Subway People - 70s

Longtime Upper West Sider Stephen Harmon has been carrying his camera around the neighborhood for decades, capturing the unique spirit and style of the people here. His photos have been featured in several shows and are in the collections of the Library of Congress, the Museum of the City of New York, the New-York Historical Society and several other institutions.

He explained how he used to get his shots, long before the city was saturated in selfies and Instagram photos.

“I was looking to capture the unique ‘look’ of the time. I loved photographing people and talking with them and asking them to let me photograph them. I used a Nikon single lens reflex, either with Kodachrome slide film or 400 ASA color film. I was a self taught photographer, who studied the greats, such as Walker Evans, Andre Kertesz and Atget, and I learned from their styles and hopefully developed my own style.”

Steve gave us permission to post some of his photos from the 70’s and 80’s so that our readers could check them out and reminisce. We’ll plan to post bunches of them over the coming days and weeks. Enjoy, and feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. Man, I really wish some of these styles would come back!



Two Men-Cowboy Hats



Woman- Black Hat Rhistone Glasses

Saturday Morning Astronauts

Woman- Red Hair

If you have old photos of the neighborhood, you can participate in our Throwback Thursday series.

ART, HISTORY | 21 comments | permalink
    1. Gail Saylor says:

      Awesome and brings back a lot of memories. Gail Saylor

    2. Mark says:

      The real Upper West Sode, no yuppies in sight.

      • webot says:

        actually the word yuppie was practically invented to for the arrivestes to the UWS in the 80s – home of the exposed brick wall and the house plant.

        No yuppies in sight now though – they are called “hipsters’ knows for all you old timers.

    3. Paul RL says:

      I was looking for myself in these pics, although wasn’t so sure I wanted to find me! Really enjoyable to be able to view these.

    4. Steve Berger says:

      Well done, Stephen. I would love to see a selfie from that time.

    5. UWSMom says:

      These are wonderful! As a teeanger growing up on Long Island in the 70s and 80s I dreamt about moving into the “city” some day. These images are evocative of that “city” for which I yearned.

    6. Bill Sacrey says:

      Wow, would the beauty shop be the House of George @ 72nd & West End?

    7. gert schmidt says:

      surely great stuff! hope to be able to see lots of steve’s pics
      thanks for showing!

    8. Loved the photos

    9. carly says:

      it’s the original humans of ny! amazing.

    10. Carrie says:

      Thanks for sharing—please share more. This is the NYC I have only heard about as a rural Cslifornia kid.

    11. Larry Miller says:

      These are great. NYC is the most amazing place and its not the building. It’s the people. And you captured that in these photos.

    12. larry says:

      Humans of New York a la the 80’s

    13. Karen Arlingotn says:

      These are marvelous. I love the idea of Throwback Thursday. Keep ’em coming

    14. Lucien Desar says:

      These are great photos! I like the context and the way they are focused.

    15. webot says:

      Desperately seeking Susan….

    16. katherine says:

      love these, thanks!

    17. Mary Peterson says:

      These photographs capture the essence and personality of “REAL” New Yorkers, as they were and as they are.. What a true pleasure to browse through these and learn more about the culture and essence of New York life and times. Thank you, Stephen F. Harmon.