Harlem’s Painted Lady: 65 East 125th Street

Camilo Jose Vergara: Invincible Cities

Venice in Harlem: 1908 Adam Clayron Powell Blvd.

Invincible Cities

Since 1977, Camilo Jose Vergara has been using photography to document the the transformation of urban landscapes in America. He describes his approach as interdisciplinary, using techniques from fields that include sociology, architecture, photography, urban planning, history and anthropology. Vergara has focused upon the gradual erosion of urban neighborhoods through neglect and abandonment, often photographing the same structures repeatedly over decades in order to capture this process of of urban decay. The photography presented here is from Vergara’s project entitled Invincible Cities.

65 East 125th Street: 1977

65 East 125th Street: 1980

65 East 125th Street: 1980

65 East 125th Street: 1980

65 East 125th Street: 1981

65 East 125th Street: 1988

65 East 125th Street: 1990

65 East 125th Street: 1994

65 East 125th Street: 1995

65 East 125th Street: 1997

65 East 125th Street: 1998

65 East 125th Street: 2001

65 East 125th Street: 2001

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35 Responses to “Harlem’s Painted Lady: 65 East 125th Street”

  1. anon Says:

    It’s interesting that this address acquired an upper story between 2001 and 2006. Someone put a lot of money into it even though the rest of the block looks like a war zone.

    Here’s what it looks like today from Google Street View:

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&q=65+East+125th+Street,+new+york&sll=40.805825,-73.939925&sspn=0.001397,0.001523&ie=UTF8&t=h&om=1&layer=c&cbll=40.805432,-73.939911&cbp=2,391.503148894598,0.5,0&ll=40.811065,-73.938954&spn=0.011174,0.018797&z=16

  2. majoritywhip Says:

    The latter pic must be next to Clinton’s office.

    hehe had to say it

  3. anon Says:

    I love the doors in the 70s.

  4. Funny Shit Says:

    Agreed, the 70’s doors are kick ass. Too bad I never go above 34th Street or else i’d actually go see it.

  5. Change over time- Harlem and the Wayback Machine « TechFold Says:

    […] Camilo Jose Vergara: Invincible Cities […]

  6. melissa Says:

    This is actually a very historic neighborhood filled with a rich heritage and culture. It’s interesting that it went from small businesses to big franchises…

  7. Dr. X. Says:

    Great set It was jarring… and they replaced that older sidewalk?

  8. disembedded Says:

    Yep..that’s progress!

  9. Looking Says:

    Sleepy’s The Mattress Professionals is a “big franchise?” Uh, no, still small bz.

  10. Top Posts « WordPress.com Says:

    […] Harlem’s Painted Lady: 65 East 125th Street Camilo Jose Vergara: Invincible Cities [image] Invincible Cities Since 1977, Camilo Jose Vergara has been using […] […]

  11. Jim d'Esterhazy Says:

    As a native New Yorker exiled in Florida, it’s interesting, but sad, to have the deterioration documented. On a recent trip back to my old neighborhood, the decline was similar, but to my amazement there was one street – for at least a four block stretch- that had remained the same since the 60’s. I was amazed and curious. What imunity did those four blocks have that shielded them from the decay all around them? It would be interesting to find out.

  12. Admin Says:

    I posted this to my blog yesterday and it has also received a positive response from my readers. Great retrospective.

  13. Tim Says:

    Uh, YES…

    “In 2006, Sleepy’s opened its 400th store and is now a household name in 7 states. What started as a small mattress store in 1931, is now the largest mattress chain in America and 4 generations, Louis, Harry, David, Stuart and Julian carrying on the same values.

    Today Sleepy’s employs over 1,900 employees across 8 states.”

    Interesting study

  14. john-dallas Says:

    this is a zoning issue

    look at the businesses that were put in there

  15. raincoaster Says:

    It’s a damn shame. We’ve got some really restrictive codes here in Vancouver or Chinatown would long since have been torn down and replaced with steel box superstores. We have a Costco, but we made them put it underground (well, what’s the difference, really, once you’re inside?). There are old gambling clubs, etc right across the street from a huge new development, and we’re all worried the developers will get the go-ahead to replace them with colourless condos. They said they were redeveloping the historic Woodwards’ Department Store building, and instead they blew it up. I really must find the home addresses of those responsible and publish them on the blog.

