Once upon a time in New York


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A local photographer captured a microcosm of Greenwich Village gay life in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s


Photos



  • Morton Street Pioer, 1978. Photo: Mark Ivins




  • Pickpockets. West & Christopher Streets, 1979. Photo: Mark Ivins




  • "Pigs out of our bedrooms." Little West 12th Street & West Street, 1979. Photo: Mark Ivins




  • Lesbian Herstory, 1980. Photo: Mark Ivins


  • Photo: Mark Ivins">

    Tears. Gay Pride March, Christopher Street & Seventh Avenue, 1977. Photo: Mark Ivins




  • Morton Street Pier, looking North, 1978. Photo: Mark Ivins




  • Village Cigars, 1979. Photo: Mark Ivins




  • The Badlands Bar, 1978. Photo: Mark Ivins




  • Gay Love. Photo: Mark Ivins




  • The Meat Rack, West Street, 1978. Photo: Mark Ivins




I was a “Village kid” growing up, it was my neighborhood. I started photographing there when I was 12. I was 13 when the Stonewall riots happened. After college I worked a summer at a downtown newspaper.

Fred W. McDarrah, the legendary Village Voice photo editor and photographer, called me one day. “Mark, it’s Fred, from the Voice, quit screwing around downtown and come work for me here.” Most of these photographs were taken on assignment for him, and The Village Voice

These photos were taken between 1977 and 1982. That was an evolutionary time in New York City. People were finding their way with the new freedom.

The Village was a sanctuary for everybody during the day — gay, straight, whatever. It didn’t matter. It was relaxed. At night, a different scene dominated, looking for anonymous sex was the game.

I always shoot “straight-up, no chaser.” This is what it was like when I was there, it was weird, beautiful, disturbing, funny. Draw your own conclusions.

It was also dangerous, I always felt that I was in peril, but then I had a camera. Once, while photographing in the abandoned, derelict piers where cruising took place, I was advised by a large body-builder type guy in leather that I might end up in the river if I took a certain picture. I did not take that picture.













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