From Rian Dundon’s article at TIMELINE:
New York City in the 1980s. Back in the day. The die-hard era. Much about that decade gets romanticized. And we hear you: the city was realer pre-Giuliani, pre-Dinkins. Or maybe just before the 20th century turned everyone soft.
When photographer Brian Young arrived in New York in 1984, the city was still shaking from the previous decade’s fiscal crisis. Streets were littered with burned out cars and soot-stained buildings. Muggings were a way of life. The subway system, once heralded as the world’s largest, was sputtering after two decades of neglect. Service reliability was at a tenth of where it was in the 60s, and budgetary woes had led to closed lines, deferred maintenance, and a shortage of repairmen. “It was a bleak time; it was Gotham,” writes Young in the introduction to his 2016 book, ‘The Train, NYC 1984.’