Reasons to Love NYC…In 1976

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Boro Park, Brooklyn in 1976 (badwsky/flickr)

Nick Carr, the man behind Scouting New York, recently stumbled across an article published in The New York Times in 1976 called "101 Things to Love About New York City". We discuss the list and take calls about what's gone, what's new, and what always stays the same. Plus, a call from Glenn Collins, who wrote the list and still writes for the Times.

(Image from the NYT Archives. See the full image here.)


Nick Carr

Comments [45]

andrew carter from Dobbs Ferry, NY

I am nostalgic about one store...Unique Clothing Warehouse. It was on Broadway just below St. Marks. They had great ' clothing. Some vintage,army/navy ,surplus and just some one of a kind odd things like canteens,even signs. It was great to go because there would always be something you would not expect or never knew you wanted.

May. 24 2014 12:00 PM
Jason from NY, NY

I was born in 1984 and grew up near Austin St, in Queens. Does anyone have any idea why Austin st. is on the list? Thanks!

May. 22 2014 12:31 PM
David from NYC

We had book & music stores and a real Times Sq.

You have bike lanes and a mall at the crossroads of the world

I guess you won .......

May. 22 2014 11:59 AM
Susan from Westchester, NY

It's obvious from the comments, that #1 is still number one!

May. 22 2014 07:30 AM
Eve B from Rockaway Park

Cato's Army Navy on Manhattan Ave. in Greenpoint is still family owned and going strong! Their old-fashioned deep, double front display windows are great.

May. 21 2014 09:20 PM
Bob from Bronx

The 1976 list is not very good. Neither inciteful or witty.

May. 21 2014 09:01 PM
Penelope from Astoria

I remember the bicentennial fondly too. I was 9 years old-- dressed in red, white, and blue-- down at the south street seaport with my family :)

May. 21 2014 08:24 PM
WD from Nyc

Well ,City college was Free !!! orange julis,just watching local sports in a local bar, cheap beer,SRO's for folks with little money. new yorkers doing low paying jobs, when they were in between work, or just looking for work. Lunchonetts, not fast food, people cooked at home more. Not a huge underground economy with un documented aliens working here. Now the flood of cheap labor, undermining the years of workers rights, unions.There was no fear of terroists, no nuke movement was important. non image conscience, no celebrity, no VIP seating. Keith Richards at the Bottom line hanging out with musicians. Death to disco movement, kill pretension, Yuppie Scum movement.Forcing elderly people from there apts, people who worked their whole live, paid taxes, endured the hardships of life itself. Wake up listeners, unmask any illusion you have. Now a city of low paying service workers selling us bad food, serving the rich, building for the rich, not putting the energy , money to get rid of gangs.Have a diversion program, you litter, pee in the subway, you clean it early in the morning. Teach yoga, meditation in schools. Civic work for students, rich and poor. N.Y.C. is selling out fast, the mayor is a joke, go on job sites, bars, ballgames, parks, hear what the working people say...

May. 21 2014 08:08 PM

this segment is the very anthem: "It's 2014 in NYC -- ya don't have to be cool!"

May. 21 2014 08:04 PM

if you think NYC water is good or safe,you're a fool. if this is the best in the nation,then i don't know what the hell that says about other places. to begin with,Fluoride has no sane place in the human body. ozonated treatment is the way to go.

May. 21 2014 08:04 PM
Margaret from Morningside Heights

When I arrived in 1976, stayed in a sublet in the loft building by Fulton Fish Market (where sculptor made works of car parts), and there was a wonderful, surreal art tunnel through one of the blocks, white walls with freestyle colored flourescent lights. In those years, thought it strange there was no more than pretzels and knishes for street food -thought there should be fruits and vegetables... Now, there are: Tom Thumb community garden leases; MillionTreesNYC street tree stewards; Natural Areas Volunteering for the Parks Dept.; the Dana Learning Center at Harlem Meer; farmer's markets; urban farms; and COMPOSTING! Finally! Also appreciate kneeling buses, and with ramps.

May. 21 2014 06:13 PM
brooklyn_mom from Brooklyn for a little while longer

Ha I listened to Shattered by the Rolling Stones last Sunday (think it came out around 78/79). back then Mick belted out this great line:

"To live in this town you must be tough, tough, tough, tough

Fast forward to 2014 and sadly I cry:
"you must rich, Rich, RIch, RICh, RICH..."

