Photographer Steven Siegel has been taking pictures of the streets and subways of New York City for 30 years. "When young people today look at my shots from the 1980's, they are aghast. To them, New York of the 1980's is almost unrecognizable. And they are right." - He says.
"Some older people are nostalgic for "the good old days." For example, they remember the Times Square of the 80's… And what they remember is not so much the danger but the grittiness and (for lack of a better word) the authenticity. Yes, there was sleaze, but there were also video arcades, cheap movies, restaurants, and weird places. These same people resent the "Disney-ification" of Times Square and the gentrification of virtually all of Manhattan and many areas of the boroughs, and the loss of cheap housing and local stores everywhere."
"Others' reactions to these same photos could not be more different. If they're over a certain age, they remember the high crime, the twin crises of AIDS and crack, the racial tension, the lurid tabloid headlines about the latest street crime. They say: It was a nightmare, and thank God it’s over."
"Of course, both views are right."
Take a look at his 'New York in the 80s' set on Flickr for a trip back to New York in the 1980's.
See more of Siegel's work here and all of his sets here.
* All photos are copyrighted to Steven Siegel.