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Janet Delaney Photos of San Francisco, NYC in the 70s, 80s

Janey Delaney Subway Magazine Stand

Janet Delaney | 1985, NYC Subway

Photographer Janet Delaney, 63, is fascinated by cities. She wanted to be an urban planner and has photographed American cities for four decades.

From Newsweek, November 25, 2015

Delaney chronicled working-class and poor people without romanticizing poverty, revealed dignity instead of conferring it from above. Her New York photographs show a city at work, often with its hands: a man pushing a dolly across a cobblestone street in SoHo, an office worker reading a paper with his morning coffee, into which he dunks a sandwich, a kneeling woman selling fireworks in Chinatown, a vendor in a subway platform newspaper kiosk framed neatly by rows of magazines. You can see in her work shades of the French impressionists who celebrated Paris street scenes: Gustave Caillebotte’s The Floor Planers , toiling shirtless; Manet’s famously plangent barmaid at the Folies-Bergère cabaret. Each image is an urban history, and maybe an urban lament.”

San Francisco, 1982, Janet Delaney

San Francisco, 1982

Delaney’s photographs of San Francisco and New York City during the postwar white-flight years were recently featured in two separate exhibits. These were formative years of Generation X. Her San Francisco from the late 1970s pictures were exhibited at the de Young Museum in San Francisco and her images of New York from the 1980s were exhibited at the Jules Maeght Gallery.

1980s Manhattan Bridge

1980s Manhattan Bridge, Janet Delaney

Here’s another brief perspective on New York City during white flight years from Elizabeth Wurtzel, for Cut, 2013.

Because I grew up in Manhattan, people assume I must be from a wealthy family, which is seldom untrue today, especially now that hedge-fund managers trying to avoid each other have taken over even the downtown enclaves. No one seems to remember New York City in the seventies, during the era of “white flight,” when Zsa Zsa Gabor was famously mugged in the Waldorf-­Astoria and Felix Rohatyn had to be mustered to rescue the municipality from financial ruin because Gerald Ford did not think it was worth federal funds. During the Abe Beame years, you could buy a three-bedroom apartment on Columbus Avenue for $15,000 and worry that you were getting ripped off. “

Gen X Blog Jennifer Chronicles

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