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Gritty Photos of New York City Life

Sue Kwon began her career at the Village Voice, scoring major gigs photographing hip-hop’s finest like Biggie Smalls, the Wu-Tang Clan, and the Beastie Boys’ Adam Yauch with the Dalai Lama. More importantly, Kwon captured unique snippets of New York City life — a graffiti bombed car in an empty lot, cops sauntering around Chinatown disarray, tiny apartments dwarfed by refrigerators, sunny days at old Coney Island, and tough children playing in the streets. Her book Street Level rounds up two decades of classic NYC scenes shot between 1987 and 2007. Click through to check out our selection of back-in-the-day photos.


Sue Kwon, Street Level

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