New York City, NY, USA

Get Nostalgic for 1980s New York City

An exhibit of photographs at ClampArt gallery depicts the city in the age of punk and graffiti-riddled subways.

Photo courtesy of ClampArt, New York City Andrew Garn's "Rainy Night, 42nd Street," on exhibit at Chelsea's ClampArt Gallery, offers a glimpse of Times Square back in 1983.

Every decade of New York City history comes with its own distinct brand of nostalgia. NYC, c. 1985, an exhibit currently showing at ClampArt gallery, captures 1980s nostalgia through a series of unsentimental images from known and lesser-known photographers. As the gallery explains, "Compared to the 1970s, a restrained optimism prevailed to a certain extent in New York City over the next decade with the Wall Street boom and a general decline in unemployment. However, such appalling blights as homelessness, violent crime and racial tensions — not to mention the explosion of the AIDS epidemic — all served to shred the very social fabric of the city."

From subway platform to street life, the photos traverse all boroughs, showing how aspects of the city have changed yet also remained the same. The magazines in Janet Delaney's Subway Readers are distinctly 1980s, but the straphanger killing time with his newspaper is quintessential NYC. In Andrew Garn's Rainy Night, 42nd Street, the crowds of Times Square are all too familiar but the row of marquees lining the street are not — many of them have been replaced today by places like McDonald's and Sephora. Also worth checking out are the timeless portraits of cultural icons like Madonna, Andy Warhol and Cindy Sherman. Among the photographers on display are Nan Goldin, Larry Clark and Amy Arbus.

The exhibit runs through July 3. ClampArt is located at 521-531 West 25th Street.

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