Kid with a Camera: Gun Hill Road, the Bronx, New York Summer 1980

IRT number 2 train approaches Gun Hill Road on the White Plains Road Line in the Bronx. Exposed in summer 1980 using a Leica IIIA with f2.0 Summitar lens (details unrecorded, or records lost).

This photo dates me. I found it looking through some scans for another project and it struck a chord, so I thought I’d put it up. In the 1970s and early 1980s, my grandparents lived at Co-op City in the Bronx, and every summer my brother Séan & I would travel to New York for a week-long visit. These trips provided me with great photo opportunities;  their apartment overlooked Amtrak’s former New Haven line connecting New Rochelle with Penn Station (Hell Gate Bridge route), and we would regularly explore the city. My grandfather had spent most of his life in New York and he enjoyed showing us around. This day we took a bus from Co-op city to the old IRT station at Gun Hill Road. Back then I always carried my antique Leica IIIA with Summitar lens. New York’s subway was a favorite subject and I made many photos of it, most of them not so good. I inherited this habit of photographing the subway from my father, who had been making photos of the subway system since the mid-1950s. I was only 13 when I made this image. I processed it in the sink using Kodak Microdol-X developer. I admit that my processing technique was about as raw as my imaging skills. Despite these flaws, I think I did a pretty good job of capturing the scene. That was 32 years ago! Seems like forever. I scanned it on my Epson V600 and cleaned up the scan in Photoshop. This is  full frame, although I adjusted the contrast slightly to make up for what I lost in processing.

One thought on “Kid with a Camera: Gun Hill Road, the Bronx, New York Summer 1980”

  1. I remember this station. Riding the el from Pelham bay down into Manhatten. There was colorful graffitti on the trains then. From time to time, I remember riding the trains with the wicker seats!

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