Some fantastic footage of 1970s NYC has surfaced, with a focus on the Upper West Side in the midst of one of the city's toughest decades. The video was shot in 1977, when the neighborhood was still going through a bit of "a Renaissance"—things had already changed since the 1960s, when Peggy Olson was living there.
Shot by Mark Mannucci and Mary Larsen, the 9-minute video features an array of residents—from optimistic 10-year-olds to grumpy old ladies to youthful gentrifiers. Those who spoke on camera had different opinions of the area, some saying it was dangerous, others saying it was safe, and one man more accurately declaring that the level of safety changed with every block. A few comments you'll hear throughout:
- "Mayor Beame said he's going to clean up the streets in a few days... we're still waiting, it's very dirty. And the... potholes! You trip over them, you can't walk over them. It's lousy. I remember when it was beautiful and now it stinks." — older, longtime resident
- "This is the best neighborhood in town. There's nice people around here. I've lived in Brooklyn but it's really boring down there." — kid in the playground
- "[The neighborhood is] getting better. Uh when we first came... I'm gonna be careful here. It was a lot rougher than it is now. It's become very gay, which is very safe to me. A lot of the Village has moved up here. It's very residential, very quiet. It's nice to wake up and hear birds singing." — 20-something who just relocated from the Village
- "I wish there were some more gangs around here. Around here, that's what we need." — Snake 123, who moved to the UWS from the Bronx
You can watch the full video here—it's not embeddable, but worth clicking through.