32 Amazing Photos of New York City during the 1970s

These startling 1970s New York photos reveal a city undergoing an unparalleled transformation fueled by economic collapse and rampant crime.
Reeling from a decade of social turmoil, New York in the 1970s fell into a deep tailspin provoked by the flight of the middle class to the suburbs and a nationwide economic recession that hit New York’s industrial sector especially hard.

Combined with substantial cuts in law enforcement and citywide unemployment topping ten percent, crime and financial crisis became the dominant themes of the decade. In just five years from 1969 to 1974, the city lost over 500,000 manufacturing jobs, which resulted in over one million households being dependent on welfare by 1975. In almost the same span, rapes and burglaries tripled, car thefts and felony assaults doubled, and murders went from 681 to 1690 a year.

Depopulation and arson also had pronounced effects on the city: abandoned blocks dotted the landscape, creating vast areas absent of urban cohesion and life itself.

In totality, the decade was a transformative one for New York, as it reconfigured the economic and social realities of America’s most prominent city. By the conclusion of the 1970s, over a million people had left the city.

Take a look at these impressive photos that capture a New York City on the brink of implosion in the mid-1970s.

Greenwich Village, 1976
Greenwich Village, 1976
Chinatown, 1976
Financial District, 1976
House, 1976
Market, 1976
Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1976
Plaza Hotel, 1976
Times Square, 1976
Trinity Church, 1976
United Nations, 1976
Wall Street on Sunday, 1976
West Side Highway, 1976
125th Street, 1977
Bowery, 1977
Dominoes, 1977
Drug deals in Harlem, 1977
East 125th Street, 1977
Empire State Building, 1977
Harlem from the air, 1977
Harlem from the air, 1977
Harlem from the ground, 1977
Harlem from the ground, 1977
Harlem, 1977
NW Corner Houston and West Broadway, 1977
Opposite Radio City, 1977
Pike Street Mural, 1977
South Bronx, 1977
Subway, 1977
Twin Towers, 1977
West 59th Street, 1977
West 59th Street, 1977

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