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See New York City’s East Village Then And Now

The scruffy East Village of 30 years ago stars in a Tumblr that will make you nostalgic for Mars Bar (and your youth).

Here’s your gritty New York City of yesteryear porn of the day: Photographer Daniel Root has resurrected pictures he took 30 years ago of the East Village. Root, who has lived in the neighborhood for decades, went back and photographed the locations again and is posting the “before and after” shots on this Tumblr. He has also hung the old photos next to the new locales to illustrate just how much things have changed.

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“When you’re living in a place, it doesn’t really jump out at you that it’s changed that much, because obviously it’s a gradual change,” he told the local blog Bedford and Bowery.
Root originally took the photos for a friend’s book about “the changing East Village,” which ended up falling through.


As expected, things look different, mostly. There are a few shots of places that (miraculously) haven’t changed since 1984. Especially poignant shots include a former housing development turned into a corner deli; a picture of Madonna on St. Mark’s Place; and a swing set in an abandoned lot that’s now the site of a fancy apartment building. Root’s photos also show the demise of many East Village murals, replaced by pristine facades.

“One thing that really struck me as I looked at it is how clean and neat and orderly everything looks today compared to 1984,” Root added. “For the most part everything is just so spiffed up.”

About the author

Rebecca Greenfield is a former Fast Company staff writer. She was previously a staff writer at The Atlantic Wire, where she focused on technology news.

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