Saturday, December 3, 2016

NEW ! NY 1990's " PHOTO OF THE MONTH" / DECEMBER 2016 / TUPAC SHAKUR'S RIP MURAL (East Houston Street)

Each month, the New York in the 1990's Photo Archives invite you to discover stories and facts 
about a specific image from the collection
Where it was taken, on what occasion, why, thoughts about a specific area, 
event or moment of New York City life in the 1990's.

All your comments, questions, thoughts and 90's memories are welcome!
Please share!


It is now East Houston Street’s turn to go through a spectacular transformation with new condos and glass towers sprouting all along its sidewalks, from Broadway all the way to the Manhattan Bridge. The upcoming "Essex Crossings" will further the massive clean up and never ending gentrification of the Bowery with more clothing stores, sports clubs, hip hotels, restaurants, cafes and bars. 
The old gas stations are now all gone and the last iconic Mom and Pop’s stores of the area are vanishing,

In the early 1990’s, this portion of Houston street was the virtual frontier between the already changing/gentrifying East Village and the still pretty gritty lower east side. Artists and pre-hipsters were living in storefronts and a few bars were starting to open with success but you still had to know where you were going to avoid any unpleasant encounters.

One of East Houston’s treats was the short stretch where local graffiti artist Chico (famous in the East Village and LES for his RIP and store murals) had taken over the vacant buildings walls. Street and RIP portraits, Chico’s style, of celebrities as diverse as Tupac Shakur, Mike Tyson (« If you can’t beat them, bite them » after his memorable fight against E. Holyfield!), Lady Di or Joe Camel, the long gone cartoonish character with his « camel » cool and flair.

This excerpt of the beginning of Richard Price’s great novel Lush Life, perfectly depicts driving around Clinton, Delancey and Eldridge street, enumerating the newly opened nightspots, the local businesses and historical buildings and of course Chico’s murals in the mid-nineties:
« Iglesia, matzo shop, corner. Bollywood, Buddha, botanica, corner.  Bling Shop, barbershop, car service, corner. Bar, school, bar, school, People’s Park, corner. Tyson Mural, Celia Cruz Mural, Lady Di mural, corner ».

December’s photo of the month is Chico’s tribute to rap artist Tupac Shakur. It was painted only a few days after the rapper’s death and it's one of the most sought after images on my site. Today, I am happy to be able to share with you a few shots of this iconic (and now gone) New York City mural.

Please also see many other murals by Chico and other East Village and Lower East side graffiti artists in the 90’s:

      OCTOBER 2016
The Lost Diner (Terminal Diner) 1995

I recently learned that the Empire diner in Chelsea will be back in business soon. I guess this is great news for all those (like myself) who saw the slow disapearance of all of Manhattan's classic diners. Before it closed, the Empire had become an expensive restaurant, a bit far from the American diner's tradition. I bet that it will now be a luxury and/or gourmet restaurant catering to Chelsea's hip crowd...but at least it still exists and its owners have obviously understood the value of such a place as a real New York landmark.
In the mid-90's, there were a few diners left in Manhattan, trying to survive in a city that had already started to change.
The Jones diner on Lafayette actually showed an amazing resistance to the transformation of this very trendy area. It was small and greasy but a real fixture of NoHo area when Lafayette street was still a kind of frontier between the already super-gentrified Soho and the still kind of gritty (but already changing) East Village. A bit more west was another New Yorkers favorite: The Moondance with its poetic name and its moon crest spinning night and day above the entrance door. A diner that was dismantled to be rebuilt in Providence, Rhode Isalnd, but it finally closed in 2012.
But it's probably along the West side that one could find some of the prettiest exemples of this classic architecture. The Cheyenne was definitly a classic New York place you could find in touristic guides and the untouched Market Diner (were Sinatra used to meet with his mafia friends in the good old times), was hosting cool parties at night. The Market Diner is actually one of the latest casualties of the current real estate frenzy in New York. It was recently destroyed and will be replaced by guess what ? A big glass tower !
Some other diners, smaller and not as spectacular located closer to the West side highway had been forgotten but were still standing. The River Diner with its deep blue store front and of course the Lost Diner that I had the chance to discover while exploring the area. It's obvioulsly its real classic look that caught my attention and of course its wonderful name ! I thought that it could be perfect as a location for a David Lynch film. A name that was fairly recent at the time since a new team had taken it over and was trying to give back its former deco glory. Originaly named The Terminal Diner, it was finaly totaly abandoned in 2006 and slowly became a ruin.
As I have written in my post dedicated to New York's diners, I shot a lot of images of this diner as well as of all the others for an article (which was not published) for french magazine Telerama. Unfortunately these images were never returned to me by its editor Pierre Murat. I was fortunate enough to find a second choice in my archives in order to keep a trace of these old diners and I am happy to able to share these photographs with you today.



