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It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that New York City in the late '70s and early '80s was defined by disco culture. The decade is best remembered for the classic images of the hottest models, artists, and scenesters swanning around Studio 54, partying late into the night. But, while the Big Apple was becoming the apex of celebrity and style, it was also rotting at the core from poverty, corruption, and soaring crime rates. The Great Blackout of 1977 further highlighted this disparity, and prompted photographer Meryl Meisler to start capturing the grim side of the city through her own lens.
Her new book, A Tale of Two Cities: Disco Era Bushwick, is a collection of images that documented the sights of Meisler's daily commute when she was a public school teacher in Bushwick. Back then, the neighborhood was a far cry from the hipster enclave we've grown accustomed to today, with many of its buildings in desolate ruins. With her point-and-shoot, Meisler juxtaposed these grim vignettes with the glitzy party snaps she accumulated as a nightlife fixture in her 20s. Ahead, get a glimpse at just how vastly different this city can be from block to block, day to night.