Monday, April 29, 2013

Before There Were Hipsters: 1970's Brooklyn Street Chic

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Street Chic, originally photographed by Eric Jacobson

No, my friends,  hipsters did not bring fashion to Brooklyn.  Judging by the photos above, there was already plenty of style going around in our fair borough in the 1970's.
I came across these hilarious shots in the first issue of a magazine entitled New Brooklyn that was published quarterly by Barry V. Conforte and Bjorn Robinson Rye sometime in the 70's.
The photos are accompanied by this even funnier paragraph:
"Street Chic...is emeralds and painter's pants on Montague Street...draw-string silk trousers and a Hawaiian shirt along the Promenade...patched Levi's, a tanned chest and a practiced grin in the exotic lights and shade beneath the El..sequined cut-offs on the boardwalk... Street Chic is buing threads at thrift shops that look like a million bucks...strolling through Sheepshead Bay as though it were Mykonos...treating a Williamsburg stoop like a café in Port Said...Street Chic is insouciance, imagination... when little money (sometimes) and lots of style (always) come up with...wow!Street Chic is haute couture du peuple, mes amis...and Brooklyn's got it!"
The magazine is a real time capsule and contains wonderful ads like these:
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It also contains  articles about Brooklyn celebrities.  The one below is about Rose Ann Scamardella, who worked as a news reporter for ABC's Eyewitness News and later went on to anchor the news with Ernie Anastos.  Many may remember  that Scamardella was the inspiration for Gilda Radner's character "Roseanne Roseannadanna" on Saturday Night Live in the late 1970s.
I have heard on quite a few occasions that Scarmadella lived in Carroll Gardens for a while.
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To read a larger version of the article, click here.

There is no reference to "New Brooklyn" on the internet, so it is impossible to say if there were additional issues.  Does anyone remember it?


16 comments:

Rob K said...

Oh, my, that magazine looks vaguely familiar.

The Roseanne Scamardella story is tickling at my memory, but it's been so long ago...

Raanan Geberer said...

Sometime in the late 1970s, I worked for the "parent company" of New Brooklyn, Barry Conforte's pubilc relations firm, "Motivational Communications," in the Flatiron Building in Brooklyn. As such, I occasionally contributed to New Brooklyn--specifically, I wrote record reviews and at least once interviewed a local rock band.--Raanan Geberer, Brooklyn Eagle

Katia said...

Very cool, Raanan. Would you happen to know when this first issue was published? I looked all over the magazine and can't find the date.

Anonymous said...

I remember New Brooklyn well into the '80s. Scamardella did live in Carroll Gardens. After her news stint she had a baby clothes store on Court St, around 2nd Place - during the mid-late '80s.

Katia said...

Thank for the info, Anon.
Do you remember the name of her store?

Anonymous said...

Oh my god. Tube socks. Where did you find this paper? I love it.

Anonymous said...

What flatiron building in Brooklyn??

Anonymous said...

I thought Roseann and Mike Pesce also owned Me and My Eggroll on Court Street?

Anonymous said...

A waiter there in the early '80s told me that Me and My Eggroll is owned by the attorney who has an office in the same building.

Timothy Reed said...

Katia it would be fascinating if you could scan the entire magazine.

Raanan G said...

This is Raanan again--sorry, I meant to say that Motivational Communications (New Brooklyn's parent company) was in the Flatiron Building in MANHATTAN. Barry Conforte, an old-time PR veteran who, I believe, had once worked for the Port Authority, had high hopes for New Brooklyn, but it never really took off. Unfortunately, I can't really tell you when it started or when it ended. I do remember that he was much more interested in the brownstone areas than the other areas of the borough.

Katia said...

I guess Conforte was ahead of his time.

steve said...

That is just awesome

Bob96 said...

Scamardella and then husband Michael Pesce lived at 238 President, a fine, large home between Court and Clinton. After their divorce, she moved to Connecticut, if memory serves, while Pesce has had a long run as a NY State judge. And yes, I rememeber New Brooklyn.

Gatemouth said...

Pesce was the assemblyman before Eileen Dugan; he was elected a judge in 1980. He and Scamardella originally co-owned "Me and My Eggroll" with attorney Mike Romeo.

And Richard Feder really was from Fort Lee NJ.

Katia said...

Thanks for the info, Gatemouth.