A Teenager’s Photos of 1970s Brooklyn NYC

Brooklyn in the mid-1970s: Led Zeppelin, The El, snow and All the President's Men

1970s Brooklyn NYC


Anthony Catalano’s photographs of Brooklyn, New York City, in the mid-1970s were mostly developed in his darkroom in Boro Park darkroom in the 70s. “Remember the snow storm of ’78?” he asks.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Anthony died on March 1st, 2014. He was 54. Thanks to his surviving brother, John Catalano, we can see Anthony’s terrific photographs and Kodachromes of what life was like there in the 1970s.

These picture were taken when Anthony was a teenager His voice is both compelling and authentic. For these reasons the captions are reproduced in his own words.


1970s Brooklyn NYC

Led Zeppelin IROCK FM 5-Plane Sky Writing 1977
Stairway to Sky Grafitti Advertizing inspired me to get tickets….. The last word is IROCK ,yet to be completed, which was an FM radio station in the 70s. It was very common for very popular groups here in NYC to advertise this way by using five-plane skywriting. I went to see Zeppelin @ Madison Square Garden in 1977 at one of their most legendary concerts of all time. . They let me in with 2 beer cans in my Minolta/400mm telephoto lens packed camera bag – as long as it wasn’t glass bottles it was cool. Now everything is like homeland fuckin securitied out. This was taken at the intersection of 13th and 57th St in Brooklyn.


Raleigh Chopper Tony Bell Bottoms 1975 70s
My Raleigh 10 speed Chopper in my back yard. I can still feel-imagine the click shift and response of the levers while riding under the shady El – the universe was perfect in that moment.

1976 – FDR High School Bensonhurst. – Pictured… Our lunchroom Cafeteria

The Cafeteria at FDR. 1975 FDR HS Lunchroom @ 59st 20ave in Brooklyn, NY No, it doesn’t look too much like prison. The food was served with some sort of coupon system for those who didn’t bring their own. We called it take-out food because it did just that. Sorry [very] I did and do not know the girl’s names. I remember little things like when something was very cool, it was exclaimed to be “massive!”.


1970s Brooklyn NYC

70s – The Dude – 1977 Sunglasses on Sofa. I am not on acid only the couch and the wallpaper are. Yeah, yeah, I know: FEET OFF THE COUCH!! Sheeet, Those curtains were there since WW2. Damn! Where are my Earth shoes? Wide-band snap-on watch. Cheap NOT gold: anti-mug-me metal cross, I actually CUT my T-Shirt to make it a…. DUH: Cut T-Shirt. Now torn tees and pants are extra at The [Expletive Deleted Here] boutique stores with make-believe ads of yesterday on them. I’m skinny here. I had just started to work out. I got up to 260lbs in the bench press and to 300lbs in the squat. It was downhill from there. 🙂

1970s Brooklyn NYC

Boro Park Intersection 13 ave & NU – B Train 55th St Station ’77

Intersection of 13th ave and New Utrecht Ave at 54th-55th street.

NYC Subway MTA – 34th Street – 1977

Brooklyn NYC Elevated BMT Train 1978 MTA Grafitti 70s

1970s Brooklyn NYC

NYC MTA Bus Peering Child 1977 70s – 50 Cent Fare

1970s Brooklyn NYC

Graffiti Subway 1978 NYC Subway MTA B Train on The El 50th – 55th St Brooklyn

Boro Park 1976 – 55th Station View to 39th St along 13th Ave.

Carmelo & Mike @ Three Bros Salumeria 1978. Three Brothers Grocery. Does it get more Italian-American? We even have even the flags. Carmelo and Mike [owner] of this grocery / salumeria circa 1978. (Carmelo married my friend Randy’s cousin Paula Fischetti.) They changed from the ownership of a pizzeria across the street that was called: Three Brothers Pizzeria from the mid-late 60s to the mid 70s.

Boro Park – New Utrecht Sign Shop 1976 @ 5510 New Utrecht Ave. Original Owner: Peter Caruso Sr.  My Uncle, Ralph Caruso father’s [Peter] sign shop a few months before its guts were routed in the late 70s – It stood empty as shown for almost 8 years. It was built in the 1930s. None of these types of storefronts are extant any longer in the area of Boro Park. This shop was under the El on New Utrecht Ave in Brooklyn between 55-56 Streets. This business was moved a block away in the early 70s

976 “Boro Park Camera” – Paulie’s 13th Ave 56-55st
My pal Chris’ Uncle Paulie had a camera shop a few blocks away on 13th avenue that was open all the time except for Christmas, Thanksgiving and 4th of July . I could be wrong – he may have been open in the mornings. This is the last of the old style neighborhood photostores. Aside from all sorts of film, he had chemicals, tanks, timers, old safelights and thermometers. How many on-the-spot boxes of super-8, Polaroid and Instamatic carts along with whichever needed a blue-dot flash pack, I can never guess. See the big, old copy machine in the background? Only the library and the drug store had one. What he didn’t have he would offer to order for you. I felt bad, but I usually would go to Manhattan for the major shopping sprees. His shop was like air, earth. It would always be there. I was wrong.


