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. A woman looks straight at camera with others people and trees in background.
    Equity

    Why Pittsburgh Is the Worst City for Black Women, in 6 Charts

    Pittsburgh is the worst place for black women to live in for just about every indicator of livability, says the city’s Gender Equity Commission.

  2. a photo of a full parking lot with a double rainbow over it
    Transportation

    Parking Reform Will Save the City

    Cities that require builders to provide off-street parking trigger more traffic, sprawl, and housing unaffordability. But we can break the vicious cycle.   

  3. a map comparing the sizes of several cities
    Maps

    The Commuting Principle That Shaped Urban History

    From ancient Rome to modern Atlanta, the shape of cities has been defined by the technologies that allow commuters to get to work in about 30 minutes.

  4. The Cincinnati skyline and river
    Life

    Maps Reveal Where the Creative Class Is Growing

    “The rise of the rest” may soon become a reality as once-lagging cities see growth of creative class employment.

  5. a photo of a security camera
    Equity

    Six U.S. Cities Make the List of Most Surveilled Places in the World

    Atlanta and Chicago top the list of U.S. cities that are watching their citizens with security cameras, but China leads the world when it comes to official surveillance.

×