PHOTOGRAPHY BY TOM BIANCHI
10 Polaroids from Tom Bianchi’s time in New York City
Featured in his latest book, 63 E 9th Street: NYC Polaroids 1975–1983
I was about 25 when I discovered that a walk down Christopher Street in Manhattan was as cruisy as a walk down the beach in the Pines. In the early 1970s, as my generation was coming out loud and proud, the cityscape provided a fresh venue for our frequently manic celebration.
Most of us came from a sexually repressed, homophobic place — a place America was and, too often, still is. But New York’s streets, bars and clubs provided a safe space for us to connect with like-minded libido-driven souls. Day or night, my Ninth Street apartment existed as a stage designed for play. We created ourselves as one another’s fantasies.
Anxious as we were to get into each other’s pants, we remained ever vigilant for the guy we hoped might return our gaze. And these were paradoxical years. We were militant young men outside, fragile boys inside. But from time to time — for a while, at least — we found love in each other’s arms. That’s why I always kept fresh flowers about.