The Tenderloin

I love this corner. I love the light, the people. It is where Korea Town begins, which is part of  what was known decades ago as the “The Tenderloin”. It was the heart of New York’s theater and red light districts. It stretched further north and west encompassing other neighborhoods as well.

Broadway intersects here as well as Greeley Square and Herald Square. There is a subway entrance just behind this man. New York’s “Camera District” or “Photo District”, ran along W. 32nd from Broadway to 7th Avenue. I worked in Camera Barn back then. The famous Olden Camera was on a corner building, just across from where this man is standing, straddling 6th Avenue and Broadway. Nikon always had a large billboard above the store facing north. Now it’s usually an Apple advertisement.

I have so many fond memories of New York from the late 1970s and early 1980s. The grit, grime, the excitement of the streets. The clubs, neighborhood bars. New York didn’t seem to be as crowded then.

Lenny Kaye, the guitarist from Patti Smith’s band lived down the hall from me. Keir and Dimitry from “Deelite” lived on the first floor. A day didn’t go by that I didn’t see Allen Ginsberg, Phillip Glass, Iggy Pop, or even Quentin Crisp taking his evening stroll past the laundromat on my laundry day.

I know the New York of my youth does not exist anymore. I watch the dismantling and gentrification of places I knew and loved. Sometimes we wish we could hold onto things.

I guess, sometimes, this is what I still search for.

Published by Keith Goldstein

Photographer, husband, dad, and passionate cyclist. Lives and works in New York City.

9 thoughts on “The Tenderloin

    1. Yes, very true. I met Garry at Camera Barn as well. Sold him enlarging paper. Friedlander too. Manuel Alavrez Bravo even came in once or twice. So many characters passed through that shop every Saturday….

  1. Lots of great memories. I also remember the Willoughby-Peerless (where it was good to demo cameras but never buy them) and Spiratone and rummaging through boxes of used odds and ends upstairs at Olden.

    You might like “Inside the Dream Palace,” a history of the Chelsea Hotel.

  2. Oh, yes, gentrification … everything tamed … so “nice” and well ordered … for the ones who can afford it. In Vienna just the same. Everywhere, I suppose. I think, there will be another change. Maybe we are still around when it happens … maybe we are even part of it.

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