Throwback Thursday: A Photographer Captured That 70s and 80s Vibe

Mark Futral has photographed Upper West Siders for decades, and he sent us some of his shots from the 1970s and 80s, along with some information on how he got into street photography.

“I used to walk on Broadway and just photograph the denizens of the Upper West Side, people working, walking and hanging out. I used both a 35mm camera and a 2.5 twin lens reflex to take the photos.

I have lived at various places on the upper west side, mostly on West End Avenue, from 90th to 102nd Streets since the mid 1970’s. I took up street photography with a borrowed 35 mm camera in the late 1960’s when I moved to Manhattan’s lower east side from the Bronx. When I settled on the Upper West Side and finally bought my own camera, I enjoyed prowling the streets on Broadway to photograph the interesting characters and denizens of the neighborhood. Living on West End Avenue, it was generally quiet and sedate but when you headed up to Broadway, there was always a bazaar like atmosphere filled with all kinds of people as the neighborhood was very diverse which appealed to me. I enjoyed taking candid shots but also liked to stop people on the street to ask them to pose for the camera and most, if not all, readily complied. I have been retired since 2014 and I still walk along Broadway today taking photos, which is one of my favorite things to do.”

See his photos below:

To participate in Throwback Thursday, please send us a photo, preferably by email to westsiderag@gmail.com. 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 already 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 | 11 comments | permalink
    1. Roberta Wolf says:

      I recognize the woman with the white apron who had a little food cart on 73rd street outside the Ansonia Hotel (you can see it in the background). I had a job in the hotel and would often buy my lunch from her. She was Greek and I learned how to thank you in Greek: “Efharisto” which always made her smile.

    2. Sandy Strong says:

      Love these photos! It’s interesting how much older these photos feel. Maybe it’s because he captured a few more older people. But I love seeing the dress of that time captured in the younger people…that style is back in now!

    3. Patricia says:

      I would love to see an exhibit of the photographers collection of this series!

    4. Linda says:

      The gentleman holding his dog looks like he could be a relative of the late Danny Aiello.

      • lynn says:

        I thought the man holding the dog was the senior who went ‘missing’ twice during the last couple of months. He lives on WEA.

    5. Tim says:

      Great photos – thank you WR for this occasional feature!

    6. Rima Berzin says:

      These are all treasures. What a beautiful eye you have.

    7. neil wollerstein says:

      Great photos Mark – great story!

    8. Kate Harrigan says:

      These bring back memories of my years in NY – what a journey into time! I recognize the places and backgrounds.

    9. First, a photog has to be present with a camera. Second, he has to find interesting people places and things to capture. Third, he has to take the picture that preserves an image worth looking at. A photog has to know the place and understand the people. Mark’s presentation is a document of a time long past which displays what could be the present. The dress may have changed slightly, but the people remain the same, ethnically, socially and economically diverse. Mark preserves their humanity by connecting, eye to eye. Behind those eyes are the souls of the same people who patrol the same streets today. His photos not only preserve, they educate.