Vintage New York City Dive Bar Photos

Vintage New York City Dive Bar Photos

Infamous New York City Dive Bar As Seen from a Bartender’s Point of View

Old Photos – 1970’s Times Square Pictures of Pimps, Prostitutes, Tourists, Drag Queens and Homeless

Terminal Bar Photos - 1970s New York - Sheldon Nadelman

Terminal Bar was once known as one of the roughest bars in New York City. Situated across the street from the Port Authority Bus Station and near Times Square, the bar was frequented by customers of all types. Thrill-seeking tourists, prostitutes and pimps, midtown office men and women, and drag queens were all regular patrons to frequent the notorious establishment.

In 1972 a young bartender, Sheldon Nadleman, worked at the bar his father-in-law owned and decided it would be interesting to photo document his customers. This started a 10-year-span of photography that ran up until the bar shut down in 1982. “After 10 years I had a couple thousand portraits. It was simple as that. I was on a mission—don’t ask me why,” Nadleman later said. Sheldon liked to go beyond simply pouring drinks for his customers. He tried to get to know them on a personal level. And, he liked to take their portraits. “After 10 years I had a couple thousand portraits. It was simple as that. I was on a mission—don’t ask me why,” he said.

Historic Terminal Bar as seen from the Port Authority - 1981 - Sheldon Nadelman

Historic Terminal Bar as seen from the Port Authority – 1981. (Sheldon Nadelman)

Nadelman’s black and white photos captured a wide assortment of characters, the surrounding neighborhood, and occasionally, the Terminal Bar itself.

“In the beginning it was just the regulars and they were willing and able to be photographed,” Nadelman said in an interview. “Then there were just faces that came in and I knew I wouldn’t see them again. But they looked interesting. I’d say 90 percent of the people were willing to be photographed.”

Working Girl near Terminal Bar - New York City - 1970s

A working girl is seen here hanging out near Terminal Bar. Times Square area, New York City – 1970s. (Sheldon Nadelman)

Sitting dormant for many years, Sheldon’s grown son, Stefan, came across the collection in the early 2000s. Stefan realized the photos were an important historical artifact of New York City’s past and began scanning, sorting and printing his father’s negatives. The photos you see on this page are just a small portion of the collection, now offered in a book – Terminal Bar – from Princeton Architectural Press, as well as a documentary created by Stefan that won several awards, including the 2003 Sundance Jury Prize.

Duchess - Drank Rum and Coke - 1973 - Terminal Bar

A customer named “Duchess” – Terminal Bar – 1973. Duchess drank Rum and Coke. (Sheldon Nadelman)

Terminal Bar customer portrait - 1975 - Sheldon Nadelman

Unidentified Terminal Bar customer – 1975. (Sheldon Nadleman)

Shep - 1974 - Terminal Bar customer - Sheldon Nadelman)

A customer named “Shep” is photographed here wearing a pull-tab hat. Terminal Bar, New York, 1974. (Sheldon Nadelman)

Terminal Bar patrons - New York - 1970s

Inside Terminal Bar – 1970s. (Sheldon Nadelman)

Ruth Brown - 1977 - Terminal Bar customer portrait

Ruth Brown – 1977 Terminal Bar customer portrait by Sheldon Nadelman.

Woman Selling Newspaper - Outside Terminal Bar - 1970s

A woman selling newspapers outside Terminal Bar. New York City, Times Square area – 1970s. (Sheldon Nadelman)

The Greek - 1974 - Terminal Bar customer - Sheldon Nadelman

1974 Terminal Bar customer “The Greek.” (Sheldon Nadelman)

Stopless Dancing Sign - Near Terminal Bar - New York City - 1970s

“Stopless Dancing” sign outside Terminal Bar – 1970s New York City. (Sheldon Nadelman)

Man Sleeping in a Trash Can - Terminal Bar - New York

Man sleeping in a trash can outside Terminal Bar. New York City – 1970s. (Sheldon Nadelman)

Inside Terminal Bar - 1970s

Woman on the Streets outside Terminal Bar - 1970s

Woman on the streets outside Terminal Bar. Times Square area, New York City, 1970s. (Sheldon Nadelman)

Inside Terminal Bar - New York 1970s

Patrons and a bartender inside Terminal Bar – 1970s. (Sheldon Nadelman)

Paul - 1981 - Terminal Bar

Bartender “Paul” is shown here pouring drinks at Terminal Bar – 1981. (Sheldon Nadelman)

Working Girls outside Terminal Bar - 1970s New York

Working girls are seen here outside Terminal Bar in New York City – 1970s. (Sheldon Nadelman)

(All Photos © Copyright Sheldon Nadelman)


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December 17, 2018 / by / in

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