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Guide to the Eugene Gordon Photographs
1970-1990 (bulk, 1980s)
 PR 248

New-York Historical Society
170 Central Park West
New York, NY 10024
(212) 873-3400


New-York Historical Society

Collection processed by Jenny Gotwals, June 2006; with additions by Aaron Stempien, 2010.

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on May 18, 2020
English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Gordon, Eugene, 1923-
Title: Eugene Gordon photographs
Dates [inclusive]: 1970-1990 (bulk, 1980s)
Abstract: The Eugene Gordon Photograph Collection contains over 700 black & white gelatin silver prints from 1970-1990 (bulk, 1980s). The photos depict street life, religious groups, buildings and public events of New York City.
Quantity: 3 Linear feet in 4 boxes
Call Phrase: PR 248

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Biographical Note

Eugene Gordon started his career as a photographer, taking stock images for textbooks and other publications. He traveled extensively in his personal life and documented religious ceremonies and different ethnicities of people in the countries he visited. Gordon continued this project throughout New York City, but most extensively at home in Queens, New York. Some of his favorite subjects to document were street scenes, parades, festivals, and Times Square. He printed his photographs in his own darkroom in Forest Hills, Queens.

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Scope and Contents Note

The Eugene Gordon Photograph Collection contains over 700 black & white gelatin silver prints from 1970-1990 (bulk, 1980s) of street life, religious groups, buildings, and public events of New York City. In general, the photographs show New Yorkers going about their lives in a vibrant city. Gordon's images highlight the shifting ethnic makeup of NYC.

Street Views includes general views of city life as well as more specific attempts to document neighborhoods. Many of the photographs of Times Square juxtapose adult theater marquees with business people or document the often hand-drawn massage parlor signs common to the area in the 1970s and 1980s. Gordon's eye for the absurd and ironic is evidenced by one photo that depicts a man sleeping on the sidewalk in front of a street mission sign that proclaims "Jesus Saves." Photographs of Harlem highlight street-front churches as well as restaurants and stores.

Views of neighborhoods of the outer boroughs focus on the ethnicities of their inhabitants. In the case of Jackson Heights and Flushing, the multi-ethnic mix of residents is emphasized; a photograph shows the sign of a medical practice with surnames of at least four different nations represented. Photos of Greenpoint, Brooklyn depict broken down cars and buildings. Photographs of Long Island City include several views across the East River, looking toward the United Nations.

Miscellaneous views include an exterior shot of an outdoor ballet rehearsal at Lincoln Center, the Fresh Kills Landfill in Staten Island, and a southerly view showing the buildings along 59th Street.

Buildings includes several photographs of the demolition of St. Peter's Lutheran Church to make way for the erection of the Citicorp Building on Lexington Avenue between 53rd and 54th Streets. Views of the United Nations show the statue beating the sword into a plowshare, gifted by the Soviet Union. Building interiors include the Metropolitan Opera.

Events includes parades, festivals, and exhibitions. Photos show the outdoor food carts of Little Italy's San Gennaro Festival in 1974. This heading includes photos which were taken during the August 26, 1970 Women's Strike for Equality demonstration and parade. They show women and some men walking down Fifth Avenue. Women of all ages and races are represented in these photos, as are many of the humorous and/or angry signs they carried. Photos of the 1988 Lesbian and Gay Pride Parade show participants with a "Free Sharon Kowalski" banner. A comic book exhibit held in the Hotel Biltmore in the early 1980s is also documented. Other photos show an anti-Apartheid rally, and an election rally for Michael Dukakis, the 1988 presidential candidate.

Religious Groups contains small photo essays on some of New York City's religious groups and communities. Gordon asked to photograph these ceremonies and was granted access. Hare Krishnas are shown worshipping in the Rada Krishna Temple in Brooklyn, as well as selling literature and singing in the streets of Manhattan. Gordon documented a congregation of Sikhs worshipping at the Gurdwara Sikh Cultural Society of New York in Flushing, Queens.

Subjects includes a variety of scenes that do not fit neatly into the above headings. They include photos on subjects as diverse as auctions, construction scenes with unidentifiable locations, a pet cemetery, traffic court, food related and drug related images.

Arrangement

The collection is organized into five series:
Series I: Street Views
Series II: Buildings
Series III: Events
Series IV: Religious Groups
Series V: Subjects

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Access Points

Document Type

  • Cityscapes (representations)
  • Gelatin silver prints.

Subject Topics

  • Ethnic Groups -- United States.
  • Hare Krishnas -- New York (State) -- New York.
  • Political rallies -- New York (State) -- New York.
  • Sikhs -- New York (State) -- New York.
  • Street life -- New York (State) -- New York.
  • Street photography.
  • Women's rights -- Photographs.

Subject Places

  • Bronx (New York, N.Y.) -- Photographs.
  • Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.) -- Photographs.
  • Manhattan (New York, N.Y.) -- Photographs.
  • New York (N.Y.) -- Cemeteries
  • New York (N.Y.) -- Buildings, structures, etc.
  • New York (N.Y.) -- Social life and customs.
  • Queens (New York, N.Y.) -- Photographs.
  • Staten Island (New York, N.Y.) -- Photographs.

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Administrative Information

Access

Available by advance appointment only. To schedule an appointment, contact the Print Room Librarian at printroom@nyhistory.org.