Indian Larry, Alphabet City, Winter 1996

A little bit of fresh air for the last days of a hot summer !

Winter 1996 is remembered for its incredible blizzard and snowstorm, which literally paralyzed Manhattan for a few days. A wonderful opportunity for photographers to walk around the city to capture instants where everything feels still and quiet in the bright white wonderland. 
Living in the East Village at the time (12th/Ave.A), I went for a stroll this early Sunday morning in Alphabet City and the Lower East Side to witness a total very different vibe of the whole area 
Bright light and sky, unusual silence, some skiers in the middle of the empty streets. Everything buried under the thick snow.

Somewhere near Avenue C, my attention was caught by the roaring sound of motorcycles. At the end of the block, some tough looking guys where riding bikes in the snow, laughing and acting crazy, drinking and smoking. One of them skidding on the snow with a dirt bike, only wearing a pair of shorts despite the cold and showing tattoos on his chest and arms. I snapped a couple of pictures.

It's only a couple of years ago when the internet site EV Grieve wrote a nice review of my blog with a selection of my pictures that I had the surprise to learn who was that crazy looking dude!
The one and only Indian Larry, bike builder, stunt rider and biker, notorious Alphabet city resident and a TV show host. I learned that he died in 2004 from injuries due to an accident while performing in a bike show.
He was known in the neighborhood as Indian Larry because of the chopped Indian motorcycle he used to ride in the streets of New York City.

RIP Indian Larry! It was great crossing your path on that 90's winter day!


Monday, November 14, 2016



Exclusive high quality signed prints 


Prompt order processing and worldwide shipping
(Secured Paypal transaction)
Standards prints sizes and custom formats (upon request)
- 297 x 210 mm / 11,7 x 8,2 in. (french A4)
- 297 x 420 mm / 11,7 x 16,5 in. 
(french A3 or A3 + if paper's in stock !)
- 329 x 423 mm / 13 x 19 in.

The making of a series of 17 large black and white custom prints for the Highline Hotel in Chelsea.
(Hahnemühle "William Turner" paper)

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Halloween 1993 - West Village "after parade street party" - SPECIAL REPOST !

The best part of the Halloween parade in NY is always the wild street party that takes place afterwards in the streets of Greenwich Village. In 1993, people went crazy until the morning hours...That night, I had the chance to shoot a couple of rolls of black and white film while having fun...

Please also see: 

Wigstock 1993 at Tompkins Square Park 

Wigstock 1992

Gay Pride 1993 and 1997

Sunday, September 11, 2016


The "Different Views " series are an attempt to offer a different photographic perspective of famous New York landmarks. Through a selection of images from the archives, the landmark is shown fully integrated in its urban environment. An alternative to the classic touristic landmark representation.

Please also see:

Different Views Part 1 - Flatiron Building

Different views Part 3 - Empire State Building 

This postcard was sent to me from NYC by my parents in the summer of 1977 as I was in vacations in the south of France. It is probably part of the many things that made me want to move to New York once I became old enough!