New York/Fordham Road 1977


Fordham Road and the Grand Concourse, The Bronx, 1977 — © Brian Rose

As I was scanning my 35mm black and white negatives from 1977 I came across a series of images that I could not locate in the city, at least at first. I remember roaming the five boroughs with my camera, sometimes taking the subway to the end of the line, with no particular goal in mind other than satisfying my curiosity.

Looking at the image above, I was not sure where it was — and I could not remember ever taking it. I knew it was not Manhattan because of the relatively low buildings and the fact that the street was passing underneath my position behind a balustrade and a row of telephone booths. That doesn’t happen often in Manhattan. But having spent a lot of time in the Bronx the past few years going to my son’s basketball and baseball games, I knew it had to somewhere along the Grand Concourse, the broad boulevard that runs through the center of the borough.


Fordham Road, The Bronx, 1977 — © Brian Rose

Bisecting the Concourse is Fordham Road, a busy shopping street that for a half mile or so defines the southern edge of the Fordham University campus. In 1977 it was a visually cacophonous place, and it still is today. The creeping blight, the fires and abandonment, of the South Bronx never made it up to Fordham Road though it threatened.

The RKO Fordham Theatre was showing Star Wars, the cultural touchstone that premiered in 1977. The theater was demolished years ago and replaced by a nondescript retail building. And back then, there were still stores that specialized in “hosiery.”


Fordham Road and the Grand Concourse, The Bronx, 1977 — © Brian Rose

Alexander’s was a big discount department store that dominated the corner of Fordham Road and the Grand Concourse. The building is still there, but divided up into smaller retail outlets. That’s a Checker Cab to the left and Ford Mustang to the right.


Fordham Road, 1977 — © Brian Rose

Hair on Face Removed Forever. We Dissolve the Roots. These buildings are still there, but the Dollar Savings Bank is now an Apple Bank, and the parapet decorations to the right have either been stripped off or are obscured by new cladding.


Fordham Road/Grand Concourse area, The Bronx, 1977 — © Brian Rose


The Grand Concourse, The Bronx, 1977 — © Brian Rose

I was able to locate this photograph by reversing it in Photoshop and identifying the Ascot Theater across the street. It was demolished in 2016.


The Grand Concourse, The Bronx, 1977 — © Brian Rose

This one was hard to find, but I eventually located a small triangular park on Google street view at 181 Street and the Grand Concourse. It’s still scruffy looking, but there are now a half dozen trees behind the benches.

4 thoughts on “New York/Fordham Road 1977

  1. Linda Jacobs

    Thank you for posting this! This was my old neighborhood… including the benches in “Triangle Park” on Anthony Avenue, 181st St and the Grand Concourse.

  2. Amy Davis

    Fascinating views, good photos. Particularly happy to see you documented two theaters – but sad to learn they are gone. Weird to know that one’s old photos are now officially “historic.”

  3. Brian Rose

    Thanks Amy. Imagine what it’s like showing your pictures to a young photographer and saying, “Here is a project I’ve been working on for 40 years.” Kind of hard to relate to. But ultimately it’s about recognizing what is valuable in the present — which is not always obvious — and letting history take care of itself.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *