Pictures of a grim and gritty New York City in the 1970s are truly amazing

Legendary photojournalist Jean-Pierre Laffont captured the changing times of New York City, covering everything from free love to the grim and gritty ’70s. His photographs always seem to tell more than one story. From Ku Klux Klan rallies in LA, Muhammad Ali sounding off, and the kissing competition at the first Gay Pride in New York… Laffont captured it all. Here’s a selection of his staggering black and white photography that runs the gamut of 20th-century US history.

Two men ‘flip the bird’ at the Central Park crowd that’s formed as they compete in the kissing contest during New York’s inaugural Gay Pride celebration on 28 June 1970.


A fist raised in protest from behind the bars at Toms Prison, Manhattan, on 28 September, 1972.


Muhammad Ali finger-pointing during the weigh-in before his second boxing match with Joe Frazier on 23 January, 1974, in New York. Ali won the fight and regained the title.


Two homeless men squat in the shadow of the recently completed World Trade Center in October, 1975. New York City was on the verge of bankruptcy and the World Trade Center sat largely vacant.


A Ku Klux Klan meeting in Dunham Springs, LA, December 1976.


Valerie Mayers shows off her biceps backstage before winning the Ms Empire State Competition in New York, 20 June 1981.


On Fox Street in the Bronx, an abandoned Plymouth Savoy becomes a jungle gym for kids to play on in the summer of 1966.


Presidential candidate and New York senator Robert Kennedy greets supporters on a campaign stop in Fort Greene, Brooklyn on 1 April, 1968.


A young couple kisses as the chaos of the crowd whirs around them with an estimated 600,000 rock fans on July 28, 1973. The Summer Jam at Watkins Glen was a 1973 rock festival which once received the Guinness Book of World Records entry for “Largest audience at a pop festival.”


A prostitute leans playfully on a cop car on 42nd Street Times Square, May, 1980. The police struggled to keep up with the onslaught of crime in the area, and at times seemed to be playing a friendly game of cat and mouse with the hookers.

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