Brooklyn Before: Photographs, 1971-1983

By Tom Robbins

13 ratings - 4.23* vote

Before Brooklyn rose to international fame there existed a vibrant borough of neighborhoods rich with connections and traditions. During the 1970s and 1980s, photographer Larry Racioppo, a South Brooklynite with roots three generations deep, recorded Brooklyn on the cusp of being the trendy borough we know today.In Brooklyn Before Racioppo lets us see the vitality of his native Brooklyn, stretching from historic Park Slope to the beginnings of Windsor Terrace and Sunset Park. His black and

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Book details

ebook, 0 pages
Published August 1st 2018 by Three Hills
ISBN
1501726773 (ISBN13:9781501726774)

Community Reviews

Janet

I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher ---

Before Brooklyn rose to international fame there existed a vibrant borough of neighborhoods rich with connections and traditions. During the 1970s and 1980s, photographer Larry Racioppo, a South Brooklynite with roots three generations deep, recorded Brooklyn on the cusp of being the trendy borough we know today.
In Brooklyn Before Racioppo lets us see the vitality of his native Brooklyn, stretching from historic Park Slope to the beginnings of Windsor Terrace and Sunset Park. His black and white photographs pull us deep into the community, stretching our memories back more than forty years and teasing out the long-lost recollections of life on the streets and in apartment homes. Racioppo has the fascinating ability to tell a story in one photograph and, because of his native bona fides, he depicts an intriguing set of true Brooklyn stories from the inside, in ways that an outsider simply cannot. On the pages of, Brooklyn Before the intimacy and roughness of life in a working-class community of Irish American, Italian American, and Puerto Rican families is shown with honesty and insight.
Racioppo’s 128 photographs are paired with essays from journalist Tom Robbins and art critic and curator Julia Van Haaften. Taken together, the images and words of Brooklyn Before return us to pre-gentrification Brooklyn and immerse us in a community defined by work, family, and ethnic ties.

I loved these photos although I kept thinking where is John Travolta in that white suit and where are Mr. Kotter and his students? (That is what I knew about Brooklyn in that time period BEFORE it was gentrified and hip and had an IKEA (!!!!!). Brooklyn has probably changed more than any other city in the world and these photos were a wonderful way to re-live the past and simpler, humbler times. The essays were cleverly written – overall a marvelous book.

Mel

I received an advance ebook copy and unfortunately many photographs were missing, so I'll evaluate as an essay: it provides a brief look into the history of photography, the development of street photography, and how photography as an art struggled to be taken seriously in the mid-late 20th century. There is also much nostalgia for what NYC was once and will never be again as it continues to evolve and gentrify all of our favorites parts. Racioppo's photos capture a moment of New York's history, when people were the city in a way that we'll never quite see in the same way thanks to technology. Such a great swatch of history, looking forward to seeing the complete print edition.

SundayAtDusk

Brooklyn has had the great fortune of having some glorious books, TV shows, movies and songs about it. All the ones I'm familiar with, however, were about Brooklyn before the '70s and '80s. This book covers the 1970s and early 1980s before Brooklyn became a trendy place to live. Obviously. I truly hate to be so negative about this photograph collection, but I can't help it. All I could think while looking at the photographs, one after another, is that only someone who lived in Brooklyn during that time period, and liked living there, could truly appreciate them. I found the photos dull and depressing, and the scenery downright shabby looking. By the time I got to the last photo, I just wanted to get out of the area.

(Note: I received a free e-ARC of this book from NetGalley and the publisher or author.)

Teresa

Brooklyn Before is one mans version of Brooklyn in the 1970's and early 80's. He tells about things going on around Brooklyn during that time period but even better he shows us through his photographs taken during the time. He basically goes street by street telling us his memories of the day, with some amazing photos. There are children playing in streets, friends watching tv, pictures of mailboxes and views of the city. This book is great for anyone who lived in Brooklyn, or if you just want to know what the town used to be like when it was just a small town. Over the years Brooklyn has grown into a major City gone are the mom and pop shops, and small town living. This book really is a blast form the past.

I received this book from the Author or Publisher via Netgalley.com to read and review.

Lisa

The 1970s in the NYC boroughs were a tough time. Life revolved around your neighbors, your neighborhood and religion. Larry Racioppo brilliantly captures the city life growing up in South Brooklyn with its mom and pop businesses, kids playing in vacant lots and Catholic feasts in the streets. His photos clearly reflect the love he has for a city now lost to gentrification.

Magdalena

I was living in Bensonhurst in the early 1970s, and I have such fond memories of it. Although not exactly the same neighborhoods are pictured in this book, the wonderful photos took me back to that vivid, exciting time.

Rebecca

Photographer Larry Racioppo captures the vibrancy of South Brooklyn in the 1970s in stunning black and white photographs; images include street religious festivals, store fronts, families on their front stoops, and kids playing in abandoned cars and street hockey games complete in NY Rangers t-shirts. The collection, which includes Racioppo's personal memories, showcases times gone by.

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