Vintage Photos Capture Times Square’s Depravity in the 1970s and 1980s

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Before Times Square became a global spots, the neighborhood was once defined by burlesque shows, porn theaters, grindhouses, go-go bars, peep shows and sex shops. A symbol of New York’s decay, 42nd Street was called the “worst” block in the city by the New York Times in 1960, with nearly every block became crammed with these seedy businesses. One of the city’s busiest corridors, every day thousands of people would have to pass under the marquees of numerous adult theaters lining the street. These 18 vintage black-and-white photographs from the late 1970s to mid-1980s, taken by renowned photographer Andreas Feininger, will give us a glimpse of the area during the time it was bound with the social decline of urban America:

Posters advertising burlesque shows at the Follies Burlesk and Gaiety Theater in in Times Square, New York City, 1975.

A man walking past the entrance to a topless bar in Times Square, New York City, 1975.

Men walking past the entrance to one of the strip clubs around Times Square, New York City, circa 1975.

Street scene showing a sex shop and massage parlour titled ‘Porno House’, New York City, 1975.

The ‘Follies Burlesk’ showing the upcoming shows for ‘Valerie Craft’ and ‘Marinka’, 46th St. and Broadway, New York City, 1978.

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