Portraits of a borough in transition.

Dinanda H. Nooney was born in Manhattan. But she captured the faces of 1970s Brooklyn like a local.

Nooney spent a couple of years learning the borough as a campaign volunteer and neighborhood surveyor. In 1978, she started to take portraits of the people she'd met. Often, they'd refer her to others to photograph. 

The collection, nearly 35 years old, sat in relative obscurity after a 1985 exhibit at the Brooklyn Historical Society. She donated the images to the New York Public Library 10 years later. The NYPL has since digitized them, allowing a much wider audience a unique look at life in the borough at the time.

Nooney passed away in 2004, missing out on the renewed interest in her work. Below, courtesy of the NYPL, a small sampling of the many streetscapes, homes, and residents she found:

"Jackson Court & Ft. Hamilton Parkway from Verrazano Bridge. Bay Ridge. January 21, 1978."
"Steve & Beatrice Roman. 6510 7th Ave. & 65th St., Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. August 14, 1978."
"Joe Roifer & friend. Apt. 9E, Turner Tower. 135 Eastern Parkway, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. June 20, 1978."
"Mrs. Howard's Nursery School. 150 Vernon Ave., Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. April 12, 1978."
"Joe & Pat Hynes. 10 Olive Walk, Breezy Point, Brooklyn. July 25, 1978."
"Fulton St., Brooklyn Heights. January 21, 1978."
"Family of Mr. & Mrs. Robert Minter. 853 Bushwick Ave., Bushwick, Brooklyn. April 1, 1979."
"Allen Wiener & sons. 331 President St., Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. July 8, 1978."
"Barbara Rothenberg. 135 Eastern Parkway, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. June 9, 1978."
"Lohman's former dept. store. Bedford & Sterling. January, 1978"
"Ernie & Lucy Bitzer. 300 Washington Ave., Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. March 31, 1978."
"Joe Roifer. Apt. 9E, Turner Tower. 135 Eastern Parkway, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. June 20, 1978."
"Jean & Helen Gazagnaire. 58 Tompkins Pl., Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. March 1, 1978."
"Pete & Nicki Sponakos & children. 5100 Ocean View, Coney Island, Brooklyn. August 22, 1978. "
"Russell McCombs. 315 Eastern Parkway, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. June 23, 1978."
"Narina Griffith home. 1319 President St., Crown Heights, Brooklyn. March 16, 1979. "
"The Wyckoff-Bennett Homestead. 1669 E. 22nd St., Flatbush, Brooklyn. May 2, 1978."
"Gargiulo's Restaurant. 2911 W. 15th St., Coney Island. February 1, 1978. Center table, Mr. Gargiulo, proprietor."
"Lafayette Presbyterian Church. 85 S. Oxford St., Brooklyn. March 9, 1978. Hank Prussing."
"Violet Falcone, daughter & grandson. 365 Mayfair Dr. South, Marine Basin, Brooklyn. August 24, 1978. "
"Bill Saari & son Ian. 104 Prospect Pl. Park Slope, Brooklyn. February 9, 1978. "

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. photo: A woman crosses an overpass above the 101 freeway in Los Angeles, California.
    Transportation

    Navigation Apps Changed the Politics of Traffic

    In an excerpt from the new book The Future of Transportation, CityLab’s Laura Bliss adds up the “price of anarchy” when it comes to traffic navigation apps.

  2. Three men wearing suits raise shovels full of dirt in front of an American flag.
    Equity

    How Cities and States Can Stop the Incentive Madness

    Economist Timothy Bartik explains why the public costs of tax incentives often outweigh the benefits, and describes a model business-incentive package.

  3. Design

    Reviving the Utopian Urban Dreams of Tony Garnier

    While little known outside of France, architect and city planner Tony Garnier (1869-1948) is as closely associated with Lyon as Antoni Gaudí is with Barcelona.

  4. photo: Swedish journalist Per Grankvist, AKA the "Scandinavian Malcolm Gladwell."
    Environment

    To Survive Climate Change, We’ll Need a Better Story

    Per Grankvist is “chief storyteller” for Sweden’s Viable Cities program. His job: communicate the realities of day-to-day living in a carbon-neutral world.

  5. People in the park at night in front of water
    Perspective

    Nairobi Should Rethink Its Colonialist Approach to Urban Design

    The road being built in Nairobi is for the rich. Even if it will no longer traverse the city’s major park, it’s not the future-thinking urban design that Kenya needs.

×