Another Look at ‘The Movie Ladies of Times Square’

A crackling series of photos shared anew in 2015 by New York magazine.

When New York magazine published its annual Yesteryear Issue in March, the pleasures were too numerous to count.

In one essay, Dick Cavett recalled visiting the Copacabana nightclub at the turn of the 1970s in the company of famed gossip columnist Walter Winchell. In another piece, actor Alec Baldwin remembered his trips a decade later to Louis’s Toy Bar, on the Upper East Side, while starring in a TV daytime soap opera.

The magazine also republished some photos taken in 1971 by Shalmon Bernstein for a series on cashiers at adults-only Times Square movie houses. As it so happens, and perhaps this had something to do with New York magazine highlighting the pictures, Bernstein had chatted the month prior with The New York Times, explaining why he left photography:

Other imperatives swept him away: He bought a five-story brownstone in need of complete renovation; he joined his wife in a business selling food at flea markets; he crusaded against a doctor he blamed for the death of his sister. He needed an income that photography did not provide.

Now in his early 70s, and with his daughter graduated from college, Bernstein recently took some digital printing classes at New York’s International Center for Photography (ICP). We hope he will share in the coming year the fruits of his renewed labor.

The Movie Ladies series can also be viewed on Bernstein’s personal website.