As City Limits celebrates its 45th year covering New York City, a look back at photos from the archives.

A photo from the September 1992 issue of City Limits. The oroginal caption: “After the riots in Washington Heights, local youth organizers worked to transform anger into community change.” (Photo by Linda Rosier)


City Limits celebrates its 45th anniversary this year. For the last four-and-a-half decades, our reporters, editors and photographers have devoted their talents to telling the stories of New York: stories of tenants fighting for better housing conditions, small businesses fighting to stay open, advocates fighting for a government that betters serves its people, and many, many more.

As part of our anniversary celebration, we’ll be rolling out stories each month revisiting some of City Limits’ extensive archives. Below is a collection of photographs and images that have graced our pages — both print and virtual — over the last 45 years.

June/July 1976

Members of the Manhattan Valley Development Corporation, a nonprofit founded in 1968 to tackle housing issues in the Upper West Side neighborhood, along Central Park between West 100th and 110th streets.

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January 1977

The lead photo from a story about a housing plan from Manhattan Borough President Percy Sutton to create a new agency, called he New York City Department of Housing and Neighborhood Preservation, focused on preserving and repairing the city’s existing housing stock.

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August 1978

A block on New Jersey Avenue in East New York, where homes were part of the city’s Small Home Improvement Program (SHIP), which rehabbed unoccupied buildings that were then made available for purchase by low- and moderate-income families.

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February 1979

“Scavenging for wire amid the rubble of Charlotte Street,” reads the caption from a story about the future of the South Bronx street, made famous by President Jimmy Carter’s visit two years earlier.

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March 1980

Beverly Skinner, a tenant at a building in East Flatbush where residents were forced to vacant the property after a year-long battle to reclaim the neglected building from their landlord. (Photo by Marc Jahr)

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November 1981

Members of a food service training class hosted by the Mutual Aid Project, which focused on organizing social services without governmental funding, “concentrating instead on developing leadership and teaching local residents to work cooperatively outside of governmental structures.” (Photo by George Cohen)

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October 1982

Children on a stoop in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. Featured in a story about federal changes to welfare eligibility which made it harder for low-wage workers – like single parents – to qualify for supplemental benefits.

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February 1983

Demonstrators protest the closing of Sydenham Hospital in Harlem. (Photo by Laurie Peek). An op-ed from this issue slammed the Koch administration’s plan to convert the site to housing, despite community efforts to see it reopened as a medical facility. “Over one million dollars per year since 1980 has been spent to prevent viable health services from being placed in the building. It’s only use under this Koch-style detention has been the shooting of a Woody Allen movie inside it.”

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November 1984

The last day of business at Hall Place Books on East 7th Street on the Lower East Side, from “Open Season on Small Business Tenants.” (Photo by Val Orselli)

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July 1985

Members of East Harlem Youth Action, a program to put unemployed youth to work rehabilitating abandoned city-owned buildings. (Photo by Arlene Schulman)

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January 1986

The intersection of 37th Avenue and 82nd Street in Jackson Heights, Queens. (Photo by Doug Turetsky)

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May 1987


Benny Didomenic, owner of the Michaelangelo Restaurant at 351 Jay Street, where the city was planning to develop the Brooklyn MetroTech campus. “I work 17 hours a day and it took me 11 years to build up my future. I don’t sleep at night anymore.”

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December 1989

“The city’s zoning laws still bend and stretch to meet the needs of developers.” (Photo by Sian Roderick)

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January 1990


The photo from a 1990 story on “Medicaid mills” which “earn their name by rushing vast numbers of patients through brief exams and prescribing unnecessary drugs, x-rays and lab tests in exchange for kickbacks from nearby pharmacies and testing centers.” (Photo by Adam Anik)

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June/July 1991

Jon Orcutt of Transportation Alternatives protesting for a car-free Central Park. (Photo by Leo Sorel)

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August/September 1992

Original photo caption: Basketball courts in Washington Heights have been crowded out by school annexes. Among the only places to play are streets closed off to cars. (Photo by Suzanne Tobias)

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March 1993

Original caption: Flerida Ramirez (left) lives with three relatives in a cramped, one-bedroom apartment because her new Section Eight certificate had to be returned to the city before she could move into a renovated apartment. (Photo by Ana Aslan)

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May 1994

Original caption: ACT-UP protesters disrupted Mayor Giuliani’s town-hall meeting at All Soul’s Church on the Upper East Side last month. They were opposing proposed cutbacks to the Division of AIDS Services. (Photo by Gregory P. Mango)

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November 1995

Sister Patricia Moore of East Harlem Partnership for Change was cuffed by police during a civil disobedience action, where protestors sought to stop the installation of a 10-ton garbage compactor on East 110th Street. (Photo by China Jorrin)

