Leland Bobbé: New York City's Seamy 70s


Introduced to me when I was still at the photo agency I ran for many years, Leland Bobbé had a virtually-unseen archive of classic shots from the heyday of CBGB's. Going through his archives recently he came across another cache: long-forgotten photographs of Times Square and the Bowery in the 70s. We collaborated on this, Leland's second aCurator feature (the first was the critically-acclaimed 'Women of Fifth Avenue'), to present a good, graphic selection.

"New York City in the 1970's was a dark, dangerous and gritty place. Before gentrification, neighborhoods had unique personalities; no Starbucks, Duane Reade or Gap every few blocks. Son of Sam, the big blackout, a city on the verge of bankruptcy. Times Square wasn't a playground for Middle America and the Lower East Side didn't look like the Upper East Side. The Bowery was the end of the line for many. Some of these shots were taken shooting from the hip, pre-focused to 6', with a 28mm lens without looking through the viewfinder so I wouldn't be noticed. My intention was to capture the grit and personality of a unique period in New York City history. Long live The Ramones." - Leland Bobbé

View the full screen magazine photo feature.


Top: 8th Avenue between 42nd and 53rd Street

Bottom: "The Ramones on the original small stage at CBGB before they signed their deal with Sire Records. Probably '74."

© Leland Bobbé

Recent Entries