Little “nifties” from the Fifties,
Innocent and sweet;
Sexy ladies from the Eighties,
Who are indiscreet.
– 42nd Street by Al Dubin, Johnny Mercer and Harry Warren
Way back in the late 80s, right before 42nd Street was sweep clean and purified with Disney goodness, you could still enjoy the historic New York location in all it’s noisy, colorful, rude and vivid glory, writes artist Mitch O’Connell.
As an aspiring artist, starting at 17-ish, I would travel to NY every once in a while to show my illustrations. This was before websites, emails and electricity, so you had to get your work seen the old fashioned way, by pestering. I’d crash at friends/relatives apartments and spend the day cold calling and pleading. If I was lucky I’d get an actual face to face with an art director at a magazine or comic publisher, but more often than not I’d have to do the portfolio drop off where I’d get it there by 10am and pick it up after lunch.
I only had the one (didn’t think to have multiples) so that left me plenty of free time to stroll the city, and what was more eye catching than 42nd Street? I wish I had taken 1,000 more photos (and gone back at night) of the amazing buildings and people that could only be found there, but at least I got a handful of snapshots of the long gone cool decaying seediness of that bustling stretch of real estate!
Via Mitch O’Connell
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