Title: Martha Cooper, Street Play
Dimensions: 23.5 x 21 x 1.1 cm. / 9.2 x 8.3 x 0.4 inch.
Street Play, a captivating collection of Martha Cooper’s photographs from the late 70s, shows the creative and indominable spirit of New York City kids as they turn their inhospitable environment into an adventure playground.
Martha Coopers photos take us through the Alphabet City of the late 70s as the area was about to undergo extensive urban renewal process that is still continuing today. At the time, the neighborhood had more than its share of drug dealers and petty criminals, and the landscape seemed ugly and forbidding. But to the children who grew up there, the abandoned buildings and rubble-strewn lots made perfect playgrounds, providing raw materials and open space for unsupervised play. A crumbling tenement housed a secret clubhouse, rooftops became private aviaries, and a pile of trash might be a source for treasure.
Martha Cooper at www.mcny.org : “The city’s poorest neighborhoods had the richest street life and my favorite location was Alphabet City, north of Houston Street between Avenue A and D. Back in the 70s the area was undergoing extensive urban renewal…. To an adult’s eye the area was ugly and forbidding, but to a child the abandoned buildings and rubble strewn lots made perfect playgrounds, providing raw material and open space for improvised play. A crumbling tenement became a secret clubhouse, a rooftop became a private aviary, and a pile of trash might be a source for treasure.”- www.mcny.org