trucks on Morton Street between Washington St and the West Side Highway 1972.

Trucks on Morton Street between Washington St and the West Side Highway 1972.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The World Trade Center Landfill 1976 - 1985

Battery Park City & the World Financial Center were built on a vast stretch of land reclamation along the Hudson River to the west of the World Trade Center. The developers waited for almost ten years for the land to settle before commencing construction of Battery Park City and the WFC.

WTC & Landfill 1976

Battery Park City is a 92-acre planned community at the southwestern tip of Lower Manhattan in New York City, United States. 
Much of the landfill, about 1 million cubic yards, was generated by the construction of the World Trade Center. The other 2 million cubic yards came from the New York City Water Tunnel and other construction projects, as well as from sand dredged from New York Harbor off Staten Island.

WTC & Landfill 1982

WTC, Photographer & Landfill 1983

There were several free concerts staged on the landfill. The most notable was the No Nukes concert in 1979. It was also home to Art on the Beach exhibitions by Creative Time which began in 1978 and ended in 1985.
For three months each summer ‘’Art on the Beach’’ offered site-specific sculpture and performances that were open to the public and free of cost.

WTC, Art on the Beach & Landfill 1985
Dennis Adams and Nicholas Goldsmith "Podium for Dissent"

In 1985 the first buildings of the World Financial Center were under construction on the west side of the World Trade Center. It was the beginning of the end of landfill public space.

WTC, Art on the Beach, Landfill & Construction 1985

All photographs © Lionel Martinez

Monday, August 25, 2014

Eighth Avenue Street Fair - August 2014

In last days of August many New Yorkers have left the city to squeeze the last bit of traveling summer fun from this season. 
Those who roam Manhattan at this time are for the most part tourists squeezing their last bit of summer fun by visiting New York. 
For some unknown reason the organizers moved the Eighth Avenue Street Fair to an August Sunday when the chances of filling up the street like the past September & October fairs was slim. The street fair merchants were not happy. 

This is what it was looked like for four blocks from 46th looking down to 42nd Street

From 48th street the street fair the crowd thinned out.

And at the start of the street fair at 57th Street there was a lone gyro stand.

In the 50's the attendance was sparse.  

Then there was this odd stall. 
What the heck is "travel jewelry"? Is this what you wear when you take an airplane someplace? 

And of course more food.

Lastly the psychic readers were in attendance. There is the economy psychic and the $5 dollar psychic. I have no idea if one was more accurate than the other. 

All photos © Lionel Martinez

Monday, July 21, 2014

Easter  Be-In, Central Park, New York City, March 26, 1967

This was the first Central Park Be-In. It was a surprise event that drew people from all over the city. Even participants from the 5th Avenue Easter parade showed up at the Sheep Meadow in Central Park. Police estimated 10,065 people participated. Estimating by eye, others said about 100 thousand.

According to Wikipedia, this first be-in was organized by Jim Fouratt an actor, Paul Williams editor of Crawdaddy! magazine, Susan Hartnett head of the Experiments in Art and Technology organization and Chilean poet and playwright Claudio Badal who printed 3,000 posters and 40,000 small notices designed by Peter Max and distributed them around the city.

Brooklyn native and lifetime NYC resident, Lionel Martinez, took the following photos at the Be-In that day. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014


LITTLE OLD NEW YORK, published 1910

This vintage booklet contains 45 engravings depicting views and buildings seen and and built in New York City over the city's first 300 years.  The illustrations include numerous city and farm homes as well as a 1659 vista along the Broad Street Canal,  Gov. Stuyvesant's Mansion in the Bowery which burned in 1778,  the Government House which served as Federal Capital from 1788 to 1793, Tammany Hall in 1830,  the Shakespeare Tavern at Nassau and Fulton Streets which was demolished in 1836, Columbia College in 1758, and the Croton Water Procession passing City Hall in 1842 as part of the celebration of the new aqueduct.  The booklet closes with an 1808 map of the city.