Conditions Governing Use

Photocopying undertaken by staff only. Limited to 20 exposures of stable, unbound material per day. Application to use images from this collection for publication should be made in writing to: Department of Rights and Reproductions, The New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024-5194, rightsandrepro@nyhistory.org. Phone: (212) 873-3400 ext. 282.

Copyrights and other proprietary rights may subsist in individuals and entities other than the New-York Historical Society, in which case the patron is responsible for securing permission from those parties. For fuller information about rights and reproductions from N-YHS visit: https://www.nyhistory.org/about/rights-reproductions

Citation

This collection should be cited as: Eugene Gordon Photographs, PR 248, Department of Prints, Photographs, and Architectural Collections, New-York Historical Society.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift given in two parts: Eugene Gordon, 2005 & Miriam Gordon, 2008.

Processing Information

The initial gift of 2005 from Eugene Gordon was processed by Jenny Gotwals in June 2006, and a finding aid and Bobcat catalog record were published at that time. In 2010, the 2008 gift was processed into the collection and the revised finding aid published by Aaron Stempien, however, the Bobcat record was not updated at that time. In 2020, archivist Larry Weimer made minor edits to the finding aid and updated the Bobcat record to include reference to the 2008 gift and related content.

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Container List

Series I: Street Views

Subseries I.A. Bronx, 1984-1987

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 The Bronx
1984-1987

Subseries I.B. Brooklyn, 1984-1986

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Brighton Beach
1984
Box: 1 Folder : 9 Coney Island
1985-1986
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Greenpoint
1985-1986
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Miscellaneous Brooklyn
1986

Subseries I.C. Manhattan, 1982-1990

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 5 9th Avenue
1985-1990
Box: 1 Folder : 6 14th Street
1982-1986
Box: 1 Folder : 7 Central Park
1985
Box: 1 Folder : 8 Chinatown
1985-1988
Box: 1 Folder : 10 East Village
1984-1988
Box: 1 Folder : 11 Greenwich Village
1986-1988
Box: 1 Folder : 12 Harlem
1986-1988
Box: 1 Folder : 13 Lower East Side
1982-1990
Box: 1 Folder : 14 Midtown
1986-1989
Box: 2 Folder : 15 Times Square
1982-1988
Box: 2 Folder : 16 Times Square
1982-1988
Box: 2 Folder : 17 Union Square
1986
Box: 2 Folder : 18 Washington Square
1986-1987

Subseries I.D. Queens, 1982-1987

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 2 Folder : 19 Astoria
1985
Box: 2 Folder : 20 Flushing
1984-1987
Box: 2 Folder : 21 Forest Hills
1986
Box: 2 Folder : 22 Jackson Heights
1982-1986
Box: 2 Folder : 23 JFK Airport
1987
Box: 2 Folder : 24 Long Island City
1982-1987

Subseries I.E. Staten Island, 1989

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 2 Folder : 25 Fresh Kills Landfill
1989

Subseries I.F. Miscellaneous, 1985-1990

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 2 Folder : 26 Misc. Street Scenes
1985-1990
Box: 2 Folder : 27 Misc. Street Scenes
1985-1990

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Series II: Buildings, 1982-1990

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 3 Folder : 28 Lincoln Center
1984-1988
Box: 3 Folder : 29 New York Stock Exchange
1982-1986
Box: 3 Folder : 30 (Demolition of) Saint Peter's Church (53rd & Lexington)
1982-1985
Box: 3 Folder : 31 Sirovich Day Center
1982-1985
Box: 3 Folder : 32 United Nations
1982-1990
Box: 3 Folder : 33 Building Interiors
1985-1988

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Series III: Events, 1970, 1982-1989

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 3 Folder : 34 Anti-Apartheid Rally 9/13/1995
1985
Box: 3 Folder : 35 Comic Book Exhibit, Biltmore Hotel
1985
Box: 3 Folder : 36 Election Related
1989
Box: 3 Folder : 37 Hunter Mountain, Mountain Eagle Festival
1985-1986
Box: 3 Folder : 38 Lesbian & Gay Pride Parade
1988
Box: 3 Folder : 39 Saint Patrick's Day Parade
1986
Box: 3 Folder : 40 San Gennaro Festival, Little Italy
1982-1985
Box: 3 Folder : 41 Spanish Harlem 3 Kings (Epiphany) Parade
1988
Box: 3 Folder : 42 Misc. Parades
Box: 4 Folder : 43 TWA Strike, LaGuardia Airport
1986-1988
Box: 4 Folder : 44 Women's Strike for Equality
1970
Box: 4 Folder : 45 Misc. Events
1985-1989

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Series IV: Religious Groups, 1982-1986

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 4 Folder : 46 Hare Krishnas
1982-1985
Box: 4 Folder : 47 Sikhs, Flushing
1985
Box: 4 Folder : 48 Sikhs, Richmond Hill
1985
Box: 4 Folder : 49 Misc. Religious
1984-1986

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Series V: Subjects, 1982-1990

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 4 Folder : 50 Auctions
1986
Box: 4 Folder : 51 Construction
1985-1990
Box: 4 Folder : 52 Drug Related
1987-1988
Box: 4 Folder : 53 Food: Street Vendors & Meat Packing
1982-1986
Box: 4 Folder : 54 "The Homeless"
1986-1989
Box: 4 Folder : 55 Pet Cemetery
1986-1987
Box: 4 Folder : 56 Photos of Newspaper Clippings & Advertisements
1988
Box: 4 Folder : 57 Traffic Court
1986

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