50 Years of Proof That New Yorkers Have Always Had the Ultimate Style

Herb Goro

Fifty years ago, the editors of what would become New York magazine gathered and plotted a publication that, as its name suggested, had the very New Yorker-like ambition to capture the essence of the ever-changing, ever-growing city. While that always resulted in landmark journalism about society and politics—the magazine under Clay Felker was a playground for Tom Wolfe, Nora Ephron, Jimmy Breslin and Gloria Steinem, who went on to found Ms. as a supplement—it’s no mistake that figuring out the city’s complexities also put New Yorkers under the spotlight, meaning that Highbrow, Lowbrow, Brilliant, Despicable: Fifty Years of New York Magazine, a new book out by Simon & Schuster, also doubles as proof that the magazine was one of the pioneers of street style photography. Over the years, ordinary denizens of Brighton Beach could be spotted alongside not so ordinary ones like Katharine Hepburn, who could often be seen biking through Central Park at dusk and would even swim in the East River—and, of course, next to the city’s visitors, like a still mop-headed Justin Bieber. From him in an aviator glasses to an early breakdancer standing on his head, take a look back at some of the finest to grace New York’s streets, here.


Sculptor Louise Nevelson with her pet Fat-Fat in the series “The Only Perfect Relationship in This Fickle World,” about New Yorkers and their cats, 1975.


A 16-year-old Justin Bieber feet away from his packs of screaming fans, 2010.


Mario LoCicero’s design of Andy Volet’s Park Avenue apartment, a “no-furniture lounging cove that converts to a sit-in dance floor” whose steps lit up in blue neon, 1976.


Edie Beale, who would become a fashion icon, in East Hampton, 1972.


C.Z. Guest, Carolina Herrera, and Anne Slater in Glenn Bernbaum;s restaurant, Mortimer’s, in 1986.


A man dancing at the Roxy, the West 18th Street roller disco that eventually became a dance club, in 1982.


Ali McGraw in the year she began to become a star because of Goodbye, Columbus, 1969.


David Yarritu’s series of Polaroids capturing New York’s drag scene, 1985-2005.


Punks named Marsha and Craig in 1977.


A resident of Brighton Beach on the boardwalk outside of the popular local restaurant Volna, 2009.


A party hosted by the artist N. D. Austin that ended up on neighboring water towers, 2015.