NYC 2014 boo-hoo what happened? - Brooklyn is now being invaded HELP!

May. 21 2014 05:43 PM
Tom from Harlem

873-0404 wasn't just satellite information. It was the Hayden Planetarium Sky Reporter. It gave the phase of the moon, and whether it was waxing or waning, as well as any planets that might be visible for the next few nights, and what part of the sky they could be seen in.

I gave that number as mine to several annoying survey takers and religious zealots who wouldn't take no for an answer.

May. 21 2014 01:40 PM
Logic from NYC

The reason we have Parks named after members of the Beastie Boys and The Ramones is b/c of the untimely deaths of these artists.
Is that really a good thing?
I'd rather have the artist alive than a park named after them posthumously. I could case less about who they name parks after to be honest. People's true legacy is felt in our daily lives, not in park names.

May. 21 2014 12:16 PM
Judy Young from Union Square

There's a new, really fun, shady, relaxing playground on the SW corner of Washington Square Park. That would never have been there in 1976 while that area was very much "Pusher's Corner".

May. 21 2014 12:01 PM
Bob from Westchester

In 1976 we would walk the abandoned elevated West Side Highway, enjoying the unobstructed views and the river breezes -- the original High Line park, but without the crowds and tourists.

May. 21 2014 12:00 PM

In 2014, I can Youtube my old local kids shows like The Magic Garden and Romper-room whenever I want.

May. 21 2014 11:58 AM

Free wifi while I wait for cleaner safer subways.

May. 21 2014 11:57 AM
James from Jamaica, Queens

As a math teacher, I love that Brian Lehrer finally described the pledge drive match as a 50% match instead of the unnecessarily wordy "dollar for every two dollars". Thank you Brian!

May. 21 2014 11:56 AM

Great things that didn't exist in 1976: the indie theater scene is no longer just "downtown", but now has spread throughout the 5 boroughs.

May. 21 2014 11:54 AM
David from Manhattan

While of course it is better to be in a safer city, NYC IS losing its character. What's replaced it is money'ed gentrification that is bland, predictable and homogeneous. It's become really a playland for the young and wealthy. Even the supposed creative spaces of Brooklyn are over developed bringing along with its consequent requisite crowd. Manhattan is vanilla.

May. 21 2014 11:51 AM
Alex from Fort Greene

There used to be an electric charge in the city.
A gritty edge that was dangerous and exhilarating.

I know its the consensus that nostalgia for the 'rougher' times is a lazy over-simplification (and in my case blended with nostalgia for my youth), but I still miss the cluttered chaos that wasn't all polished franchises.

I'll take the shady guys selling watches and fake IDs in Times Square over those annoying people dressed as Elmo and Disney characters!!!

May. 21 2014 11:48 AM
Rick from NYC

"Dial-A-Satellite?" WTF were you supposed to do with THAT?!

May. 21 2014 11:41 AM
David From Dead Horse Bay from Howard Beach

In 1976, was tent camping in Brooklyn at Floyd Bennett Field with my public school students and seining for sea critters in Dead Horse Bay was a very exciting learning activity for my city students.

It is still but for today's teachers and children.

May. 21 2014 11:41 AM

Grand Central Hospital closed (now Ford Foundation). But we lose a trauma center close to GCT.

Multiple Queens hospitals closed.

May. 21 2014 11:41 AM
Cache from NYC

Ed from Larchmont, you made laugh..."The 1970s had terrible crime and abortion..."
Let's understand one thing - Abortion is legal so by law it is NO CRIME!

Definitely agree that the list is out of step with the blandness and big-box-ness of NYC today.
Brooklyn is looking more like the UWS these days and it will only get worse with the influx of millionaire/billionaire temporary dweller home owners who "live" here a few weeks out of the year.
There are toooo many contradictions in that sentence.
What a genius way to build community in NYC by handing tax-break incentives for multi-million dollar construction for the top 5% of Global millionaires/billionaires who don't even want to live here but still seek the Cache of calling NYC their home.

May. 21 2014 11:36 AM
The Truth from Becky

I miss Playland, Mr. Softee, Italian ices in the original squeeze cup and tokens...I do not miss the horrible crime.

