Lower Manhattan in 1980: A Photo Essay

In 1980, Ed Sijmons and LouiseLH of Amsterdam visited New York City and took hundreds of photos—and in 2015, delightfully out of the blue, Sijmons emailed, offering them to me to run here. The photos are from all over the city, so I grabbed the ones of local interest; they’re not of Tribeca, but they are of FiDi, Chinatown, the Village, and the Lower East Side. (Sijmons and LouiseLH are coming back to the city next year. Let’s hope they’re braced for the change.)

To see them all, go to Sijmons’s Flickr page and scroll down through the albums until you see “NYC 1980 part1” (and parts 2, 3, and 4). And these all get bigger if you click on them.



  1. Love these photos! Thank you for sharing.

  2. Enjoyed these pics, thanks.

  3. For someone like myself who lived in t he Chambers Street West Broadway aea from 1974 until 1986 these photos lack intimacy,

  4. Thanks for the photos. I moved downtown from The Village in 1975. I’d like to point out that we happily called our community Washington Market, before it was was called TriBeCa. It has a rich history, part of New York City’s transformation I read a great little book called 97 Orchard Street, published by the Tenement Museum – it’s a history of NYC based on food. It explains a lot about our NYC culture and where it came from – and what food was available back in the earliest days of NYC. Focused mostly on the lower East Side, it also talks about other areas including down here.

    Fascinating stories and some interesting references to the Washington Market down here. It includes some really shocking comments from the New York Times which didn’t hide it’s snobbery towards the poor and shopping for food on what is now called West Street. I still think of Tribeca as Washington Market –