The tourist-friendly, M&M's-shilling pedestrian plaza that is Times Square in 2014 is a far cry from the porn-addled streets of Times Square circa 1988. While it's now a veritable safe haven for costumed Disney characters, it was once the land of opportunity for peep show purveyors and two-bit hustlers. Which is exactly what artist Mitch O'Connell loved about it. "Way back in the late '80s, right before 42nd Street was sweep clean and purified with Disney goodness, you could still enjoy the historic New York location in all its noisy, colorful, rude and vivid glory," he writes on his website.

Above, you can see some of the snapshots he took of the area throughout the late '80s, when the then-aspiring illustrator would visit NYC trying to sell his work: "I wish I had taken 1000 more photos (and gone back at night) of the amazing buildings and people that could only be found there, but at least I got a handful of snapshots of the long gone cool decaying seediness of that bustling stretch of real estate!"

See more photos from 1980s New York here.