In late 2017, NYC parks official found two cardboard boxes full of amazing color slides from 1978. There are 2,924 slides that were shot during New York newspaper strike, and they have been forgotten for all this time. Today, they are telling us a story of another time and give us a marvelous glimpse into the past.
In 1978 Gordon Davis was appointed Parks Commissioner, and he inherited a park system in terrible condition. “Central Park’s Sheep Meadow was a dust bowl, public pools were shuttered or understaffed, and graffiti was rampant,” NYC Parks explains.
Between August and November 1978 was also the time of the press corps labor strike. During the strike, Davis hired eight temporarily unemployed New York Times photographers to document the city’s parks. They include Neal Boenzi and Joyce Dopkeen, who were the first female staff photographers hired by the Times. The other photographers were D. Gorton, Eddie Hausner, Paul Hosefros, Robert Klein, Larry Morris, and Gary Settle.
It’s not clear how and why the color slides from this project remained lost and forgotten for four decades. But, now that they’ve been found, they are exhibited at the Arsenal Gallery. The exhibition shows 65 of the nearly 3,000 photos depicting New York parks in 1978. These gorgeous, colorful images demonstrate that “parks are essential to civic life, and should never be taken for granted.” If you are in New York, you can visit the exhibition until 14 June 2018. And in case you can’t go, here’s a small preview of the gorgeous photos that have been discovered after all this time.
[via FStoppers, image credits: NYC Parks Photo Archive, 1978, used with permission]