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See vintage photos of more than 3,000 NYC doors, thanks to the New York Public Library

Howard Halle

Doors. There's lot of them in New York, so if have a hard time wrapping you head around the project undertaken during the 1970s by a street photographer named Roy Colmer, we won't blame you. Back then, Colmer went out and captured 3,000 images of doorways he chose at random around Manhattan. These included entrances to banks, apartment buildings, theaters, sex shopsChinese takeout joints and abandoned storefronts, all of them testaments of a sort to the gritty texture of city life in the days when President Gerald Ford told New York to drop dead, and everything seemed to unravel (though the rents weren't too damn high; quite cheap, in fact). Colmer's series, which took him a year to make, is now in the collection of the New York Public Library, which recently put up a map on their website, plotting the places where Colmer took his door pictures. Created by NYPL Photography Specialist David Lowe, the map doesn't provide the exact location of each door, nor the order in which Colmer took them in. But it does demonstrate the scale of his achievement, and also reminds you that back in pre-Disneyfied New York, even doors could be interesting. 



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