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PHOTOS: The Grime and Glam of Mid-1970s New York

PHOTOS: The Grime and Glam of Mid-1970s New York


When he was very, very young, Paul Zone captured the end of glam rock and the birth of the punk scene in downtown New York.

It was the mid-1970s when the death of glam and the birth of punk collided in a celebration of glitter and grime, and 14-year old Paul Zone had a front-row seat for it all. The exhibit "Growing Up in the New York Underground: From Glam to Punk," presented by Tony Zanetta and Kymara at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, features more than 70 rare images from Zone's life in New York's music underground in the 1970s and of the legendary players.

Featured photographs include images of Blondie, Debbie Harry, the Ramones, the New York Dolls, Iggy and the Stooges, the Dead Boys, Suicide, T. Rex, the Fast, and Kiss as well as musicians, artists, and scenesters such as Richard Hell, Johnny Thunders, Patti Smith, Lou Reed, Jayne County, Alice Cooper, Lance Loud, Stephen Sprouse, Christopher Makos, Anya Phillips, Cherry Vanilla, Arturo Vega, Anna Sui, Sable Starr, James Chance, Lydia Lunch, and more.

More images are shared in Zone's incredible photo memoir Plaground: Growing Up in the New York Underground, published by Glitterati Incorporated. An opening celebration and book launch will be held Friday from 6 to 9 p.m., featuring Superstar DJ Miss Guy and host Howie Pyro, and a talk and book signing Saturday from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Museum of Art, Prince St. Project Space.

All images from Playground: Growing Up in the New York Underground by Paul Zone, (c) 2014, published by Glitterati Incorporated,

Captions below by Paul Zone.

Playground-01_0 Lou Reed / Academy of Music, December 21, 1973
"After the success of his solo Transformer and Berlin LPs, the former Velvet Underground frontman recorded this concert, to be released in 1974 as the live LP Rock n Roll Animal. The cover photos on that album suggest Lou wore black leather bondage gear with studded cuffs, a dog collar, black lipstick and eye makeup. In reality, that night Lou pioneered the future style of all rockers who couldn't think of what else to wear: a tight black t-shirt, blue jeans and black biker boots."

Playground-02_0 Lance Loud. See amazing photos from Pat Loud's recent book on Lance here.

Playground-03_0Debbie Harry (Blondie) / Max's Kansas City, 1975
"By 1975 I was pretty close with Debbie and Chris and would regularly spend time at their loft with band members Gary and Clem and whoever might be stopping in before and after hanging around CBGB and Max's. Jimmy Destri was older brother to Donna Destri, who I had known since 6th grade Catholic school. I gravitated to her naturally after witnessing her being sent home daily for wearing black eyeliner, mini skirts, and unruly, corkscrew hairdos. It wasn't long before she became part of our Brooklyn entourage venturing into Manhattan nightly throughout the early glam '70s. She actually was the organ player for the Fast in 1972 for a while but never did a live show with the band. Donna and I were instrumental in Jimmy's introduction to Blondie at Mother's one night when they were opening act for the Fast. Jimmy's only other involvement in the scene up until then was auditioning for Milk 'n' Cookies before they left for the UK to record their LP for Island Records.

"My interest in styling and clothing was just as satisfying as my interest in photography. I would constantly be scouting out hidden thrift shops and flea markets. I remember bringing Debbie out to a shop I found in Hoboken, N.J. and to Coney Island that had a strip of 2nd hand shops in a row of garages. On one of my trips I spotted a brand new pair of brown stiletto boots with golden fox fur around the ankles stamped 'Made In Spain' on the bottom and couldn't resist buying them for Deb."

Playground-05_0 Christopher Makos. See more of photography superstar Christopher Makos's work here.

Playground-06_0 Wayne County / Coventry, Queens N.Y.. 1973
"I became good friends with Wayne and his band Queen Elizabeth and this summer weekend was the first of many shows the Fast did with them. A few weeks prior we had showed up early to see them at the Electric Circus, only to find the band loading out gear because the fire marshal discovered violations. We went to a bar with the band and they invited us to start opening for them at clubs like Coventry and Mother's. The fact that we owned our own PA and lights we could share didn't hurt the relationship, but Wayne really was our first true friend and supporter from the scene. After Wayne opened that door, we were sharing bills with the Brats, Teenage Lust, Suicide, Another Pretty Face, and the Harlots of 42nd Street."

Playground-09_0 Punk fashion icon Stephen Sprouse

Playground-08_0Paul Zone

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