Throwback Thursday: Forty Years Ago, the UWS Had Quite the Style

Stephen Harmon took hundreds of pictures of the neighborhood in the 70’s and 80’s and thankfully he still has many of them. Check out some of these personality-filled shots.

See more of his photos here, here and here.

To participate in Throwback Thursday, please send us a photo, preferably by email to The subject line of the email should be “Throwback Thursday.” In the email include the photo and a brief description of who is in it and where it’s taken and when.

The best way to send an older photo, if you don’t have your images scanned, is to scan them into your computer or take a photo of the photo with a phone. We’re not looking for perfect clarity, just a good sense of the image and some information. If this isn’t an option email us and we’ll figure out how to get a digital version of the image. (And yes, we’ll even accept photos from after 2000.)

Check out our other Throwback Thursday posts here.

HISTORY | 30 comments | permalink
    1. Mickey Davis says:

      Looked like Brooklyn does today

    2. Bruce E. Bernstein says:

      I miss the Upper West Side!

    3. lynn says:

      I absolutely love all of the photos! Thanks so much for sharing. I spend a lot of time looking though the old neighborhoods online and wonder at which point it all changed so drastically.

    4. CCL says:

      Ah yes. Remember it well. Well done. Fun!

    5. BillyNYC says:

      The peak of the disco era 1979 (Studio 54).
      I remember it so well like it was today. I was already in my apartment for the first decade here on the Upper West Side where I still am. It really doesn’t seem that long ago. We were very hip looking at the photos. Also the city was at the verge of bankruptcy and heavy drugs in the city. It also was the beginning of technology, The Walkman. The original Sony Walkman, the first personal stereo tape deck, which made its debut in 1979. Then along came Giuliani.

    6. naro says:

      Look at the graffiti inside the bus. It is all you need to know about the lawless 70s. The worst of time in NYC history.

    7. Meo says:

      More photos, please!!!!

    8. NYYgirl says:

      These photos and the memories/feelings they evoke are so irreplaceable! They bring to vivid beautiful life what it’s hard to articulate these days, about those days.
      Thank you Mr. Harmon and thank you West SIde Rag!

    9. wombatNYC says:

      At what point in time were tube socks and Sperry Topsiders ( Boat Shoes) in style?

    10. Oh Nostaligia! says:

      Bring back the muggers! Affordable housing for muggers and their families! And where have all the drug lords gone? Affordable housing for druglords and their families! Can we have dedicated lanes for dueling gangs? More gunplay in the streets! It’s not safe to hold a shootout with all the bicycles whizzing by!

      • Minx says:

        ha, exactly for those nostalgic for the ‘old UWS’ remember it came with a lot of other facets you mightn’t exactly enjoy today…

    11. EGF says:

      The past always remembers better than it lived.

    12. Sherman says:

      I like the graffiti on the subway. Yes, those were the good old days.

    13. F. Shtopp says:

      Excellent “Street Photography”, especially the 4th from top (female looking apprehensive)

      1) single-subject, unposed candid capture;
      2) great facial expression (anxiety? confusion?);
      3) non-distracting background.

    14. Nelson says:

      My salad days!! Thanks for sharing those. 😀

    15. Tracchia says:

      Absolutely wonderful. Great article. Great pictures

    16. BillyNYC says:

      Oh yes, back than there was no bike lanes but you still had to move your car four times a week for alternate side parking and wait three hours Monday – Saturday 11am – 2pm / OY!

    17. Camille says:

      I love these photos. More, please.

      • Jack says:

        Alternate side parking rules in the “Good Old Day” was SIX not four days (Monday through Saturday). Three hours every day. Some things have changed for the better.

        • BillyNYC says:

          Yes and no, actually it would be three days a week you would need to move your car to the alternate side. That’s if you didn’t move your car.
          Those holidays back then were a welcome sight.
          Now if we can only convince the community board or DOT once the sweeper goes by we can park the car and leave and only have street cleaning once a week on the both sides.
          That may happen!

    18. Martha says:

      These are so great! Been here 41 years, it all looks so familiar and some of it so current!

    19. pumpkinpie says:

      Great memories — thanks! Love the lady in the first photo with the “Food City” plastic grocery bag. I used to shop at the Food City on Columbus between 69th/70th — it’s now “Club Monaco”. It was non-glamorous, kind of dumpy and basic groceries. They had the most amazing cashiers, all Caribbean women, working on old-fashioned, non-computerized cash registers. Every one of them was a whiz at rapidly and correctly making the exact change with no help from any automation or calculator. Also, you never knew who you’d bump into in Food City. Several times I saw Birgit Nilsson (the great Wagnerian soprano of the Met and elsewhere) pushing her cart through the aisles.

    20. spenyc says:

      Re the subway shot, I remember being in a similar car, closing my eyes, and just for the heck of it imagining the car without the graffiti…and feeling the tension drain out of my body. It was an illuminating experience.

    21. Zena says:

      The UWS has always been very bohemian. I am 70 years old and grew up on the UWS. I was a teenager in the 60s. Those were the best of times!!! There was a music store on 106 steet and Broadway that sold the latest 45s, and also classical records and sheet music. Ahh, the memories.