A Photographic Time Capsule from 1970s Brooklyn, Unearthed

01/05/2012 4:12 PM |

Prospect Park, 1973. Check out those bellbottoms!

Something rare has been rediscovered. In the early 1970s, a newly created Environmental Protection Agency hired 100 freelance photographers to “capture images relating to environmental problems, EPA activities, and everyday life,” in cities across America. Documerica, the long-lost photography project, collected 80,000 images over a period of seven years, 15,000 of which have now been digitized and made available online. Combing through the archives (some available on flickr), we stumbled upon a kind of historical treasure chest, featuring environmental blight and pollution sites, of course, as well as sublime little slices of Brooklyn neighborhood life pre-2000s. Take a peek at a few gems we found after the jump, and geek out hard over Brooklyn before it had Duane Reades with fridges full of craft beer. To geek out harder, head here. [via NYTimes]

This was what the subway used to look like.
  • courtesy of The National Archives
  • This was what the subway used to look like.

This 1974 image of graffiti on a Brooklyn wall came with the description,
  • courtesy of The National Archives
  • This 1974 image of graffiti on a Brooklyn wall came with the description, “The inner city today is an absolute contradiction to the main stream America of gas stations, expressways, shopping centers and tract homes. It is populated by blacks, Latins and the white poor. Most of all, the inner city environment is human beings, as beautiful and threatened as the 19th century buildings they inhabit.”

Much of the collection features really cute kids.

A folk concert on the South Street Seaport in view of the East River and Brooklyn, 1973.

Prospect Park, 1973.

On Dairy Day in Prospect Park, these kids saw a cow for the first time in their lives, 1973.

Fort Green, circa 1974.

Lil kids, East Brooklyn, 1973.

A newspaper recycling center in Park Slope, 1973.

Bushwick Avenue, 1974.

Even on crutches, this guy maintains his cool. Hiland Park, 1974.