Photographer Meryl Meisler documented much of the city in the 1970s and '80s, and has been releasing images from her expansive archive via a series of books. The last focused on 1980s Bushwick, and in her latest she brings the 1970s to life, with images from both suburban Long Island and NYC.
Purgatory & Paradise: SASSY '70s Suburbia & The City will be celebrated tomorrow at Bizarre Black Box Gallery (12 Jefferson Street, Brooklyn), where an exhibition of her photos will also be on display—click through for a preview.
Meisler tells us most of the suburban shots were taken in South Shore and Nassau County—"in towns where my friends and parents friends lived: Massapequa, Seaford, Merrick, Bethpage, Wantagh, Woodmere"—as well as Fire Island. There are also photos from the North Shore, Huntington, and the Hamptons. As for the city, she tells us she preferred the Upper West Side, Upper East Side, East Harlem, East Village, Lower East Side, Chelsea, Midtown, and SoHo—"wherever my friends, family, parties, art openings and clubs were." Her book includes images of everything—from Patti Smith singing "Gloria" at CBGB, to Ed Koch talking outside of the Supreme Court to the hair salons of North Massapequa.
Today, Meisler says she misses "the fabulous stationery stores, one of kind shops and restaurants, the smell of offset ink visiting my dad’s printing company," adding that "NYC is magical because of our diversity in every sense of the word—and we have to maintain that by building more affordable housing and maintaining rent stabilization, strengthening the public school system, healthcare and social services. We need to help small business, art and cultural organizations and non-profits survive and thrive. New York is a city and our uniqueness and diversity makes it greater."