May. 21 2014 11:36 AM
Katie from Huntington

Police sick-out and battle for parity; garbage strike; Mike Quill who called the Mayor LindsLay instead of Lindsay and the transit strike. graffiti. Like this NY so much better.

May. 21 2014 11:35 AM

1)break fast specials
2) dog packs on the west side
3) elevated west side highway
4) concerts in central park (the 2$ ones)

May. 21 2014 11:35 AM
Bonn from East Village

Since you mentioned alternate side of the parking a few times, please give credit to my uncle, Isadore Cohen, "uncle Izzy," for creating it. He worked for the Sanitation Dept. in Queens.

May. 21 2014 11:31 AM
Ellen from Park Slope

Hi - Love the idea behind this segment, but, I believe Dead Horse Bay is in Brooklyn.

It's across Flatbush Avenue from Floyd Bennett Field. As a former solid waste dump that is now eroding, the beach offers a wonderful, anthropological look at the types of dishes and packages used in earlier decades.

It's also a good birding spot. But beware the ticks!

Thanks, Ellen

May. 21 2014 11:30 AM
Kate Steinberg from Brooklyn

A major change: NO TORNADOES!
There have been at least 2 in Brooklyn in the past 3 or so years.

May. 21 2014 11:29 AM
Lou from Massapequa

Deadhorse Bay is in Brooklyn not Rockaways.

May. 21 2014 11:29 AM

The photo chosen for this segment is from Boro Park, Brooklyn and a block away from where I used to lived. I was 3 years old at the time and it has changed considerably still.

May. 21 2014 11:26 AM
mr nyc

That was year of the Democratic Convention that nominated Jimmy Carter.

May. 21 2014 11:26 AM
Miscellaneous from NYC

Clicking on the link takes one to a NYTimes page with a blank space where the list should be.

May. 21 2014 11:25 AM

@Orlando, isn't that the point of showing this list now. It reveals that even at its worst, NYC was better in many ways than it is today. sad really.

May. 21 2014 11:22 AM

Ah yea, "NY 77: The Coolest Year In Hell - Part 1" (more cool links off that page)

And RuPaul & Lahoma Walk from Times Square to the East Village in 1986

+ this valuable site is magnificent and bittersweet:

May. 21 2014 11:11 AM

I will forever value how many decades -- centuries -- that NYC radiated with an in-your-face, untamable energy! A wild, electric wire frantically whipping around so dangerously…

Nor will I ever forget the brutal lesson doled out by Giuliani, then Bloomberg -- at how easily big money can literally change anything it wants to, and how quickly. Strange to see a handful of the city's buildings still standing.

May. 21 2014 10:59 AM
Andrea from Philadelphia

Two of these really resonate with me:

#17 How no one ever takes the top newspaper on the pile (the top one was always ripped, smudged or wet)

#76 Looking for a place you know on the dirty restaurant list (it appeared in the Times once a week--you would discuss it with your friends and take great pleasure when a fancy place you couldn't afford was on it)

May. 21 2014 10:25 AM
Jeb from Brooklyn

11. Hating [cable company/internet provider].

35. Teaching a cabbie that you can pre-swipe your credit card before your ride is complete.

102. Watching a celebrity eat/drink openly in a restaurant without a single interruption or freak out by a local.

May. 21 2014 10:05 AM
David from NYC

Everything comes with a price and while the 70's where crazy.
Is now really better, every bit of land is over developed in this city.

The permanent government got its way.

$5,000 a month apartments in LIC how chic !!
$10,000 a month in the West Village

May. 21 2014 09:07 AM
Ed from Larchmont

The 1970s had terrible crime and abortion and almost bankruptcy - but who was all over New York City in the 1970s? Mother Teresa, how we miss her.

May. 21 2014 08:09 AM
art525 from Park Slope

All the cars with broken windows on your street as theives steal car radios. All the cars with hand written signs in their windows stating that their radios had already been stolen. Free passes for returning home on the subways on weekends. The tall ships in the harbor for the Fourth of July 1976. Cheap passes for students for movies at Cinema 5. Landlords in Park Slope burning their buildings to force out rent control renters.

May. 21 2014 08:05 AM
Orlando Camargo from Manhattan

I do love Item #1: "Being nostalgic about things in New York that never were so great." I grew up in NYC in the 70's and loved it but by most recollection this period was one of the worst eras of the city for crime and crazy.

May. 20 2014 03:45 PM

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