in ,

The Gritty New York City in the 1970s through the Lens of Meryl Meisler

Photographer Meryl Meisler has more than a casual interest in 1970s New York City – her photos pulse with a raw energy and affection for a city that was both thrilling and falling apart at the seams.  Think of a beloved but slightly tattered old leather jacket: it’s got scuffs, tears, and tells a story, but that’s precisely why you love it so much.

New York in the 1970s was a wild mix of contradictions.  It was broke as a joke, with piles of trash and rising crime. Yet, it was also bursting with creativity: artists pushing boundaries, musicians changing the game, and a sense that anything was possible…even if the odds were seriously stacked against you.

Meisler’s photos show us all sides of this complex city.  She documents the stark moments: burned-out buildings, abandoned streets, and those weathered faces that tell a story of tough times.  But that’s just half the picture.

At the heart of Meisler’s work are the people of New York City.  We meet flamboyant personalities, their clothes as in-your-face as their attitudes.  There are everyday folk, going about their lives amidst the chaos – haggling with street vendors, laughing on stoops, and working hard to make something of themselves in a city that doesn’t always make it easy.

These weren’t just places to dance; they were pockets of joyous rebellion. People let their inhibitions loose, expressed themselves with abandon, and embraced their individuality in a world that often pushed back against anyone who dared to be different.

Check out her incredible work on her: Website and her Instagram.

#3 Spreading Wings at the COYOTE Hookers Masquerade Ball, 1977

#5 During the New York City blackout of 1977, Meryl Meisler captured this photo of a group of guys hanging out on the hood of a police car in New York City on July 13, 1977.

#6 Elda (Gentile) Stilletto and Guitarist at CBGBNY, 1978

#7 Clown Cart at the RinglingBrothers Barnum and Bailey Circus, 1977

Written by Wendy Robert

Brand journalist, Ghostwriter and Proud New Yorker. New York is not a city – it’s a world.

Leave a Reply

Comment using name and email. Or Register an account

GIPHY App Key not set. Please check settings