1970s Brooklyn NYC

Brooklyn 57st  – December 1977. My family’s old Dutch [Kowenhoven 1855] home in Boro Park Brooklyn before Christmas 1977. Sadly, it was razed in 1986. Here I am wearing my dark brown leather jacket with my pal Randy and my brother John just hanging out enjoying the snow falling. I think John and I are wearing bell bottoms – note his are tailored less pronounced as they gradually fell out of style.

Walter The Ice Cream Man in Sillhouette 1977

1970s Brooklyn NYC

Handy Trains MTA Brooklyn Elevated 1976

The EL along New Utrecht Ave 56-57st – Brookyn 1977

1970s Brooklyn NYC

Anthony Dad John & KISS Albums 1978. 1978 – How we were able to get dad to pose with these KISS albums I’ll never know. I played then and he thumped his foot then he asked me to put on Grandpa’s Pavarotti’s LP.

Me [Tony C – me as the geek ], Randy, Chris and Tony E. Taken in the spring of 1975 Boro Park – Bensonhurst – Brooklyn NYC.

1970s Brooklyn NYC

President Ford 1976 Motorcade running south on 13th avenue in Boro Park, Brooklyn NYC. I took this while sitting on a walk/don’t walk sign.

1970s Brooklyn NYC

Thanksgiving 1975 kids table Cousin Wanda, Brother John with band-aid & cousin Noele in our parlor. Note our Magnavox color TV, The upright piano that we got in 1970.

OTB Bay Ridge Brooklyn Betting 1977

Mother & Daughter Winter Brooklyn Street 1976 70s – 55th St Boro Park

1970s Brooklyn NYC

St. Frances de Chantal catholic parochial school Brookyn 1976

1970s Brooklyn NYC

My street in 1975 Brooklyn. 57th Street in Boro Park between 13th Avenue and New Utrecht Avenue. Taken in front of our back yard, aimed south-east towards the the B Elevated train, AKA “The West End Line”

NYC Blizzard of February 5-7, 1978 Brooklyn, Boro Park, New Utrecht Ave


Boro Park Brooklyn NYC – Street Scenes 70s Culver Line B16 Bus – That is my pal Steven Bencivenga, he walked down 13th ave w/me. From 57th to 36th st.

Boro Park Brooklyn 1976 Games – Kings 02
Boro Park Brooklyn 1976 Games – Kings : A Spauldine Ball street game would allow for many an hour to be passed in good spirits. Christine watching Paula Fischetti, in front here, playing against my cousin Noele Caruso.

Boro Park Brooklyn Shopping Ladies near Millers Restaurant 1976

1970s Brooklyn NYC

Boro Park New Utrecht 55-56st 1975

Block Party Flags 1976 June Brooklyn
Me putting up our block party flags just as the thousand words say.

1970s Brooklyn NYC

Baci Ball play Boro Park Brooklyn under The Culver Line 1975

DYN-O-MITE : Clowning Around in 1975 Boro Park Brooklyn NYC
The ole’ Gang at it again. Let me explain: This is when a camera meant more. People were ‘speaking” to the future by acting like a fool.

Poor People’s Friend 1976 Brooklyn Boro Park

Boro Park 56th-55th St &13th Ave 1976 – B
I took this in 1976 of the block my many shopped stores were on. I feel as if I could walk into each one.

Boro Park – Brooklyn Kings Spauldine 1975

FDR HS Cruising in 1977 All guys in my Graphic Art / Printing Shop Class:
Ronny, Nelson Calix, , Mario Catalano (not related), Unknown, Jimmy Jimine

My brother John and Marty walking up new Utrecht Avenue in Boro Park, Brooklyn NYC in 1975.

1970s Brooklyn NYC

Brooklyn – Boro Park – 57th st near 13th Ave. 1975 John relaxing on fence stoop

1970s Brooklyn NYC

Bruno, the Ice Cream Man in 1976 under New Utrecht & 57th St.

Brooklyn Boro Park 1978-79 Snow Storm Mom 13th Ave Corner of 56th st looking towards 57th

Boro Park Brooklyn 13th Avenue 1975 Jerusalem Bakery & street scene

Female Wanted T-Shirts 10th Ave 42st Boys & Bike Babe Boro Park Brooklyn 1976

Darkroom & Tony 1975 70s Film Developing
A “photoshop” : My basement darkroom in 1975 70s I am inspecting a just developed negative. [Or at least posing as if I am]

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