    Great post, great project, great loss.

  16. Klaatube Says:

    Awesome. Reminds me when I was a kid my nbhd had a mom and pop shop with a real soda fountain, the best cheeseburgers you ever had, and penny candy. Good times, and now it’s a lousy pizza shop. Nobody remembers, and I don’t even try to explain it anymore. I visited their graves, and wept.

  17. Cody Says:

    That place has definitely seen better times. And worse. Reminds me of Pioneer Square in Seattle. Imagine taking pictures of that in the ’60s or ’70s. You probably would have gotten your camera stolen before you could do anything with it.

  18. stratos Says:

    charming, pavements, doors and ambience.

  19. Doug Says:

    I wonder if there are similar projects in other cities and if bringing them together would show how different communities deal with (or not) change over time. This one reminds me of the “Fabulous Ruins of Detroit” http://www.detroityes.com/toc.htm

  20. inirudebwoy Says:

    Very good photos. So pretty and nice looking little stores. What a pity that they put sleepys in there.

  21. Al Says:

    Why is it a shame that they put a mattress store there? People need mattresses. Not “funky” enough?

  22. Check this out! « Thought Provoked Says:

    […] Check this out! June 9, 2007 Posted by Rebekah in New York Life, Art. trackback Harlem’s Painted Lady […]

  23. rebsue1 Says:

    this is a short film the way it flips and the
    colorful-socio-anthropological art images tell the story

    it’s amazingly good on many levels

  24. lindaberry Says:

    I’m a 23 year veteran of NYC, now residing in Hawaii. I love your series. What a story it tells. Wish I had done the same series at 549 East 12th Street.
    Thanks for glimpse of that journey!
    Linda Berry
    http://www.BraveheartWomen.com/linda

  25. disembedded Says:

    Hi Linda,

    Thanks so very much for your comments. They make me wish that someone had done something like this about my old place in the West Village at 113 Christopher Street. Three dark and teeny rooms, with a tub in the kitchen sink. But the rent was $35.00 per month. That’s history!!

  26. blemmy Says:

    Very original.

    Blemmy.com,
    the site for New Yorkers

  27. lindaberry Says:

    disembedded – I’m guessin you couldn’t touch 113 Christopher for 100 times that now! My “tub in the kitchen
    palace” was on West 24th st between 6th and 7th, and it’s a $500,000 peice of real estate now! My rental payment in the late 70s wouldn’t put a dent in the current maitenance! Ah! Life in the City! Be Well – Live Abundantly!
    http://www.BraveheartWomen.com/linda

  28. disembedded Says:

    ***sniffling and weeping***

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  30. supermannino Says:

    Wow. Inspires me to want to do something like that here where I live. I’ll talk to my wife (the photographer) about it. I can’t imagine what the things of my past look like now. I’m sure it’s all a whole lot smaller.

  31. Jasper Says:

    Looks like the second story was added in 2001, by sleepy’s mattresses or a developer that then sold/rented to them, probably at the same time that the split was undone.

    The very last 2001 picture already has the second story visible, if you look very carefully, and with reference to the stuff on neighbouring buldings for height reference.

  32. The More Than Meets The Eyes Linkdump at The End of Dave Says:

    […] 65 East 125th Street: 30 years in Pictures. […]

  33. Crazyfingers Says:

    That is impressive art if I have ever seen it. 70s Yoosah, Yoosah, Yoosah..

  34. Et Cetera: Publick and Privat Curiosities Harlem’s Painted Lady: 65 East 125th Street « « Social Orb Says:

    […] Et Cetera: Publick and Privat Curiosities Harlem’s Painted Lady: 65 East 125th Street « Et Cetera: Publick and Privat Curiosities Harlem’s Painted Lady: 65 East 125th Street « […]


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