Viewfinder | eastvillagedenizen

The community contributor known as eastvillagedenizen discusses three decades of taking photos in the neighborhood.

East 9th Street tenement mural.

“The East Village was a different world when I first encountered it 48 years ago. Rents were cheap (really cheap), there were great bars (Stanley’s and The Annex on Avenue B, Rocky’s across the Broadway divide), double features at the Charles movie theater on Avenue B. St. Marks Place didn’t have souvenir shops for tourists (no tourists). It had Stan Brakhage and Kuchar brothers movies (they were called “underground” films) and jazz, and rock ‘n’ roll.”

Village East cinema, 1977.

“I didn’t pick up a camera until the late 1970s, and that lasted only a few years. There aren’t many pictures left from then, but this is one – Second Avenue in 1977. The Village East Cinema used to be a Loew’s movie palace in the 50’s and 60’s. Not long after this picture was taken it became, for a few years, the unforgettable Fillmore East.”

Stefan Lutak, 1920-2009, R.I.P.

“One of those bars from the 1960’s was the Holiday Cocktail Lounge, presided over by a true East Village character, Stefan Lutak, who died in 2009 shortly after this photo was taken. I regret I didn’t know the place back then (despite the fact it was intimidating – old men downing shots at 8 a.m.).”

St. Marks Place bar, not 1966.

“Another East Village bar that hasn’t changed over the decades. This is not 1966, it’s 2010; you can tell because no one is smoking a cigarette.”

Q60 bus on Queensborough Bridge.

“Apology, this is a non-East Village shot. It took the whole ride from Queens to Manhattan to capture this image properly.”

East 9th Street tenement mural.

“There are dozens of outdoor murals throughout the East Village, especially in Alphabet City, because there are a lot of terrific artists in the neighborhood. This is East Ninth Street across from Veselka, which has its own mural.”

Handsome cop protects St. Marks Place.

“One evening this man was posing on St. Marks Place. He may not even be N.Y.P.D.; he could be a private security guard.”

Snow: Union Square.

“Union Square during the big snow of winter 2009. It’s an eerie world when New York City is blanketed in snow. For one thing it is quieter.”

Great Jones Street firehouse.

“My action photo. A firefighter at the Great Jones Street station house racing to his truck when the alarm sounds.”

A drink to the New Year.

“East Village bar. I guess the Cosmopolitan looks inviting or perhaps it’s ‘Sex and the City’ nostalgia. Maybe I spend too much time in bars.”

eastvillagedenizen is a community contributor to The Local East Village.