For our annual year end review, we decided to highlight some of the photos that have meant the most to us from the past 30 years and the stories behind them.
Kay's Candy, Bed-Stuy Brooklyn, NYC. Katy's was founded in 1969 by Katy Keyzer. When we photographed this candy shop in 2004 for our book, "Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York" we interviewed Katy and she told us that she, "has been through the dope, crack, and everything else this neighborhood has thrown at me. I speak three languages, English, Spanish and Motherfucker. You've got to be tough to survive around here." Sadly Katy was forced to close her business in 2007 when the landlord raised her rent very high in order to ged rid of her and convert the building into a luxury condo. To this day, the #storefront remains empty, which saddens us deeply.
|Old barber shop storefront with American Flag, Brooklyn, NYC. We love the patina of this faded storefront in a neighborhood that has undergone extreme gentrification and modernization. It truly is a time capsule.|
|Smoke from a car fire on the 59th Street Bridge over the East River created an unusual scene of the Silvercup Studio signage and Manhattan skyline as seen from a rooftop in Long Island City Queens, NYC, just before sunset.|
|Bomb Scare, Times Square, NYC. Police had cleared this area which is usually packed with tourists, leaving behind a very unusual site, Times Square, devoid of people.|
|Macy's Fourth of July Fireworks, East River, NYC. After years of the fireworks being on the west side of Manhattan, while we live on the far East Side, we were finally treated to the return of this spectacular rooftop view.|
|Autumn, Union Square Park, NYC. This is one of our favorite parks in New York City and we will always remember how grungy it used to be in the 1980s.|
|Cutting across Tompkins Square Park, East Village, NYC, in the snow, over by the Hare Krishna Tree, March 2017. We love how this winter wonderland scene is reflected in the melting snow on the ground.|
|Staple Street skybridge in TriBeCa. We couldn't resist capturing the reflection of this historic skybridge which once connected the main building of the New York Hospitals House of Relief to its annex.|
Lower Manhattan alley. On a search for bars to shoot at night we paused to take a photo of this silent cobblestone-lined alley.
|Porn room, Under Manhattan, NYC. Exploring the tunnels of NYC we have encountered many things we found to be disturbing and shocking but nothing could have prepared us for this absolutely creepy and disgusting scene.|
|Astroland Park, Coney Island, Brooklyn, NYC 2005. Astroland Park opened in 1962 and was sold in 2006 to Thor Equities. The rocket was taken down from the roof of Gregory & Paul's but the city preserved the famous Cyclone wooden roller coaster.|
|Straight Out The Jungle graffiti wall by Bronx's TATS CRU. This is one of our favorite graffiti productions and appears in our 2002 book "Broken Windows: Graffiti NYC", which was reprinted in 2010 as a hardcover.|
|From a Midtown roof, NYC in 2016. We love how the city just seems to twinkle and go on forever.|
|Twin Towers, from Brooklyn, NYC. We had no idea when we photographed this scene years ago what it would mean to us post 9/11. Unimaginable.|
|Lower Manhattan, NYC. We love the layers of buildings, both old and new.|
|Water towers, from a rooftop, NYC. We have always had a fascination with water towers and love the variety seen in this photo.|
|No Rest. Empty coffin, hallway, abandoned asylum. In addition to photographing the streets, another passion of ours is exploring abandoned buildings, in particular, the large number of mental asylums found in and and around NYC.|
|Wenceslas Square, Prague, Czech Republic. We saw this view earlier in the day, but went back after sunset to capture this wide street in the golden hour. Later that night we went roof-topping and took in the Prague skyline. We saw firsthand how the city got its name: “The city of one hundred spires.”|
|Wawel Castle, Krakow, Poland. We love how the illuminated castle is reflected in the water and this photo really captures the quiet elegance and beauty of this European city.|
|Abandoned Monastery, Czech Republic. After a four hour bus ride out side of Prague, we arrived at this small village, where we spent the night among these ruins.|
|We love photographing "dead buildings". We even named our first NYC graffiti book "Broken Windows" as a play on Mayor Guiliani's "broken window" policing strategy at that time to combat graffiti and petty crimes as well as the actual broken windows we encountered while photographing murals painted by graffiti artists in abandoned buildings in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Harlem and Queens.|
Double #rainbow over the East Village and Lower East Side of Manhattan on June 5, 2016 after the torrential #rain ended. Definitely a site to see! This photo of ours was featured on Instagram's own page and now is hanging in its headquarters in California!
VILLAGE CIGAR S located on Seventh Avenue South at Christopher Street has been in business since 1922. On the sidewalk outside the uniquely-shaped triangular cigar shop is a mosaic marker that reads, “Property of the Hess Estate which has never been dedicated for public purposes.” The Hess family was the owner of a five-story residential building on Christopher Street called the Voorhis, which was condemned in the 1910’s to make way for the IRT subway. Mr. David Hess refused to surrender his small plot of land to become part of Seventh Avenue South’s new sidewalk and created the mosaic to let everyone know of his small victory against the city. When Village Cigars opened in 1922, the owner bought the 500-square inch property from the Hess family for $1,000 and kept the mosaic in place.
Nathan's Famous in Coney Island at sunset. 🌅 Even though it is near the end of September and the first weekend of the fall season, it reached 91 degrees F today in New York City so a visit to Nathan's seemed appropriate. Nathan's @originalnathans was opened in 1916 by Nathan Handwerker, a Jewish immigrant from Poland. Nathan's became popular in #ConeyIsland due to its low prices (5 cents a hot dog) attention grabbing #signage and attractive location by the beach. We not only love its hot dogs 🌭 but also its array of #neon signage. The large vertical #neonsign was installed in the 1930s and the others along the #storefront were added in the 1960s. Photo from 2011 appears in our book "New York Nights".
Subway Inn was founded in 1937 and was located near the Lexington Avenue subway 🚋 line entrance by the Bloomingdale's Department Store. After 77 years at its iconic location, it was forced to relocate to a new location when a new development was planned for its 1880s building. The Salinas family, who owns the #divebar took the original "Subway Inn" #neon sign and re-installed it in 2015 in its new @subwayinn location on Second Avenue by the Roosevelt Island tram. We are happy that they saved this gorgeous #neonsign! Photo above is from 2011 and interview with longtime bartender, Rodney Williams, appears in our book "New York Nights".
Carnegie Delicatessen closed in late 2016. Carnegie was established in 1937 and has a #vintage #neonsign that we absolutely love and in fact chose this photo as the cover for our book "New York Nights". We interviewed Chuck Smith, the manager, for our book and he told us that "The neon sign outside is 65 years old. We are constantly fixing it because it’s very temperamental but we always want to keep it lit because it is iconic. We are best known for our #pastrami, corned beef and #brisket sandwiches, which are overstuffed with at least one pound of #meat. We pickle and smoke all of our own meat that we serve." Photo and full interview appear in "New York Nights".
|Graffiti writer YNOT (R.I.P.). When we took this photo during our book release party for "Miami Graffiti" in 2009, YNOT was painting away despite the heat. Sadly, he was later killed in a fight outside a South Florida Strip Club, celebrating his 21st birthday.|
|"None Of This Matters" by the graffiti artist REVS, under Manhattan NYC. This was one of our first trips into the live subway tunnels. We loved seeing this art that few seldom do due to the danger of dodging trains and being mindful of the power of the active third rails.|