photograph by Joel Meyerowitz
As a postscript and antidote to our grimy deep dive into New York City of the 70s, here’s a shot from 1965 I just can’t not share. And somewhat curiously, there’s no less than three convertibles in this shot.
What a beautiful picture! I wonder how good that front end is at deflecting wind?
Judging by her hair, not too good! I think that was not yet a time when wild hair was desirable; presumably she’ll straighten it out upon arrival. Look, no tats on her calves!
“No tats”. I love that!
Back in the mid 90’s when tattoos (especially tramp stamps) were all the rage, I said to myself, “I should go to dermatology school now, to become a tattoo removal technician in the future.” I didn’t have the funds & I’m sure it would’ve been very expensive with licensing, certification, becoming a laser technician, etc.
Almost looks like she’s checking her phone.
I think she looks as though she’s filing her nails, with the prevalence of false nails I don’t see this being done so much now.
Looking at her phone was my first thought, as well.
Then I remembered the year…
Such an ordinary moment becomes extraordinary in this shot. Perhaps it is the vivid color, clarity and quality of the photo, but the scene seems remarkably modern.
Loving that little Buick ragtop.
2 Buick convertibles for the price of one. Appears to be a ’63 LeSabre or Electra (not enough rear end visible and I’m having a hard time counting the Ventiports! ) on 72nd!
She’s sure cute, but at this point, I think I really would rather have the Buick.
You are now officially old.
Can you believe the “Wouldn’t You Really Rather Have a Buick” slogan is at least 50 years old?
I’m embarrassed to say I remember it almost like it was yesterday.
I can almost hear that sweet little 215 V8 burbling… 🙂
Sweet. That’s the Dakota behind her. Home of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, outside the 72nd Street entrance of which he was shot.
Its facade was cleaned a couple of decades ago, and still looks like new. A testament to how much less pollution we have in our cities and country today. When I was growing up, the Carnegie Library down the street was literally black, as was the big library in Pittsburgh. Today they’re both back to their original light-gray granite.
What a great shot, thanks for identifying the location RS. I appreciate how this scene has changed so little over the years.
I loved driving my MGB thru the SF financial district. the sound echoing off the buildings was beautiful. On my way to Stinson beach felt like I had something on all those bankers.
I bet you got skilled at uphill green-lights with the stick & parking brake! BTW the parking brake on mine was fairly weak despite attempts to tighten it.
I wore out a clutch or two. Still worth it.
Perfect for this week. A reminder of when GM was doing good rather than engaged in Deadly Sins. I love the first gen BOP compacts. They had some growing pains beginning in 63 but turned out fine by decades end. I still prefer the original, right-sized models, especially the Skylark in coupe and convertible form.
A few weeks ago I was standing in front of the Dakota at 72nd and Central Park West, on my way to the New York Historical Society and Museum. The building was covered in scaffolding, as so much of Manhattan often is.
I’d buy picture book of photos like this from this source, to add to my collection. Vivid, (presumably) unstaged real-life, from another place and time.
For a book along those lines, I’d recommend one called “Downtown: Minneapolis in the 1970s” by Mike Evangelist & Andy Sturdevant. Just amazing amateur street photography. And plenty of cars in the mix, though not as the main focus, more around the edges like the Ford Country Sedan in the book’s cover photo.
Fantastic. Thank you for the recommendation!
This is even better than Roman Holiday.
If she was about 20 years old then, she is about 70 now. Feel old yet?
Talking of two wheels, that might be a Lambretta & not a Vespa!
Lovely series 3 Lambretta ( though that windscreen is probably dust by now) – and somebody tell her the side panel handle is loose
If a picture tells a thousand words, this is like ten pictures worth. Talk about “in the moment”. Simple, beautiful, priceless.
Except that’s not an ordinary moment. Obviously a model shoot, it’s a Lambretta, not a Vespa, and there’s no way in hell anyone would try to ride a scooter dressed like that. No matter what front deflection the scooter has, at anything above ten miles per hour she’d have her dress covering her eyes.
And yes, the lack of tattoos is absolutely delightful. I’m not opposed to tattoing on either sex, but I’ve always considered it an above-the-waist art form.
New York CIty model, 50 years ago. I wonder if she’s still alive.
Given the partying lifestyle, I wonder if she lived into the 80’s.
paul, you really should give proper attribution:
A girl on a scooter, New York City, 1965 – photograph by Joel Meyerowitz
Wow, more than 50 years ago. She’s probably in her late 60s or early 70s by now, somebody’s grandmother. Hey, your gran was hot!
That shot was exquisite and reminded me of one of my favorite authors William F. Buckley, who in ’65 was running for Mayor of NYC. When asked what he would do if elected he quipped, “Demand a recount.”
Buckley regularly rode a Vespa on NY’s mean streets contrary to his patrician persona, which would suggest he’d be touring in a limo instead.
That’s a Honda, not a Vespa. I believe it’s a Honda C100 Cub (aka, ‘Honda Fifty’).
IIRC, 1965 was the peak year of convertible car sales in the US after the industry had made closed cars affordable. Almost every model line included a convertible.
I’m in convertible heaven!
Okay. The Impala on the right has a notoriously defective motor mount that fails and locks the throttle wide open, and GM gave up on the V6 and V8 engines for the Skylark on the left even before it gave up on the Corvair.
Happy to help.
paul you had me. i saw the picture before reading the headline or glancing at the cars and thought to myself what is a hypster chick checking her phone doing on curbside classic. should have known better.
perhaps this is demonstrable proof that when at a stop drivers have always wanted to occupy their time whether with nails, radio, phone, 8 track – whatever. now it is just illegal to use your phone.
The very image (in my head,natch) of an 8-Track on a scooter is hipster awesome! ?
who is she texting?
She is checking her gps- her husband is waiting for her downtown
That almost makes me feel nostalgic for blasting around New York on my BMW R100S in the early 90s. A torquey bike was great in the city because you squeeze through tight spots, holeshot anything at traffic lights, and park on the sidewalk.
Then I remember how crowded the Manhattan sidewalks felt after a few years in Oregon and look at what stuff costs and think how smart I was to move West.
It also makes me appreciate classic street photography, so I guess it’s time to dust off the Nikon FM and shoot some film.
Great picture! Here’s my gal on her scooter a few weeks ago. We ride most weekends.
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