Throwback Thursday: The ‘Broadway Ladies’ of the Late 70s

The photo and hand-coloring above are by Joan Menschenfreund, who has lived on the Upper West Side for 51 years. The women were sitting in the Broadway median at 79th Street. She painted it “with transparent oils, after developing it with a bit of a sepia bath.”

Joan explains her inspiration below.

“I love my Broadway Ladies, probably shot in the late ’70’s. I was a young photographer working as an art editor at a book publishing company. Street photography was big at the time and I was trying to be arty and combine painting with black and white photography. Those benches along Broadway near the Apthorp and Zabars were always filled with locals.  So were the park benches on Central Park West. Lots of conversation as they sat and watched people go by. Look at the way the ladies are dressed…they never went out without their hats, stockings and heeled shoes. It was very reassuring and middle class, like so much of the neighborhood back then. I, in my jeans, probably thought I was too hip to ever really age. And now I’m nearly their age…but still wearing jeans and sneakers!”

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 | 5 comments | permalink
    1. Amateur, NOT Sloth says:

      Re: “Menschenfreund”

      Great name! AND, according to “Google Translate”, it means “philanthropist”.

      Wouldn’t it be fascinating to trace her family or her husband’s family history going back centuries.

      • Joan M. says:

        My grandparents came from a shtetl in what is now the Ukraine. My grandfather managed to keep his name intact going through Ellis Is. in about 1907. They were not at all wealthy and our family hasn’t been able to trace the origin of our name.

    2. Sally R. Sacks says:

      Those same ladies were there in the 40’s, when I was growing up on 86th Street.

    3. Billy Amato says:

      Sally, Those same ladies are still there!
      Cross the street from Chase 79/B’way.

    4. AC says:

      this is more like early 1970’s – the drycleaners next to the Greater NY Savings Bank.