It’s catch-up time at the New York Times.
Start with the dozen slowbituaries the Times published last month in its launch of Overlooked, a sort of death notice do-over.
Since 1851, The New York Times has published thousands of obituaries: of heads of state, opera singers, the inventor of Stove Top stuffing and the namer of the Slinky. The vast majority chronicled the lives of men, mostly white ones.
Charlotte Brontë wrote “Jane Eyre”; Emily Warren Roeblingoversaw construction of the Brooklyn Bridge when her husband fell ill; Madhubala transfixed Bollywood; Ida B. Wells campaigned against lynching. Yet all of their deaths went unremarked in our pages, until now.
The Times has since added almost a dozen more. It’s a smart series that’s well worth reading.
Then yesterday came this attic-and-basement feature, Scenes Unseen: The Summer of ’78.
Melina Deltic’s helpful Inside the Times piece yesterday gave the background.
It was 1978, the year of a major newspaper strike in New York City, and the year eight Times photographers found interim employment in New York City’s parks department.
This Sunday’s special print section, “Scenes Unseen: The Summer of ’78,” features that era and the photographs taken in the parks. It touches on several trends that didn’t last: eight Times photographers’ brief stints shooting for the parks department; the bell-bottoms and tube socks of parkgoers; the decrepit state of city parks in the late 1970s; and the once burgeoning popularity of the tabloid format in the city’s newspapers.
As the redoubtable Jim Dwyer write in the introduction to the portfolio, “Six months ago, a conservancy official cleaning out an office came across two cardboard boxes that had been sitting around for decades. Inside were 2,924 color slides, pictures made in parks across New York City’s five boroughs late in the summer of 1978. No one had looked at them for 40 years.”
Good housekeeping, no?