Mitch O’Connell is a Chicago-based photographer. As a 17-year-old, he would travel to NYC to document the now long-lost treasures that Times Square once held in the 80s.
As an aspiring artist, starting at 17ish, I would travel to NY every once in awhile to show my illustrations. This was before websites, emails and electricity, so you had to get your work seen the old fashioned way, pestering. I’d crash at friends/relatives apartments and spend the day cold calling and pleading.
If I was lucky I’d get an actual face to face with an art director at a magazine or comic publisher, but more often than not I’d have to do the portfolio drop off where I’d get it there by 10am and pick it up after lunch. I only had the one (didn’t think to have multiples) so that left me plenty of free time to stroll the city, and what was more eye catching than 42nd Street? I wish I had taken 1000 more photos (and gone back at night) of the amazing buildings and people that could only be found there, but at least I got a handful of snapshots of the long gone cool decaying seediness of that bustling stretch of real estate! – Mitch O’Connell
To everyone else born after the 80s, I think this is a great opportunity to get a glimpse of what Times Square was like, before Disney set foot and changed it.