Throwback Thursday: Bench-Warmers

Stephen Harmon sent in the photos below of people hanging out on local benches back in the mid-1980’s. “The first one is on Broadway. Hanging out on a cold winter day. The second one is at the entrance to Central Park at 72d Street. Hanging out on a warm spring day.”

HISTORY | 9 comments | permalink
    1. Steven says:

      Rare shot in that bottom photo of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip hanging out on the UWS.

    2. Marianne says:

      One of those sunbathers stands out – can you guess which one??

      • EricaC says:

        You got me curious – which one?

        • B.B. says:


          Assume referring to the rather well tanned young man reading newspaper. He’s several generations younger than everyone else on that bench, and wearing far less clothing.

          All of which begs the question why is that young man not at work or something. How does he have all that time not only to get a great tan but lounge about in parks sitting on benches reading newspapers. *LOL*

          Other than that picture reminds me of scenes from that film Harry and Tonto; older people sitting on benches in CP or along Broadway.

          • P says:

            Take a stroll through the UWS any weekday – it is amazing to see how many people are not at work and the variety of them. Maybe he’s an actor – he has the body for one!

            • B.B. says:

              Just noticed the bundle on ground beneath that young man. Presumably it is his shirt, maybe also undershirt and whatever jacket or sweater he was wearing that day.

              It really is interesting that the elderly folks are dressed as if it were freezing outside, but the young man isn’t bothered.

              Young man has an deep all over tan for early in the season. He didn’t get that from afternoons sitting on a NYC park bench.

              UWS was then (and still is now) home to plenty of actors/performing artists; so maybe the young man was involved with those professions, hence plenty of free time during the day.

              Of course nearly all of those older people in the picture came up in another time. If in their 60’s or older in 1980’s then they were born early in last century if not late 1800’s.

              The coats obviously are for warmth, but the seniors/elderly grew up in a time when no lady or gentleman left the house without a hat. Men wore ties even if not going to the office or anyplace formal; and ladies carried a hand bag.

              My grandmothers (may they both rest in peace) never wore “slacks” in their entire lives.

    3. Ruth Aleskovsky says:

      Along with the wonderful plaques the benches now boast, these pictures really capture ‘community’. Thank you….

    4. Lisa A. says:

      I ❤️ that first photo. All the women are in dresses. All wearing sensible shoes, clutching their purses in their laps. Maybe they all just care from the hairdresser. Was the topic Mayor Ed Koch? The Iranian hostage crisis? The price of steak?
      Keep ‘em comon’!

    5. Ken J says:

      Steven–you are right Elizabeth and Philip