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February 1996

Councilman Archie Spigner, who represented Southeast Queens and chaired the City Council’s housing committee, in his office. (Photo by Gregory P. Mango)

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February 1997

Original caption: Bronx Beep Freddie Ferrer has taken $160,000 from real estate interests in his bid to become mayor. (Photo by Eric Wolf)

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April 1998

Original caption: The need for park space for some Brooklyn waterfront neighborhoods is so great that Williamsburg residents have taken this abandoned site as their own – rotting piers and all. (Photo by Steve Mcauley)

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March 1999

Original caption: Parents like Isabel Colon hope to use part of the massive Bronx armory for a school. (Photo by Maya Alleruzzo)

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June 2000

John Liu, at 33, as he was campaigning to become the first Asian American to serve in the New York City Council.

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January 2001

The cover photo from a 2001 story about tenants in single room occupancy hotels (SROs) in Rockaway, Queens, and efforts to have such housing eliminated. “The tenants don’t pretend their rooms are perfect, but they’re not looking for luxury; they simply want an affordable, stable place to live,” the story reads. (Photo by Joshua Zuckerman)

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March 2002

Original caption: Ramapo Anchorage Camp for Inner-City Kids, Rhinebeck, NY (Photo by Mayita Mendez)

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January 2003

Original caption: A few days after Mayor Bloomberg announced cuts to the city’s capital budget, Broadway performer Paula Larke joined religious leaders in praying for him, and to end the shortage of affordable housing in the five boroughs. (Photo by Jonathan Hubschman)

November 2004

A Thanksgiving Day wedding in Chinatown. The American holiday had become known as “Chinatown’s unofficial wedding day,” since it was a date that all immigrant workers “can all share a day off.” (Photo by Xiaoqing Rong)

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July/August 2005

A scene from the Cycle Messenger World Championships, an international race for bike messengers that New York hosted that year. (Photo by Amy Bolger)

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Spring 2007

A graphic displaying the amount of built affordable housing and spending by the Bloomberg, Giuliani, Dinkins and Koch administrations.

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Spring 2008

Sneakers on a cable wire in the Bronx. (Photo by Jarrett Murphy)

Spring 2009

Christine Quinn and Councilman Robert Jackson, both from Manhattan, prepare for a general meeting in the NYC Council. (Photo by Jarrett Murphy)

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July 2010

A protest in Manhattan against banks which advocates say were refusing to modify mortgages for distressed homeowners. (Photo by Marc Fader)

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March 2011

A shot from the 2011 issue “Brooklyn: The Borough Behind the Brand.” (Photo by Marc Fader)

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August 2012

Original photo caption Pierre Joseph making a delivery in Manhattan. Attempts to lessen trucks’ impact on traffic and pollution, like scheduling deliveries at night, require changes in how receiving businesses and consumers operate. (Photo by Adi Talwar)

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December 2013

Stacy Seecharan started B & S Iron Works in the Bronx in 2003. From our 2013 series on the city’s programs for minority- and women-owned businesses.

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January 2014

Original caption: Incoming Borough President Eric Adams will try to put his stamp on an office that predecessor Marty Markowitz managed to turn into an effective platform for boosting Brooklyn. (Photo by Pearl Gabel)

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January 2015

Adi Talwar

Natasha Creese relaxing with family and friends after a Sunday lunch in 2015. She was featured in an article that year about the 112 percent rent hike she was facing at her Crown Heights building.

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February 2016

Adi Talwar

The Beit El-Maqdis Islamic Center in Sunset Park, just north of Bay Ridge, a neighborhood with a heavy Arab presence where Syrians might be relocated if they came to New York City in any numbers.

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October 2017

Adi Talwar

Halloween in the Norwood section of the Bronx in 2017.


September 2018

Adi Talwar

Among the top points of origin for LLC donations in the state is 420 Lexington Ave., from where more than half a million in donations has flowed since 2015.

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August 2019

ENY

Adi Talwar

Fernando Torres (68, facing camera) speaking with an old friend in front of 885 Knickerbocker Ave. Torres lived in Bushwick from 1969 to 2018. He moved to East New York due to rising cost of living in Bushwick.

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November 2020

Melissa Lopez, 22, in front of Bronx Documentary Center’s memorial installation honouring people who have died due to COVID-19. Lopez’s grandfather Jose Antonio Acevedo (seen in the background) was 84 when he died earlier this year in April. (Photo Adi Talwar)

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February 2021

Adi Talwar

A person getting vaccinated at the South Bronx Educational Campus Vaccine Hubs located on St Ann’s Avenue.

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