The Great Brooklyn House Snooping of 1978

By

8th Jan, 2014

I love a good snoop around other people’s houses, don’t you? Assuming it’s all perfectly legal, of course. In January 1978, a then unknown, and still, very much undiscovered photographer by the name of Dinanda H. Nooney began documenting Brooklynites in their homes. She gained access to the private lives of hundreds of perfect strangers, who showed her around, introduced her to their families and became part of a collection of over 500 largely unseen gelatin silver prints, known as The Nooney Brooklyn Photographs.

Pictured above: The living room of Conrad & Phyllis Milster. 178 Emmerson St., Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. May 9, 1978. 

Bill Saari & son Ian. 104 Prospect Pl. Park Slope, Brooklyn. February 9, 1978.

In 1995, almost ten years before she died in 2004, The New York Public Library acquired the collection as a gift from Dinanda H. Nooney. In an introduction to the extensive digital collection of her work, the library gives some background on how Nooney’s extraordinary project came to be:

Nooney initially became interested in the borough in 1976, while working as a volunteer for George McGovern’s presidential campaign. Two years later, she used the connections she had made in order to gain access to rooftops and other vantage points for a survey of the borough. She soon became more interested in the people she met and began photographing families in their homes. Many of these sitters then recommended other potentially willing subjects.

Working almost daily from January 1978 to April 1979, she crisscrossed the borough, documenting the broad ethnic and economic range of Brooklyn’s residents. The portraits that emerge are striking in their attention to the details of architecture and décor, which reveal just as much about the subjects as how they choose to pose themselves for Nooney’s camera. 

 

Bill & Sasha Saari. 104 Prospect Pl. Park Slope, Brooklyn. February 9, 1978.

Before notable bloggers like The Selby, who have found huge success photographing prominent indie musicians, artists, designers, and actors at home in Brooklyn and around the world– there was Nooney. And yet the New York born photographer only ever had one exhibition of her project in 1985 at the Long Island Historical Society, entitled At Home in Brooklyn.

I think it’s time she got some more eyes on her work, so let’s go snooping around Brooklyn circa 1978…

Evelyn F. Veres. 451 Decatur St., Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. August 11, 1978. (1978)

Behind the doors and through those fantastic entrances…

Robert & Vonceil Turner. 254 Hancock St., Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. October 20, 1978. . More of the Turner’s house starting here.

 

 

Richelieu Apartments, entrance. 385 Clinton Ave., Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. April 7, 1978.

 

 

 Hang out with the original Brooklyn hipsters…

Joe Roifer & friend. Apt. 9E, Turner Tower. 135 Eastern Parkway, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. The living room is here.

 

Apartments complete with fixie bikes and barber chairs!

Barbara Rothenberg. 135 Eastern Parkway, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. June 9, 1978.

 

Into their eclectic living rooms…

Home & studio of Gene Sinrod, 50 Prospect Place, Park Slope. February 1, 1978- more of his studio starting here.

 

 

Walter & Kathy Becker. 289 Washington Ave., Clinton Hill, Brooklyn, suspiciously dated April 15, 1978, even though there’s a giant Christmas tree. 

Check out those sliding doors!

Lillian Beckford. 496 State St., Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. February 17, 1978. 

Shabby chic from floor to ceiling, indeed. 

Home of Bernice & Beresford Sealy. 145 Maple St. Flatbush, Brooklyn. February 13, 1978.

 

Jonathan & Dorothy Nelson. 897 Sterling Pl., Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. May 20, 1978. 

 

Russell McCombs. 315 Eastern Parkway, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. June 23, 1978. 

 

Dr. Robert L. Leslie. 140 Lincoln Rd., Flatbush, Brooklyn. November 10, 1978. 

 

Geoffrey & Tobi Needler. 51 Montgomery Pl., Park Slope, Brooklyn. June 24, 1978. 

 

Jerry & Linda Schick. 188 Washington Ave., Fort Greene, Brooklyn. June 10, 1978.

 

What’s cooking in Brooklyn?

Apartment of Milton Briggs. 447 State St. Boerum Hill, Brooklyn, February 25, 1978. More of Milton’s apartment starting here.

 

The kitchen at the Nursery School of Dorothy Howard. 150 Vernon Ave., Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. April 12, 1978. More of this property starting here.


Spencer & Rosalyn Depas. 227 Cumberland St., Fort Greene, Brooklyn. May 19, 1978. 

Up the stairs we go…

 

Home of Joe Yaccarino. 312 Clinton Ave., Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. April 17, 1978. More of this home starting here.

Past the landing…

Home of Thompson Faulkner. 1472 Atlantic Ave., Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. March 18, 1978.

 

Jean & Helen Gazagnaire. 58 Tompkins Pl., Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. March 1, 1978.

 

And into the bedrooms! 

Joseph & Mary Merz, architects. Daughter Julie & cat. 48 Willow Place, Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. January, 1978. (1978). Their living room is pretty cool too.

 

From the cozy and compact…

Bill & Aida Price. 292 Clermont Ave., Fort Greene, Brooklyn. May 24, 1978.

 

To the extravagant…

Jonathan & Dorothy Nelson. 897 Sterling Pl., Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. May 20, 1978. More of Jonthan ‘n’ Dorothy in their home, starting here.

and the eccentric…

Fran Orans. 4715 Surf Ave., Coney Island, Brooklyn. August 5, 1978. To see more of this Coney Island house, start here.

 

Everett & Evelyn Ortuer home. 272 Berkeley Pl., Park Slope, Brooklyn. March 4, 1978.

What would Goldilocks do?! 

Johnny Redd home. 416 Waverly Ave., Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. April 6, 1978. More kitschy awesomeness throughout the rest of his home, starting here.

Would she be tempted by all that kitschy bed linen?!

Violet Falcone. 365 Mayfair Dr. South, Marine Basin, Brooklyn. August 24, 1978. 

Or would she test one of these out for a nap…

Home of the Frieds, oldest daughter. 501 E. 17th St., Flatbush, Brooklyn. July 31, 1978.

Gotta love those 70s straw chairs.

Gerard & Maureen Watson. 66 82nd St., Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. December 1, 1978.

 

 And don’t forget the bathrooms…

Tim & Carol Sullivan. 284 Clinton Ave., Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. March 30, 1978. The rest of the Sullivan’s house is also pretty swanky.

 

Elisabeth Rauschenbach. 437 Clinton Ave., Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. March 30, 1978. 

 

Home of Ernie & Lucy Bitzer. 300 Washington Ave., Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. March 31, 1978. 

1970s Brooklyn bathrooms were clearly one of the most awesome rooms in the house.

Home of Ted & Ronnie Johnson. 151 Willoughby Ave., Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. April 11, 1978. 

 

 

But let’s get some air… 

Helen Buckler. 238 Dean St., Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. June 22, 1978. 

 

View from the roof of Falcone Funeral Home. 325 Smith Ave., Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. July 13, 1978. Gardens between President & Carroll Streets.

 

Constance Clement. 2108 Ave. P, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. July 24, 1978. More of Constance’s house starting here.

 

To the den! 

Bill & Lucy Sikes. 231 Washington Ave., Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. May 7, 1978.

 

Allen Wiener & sons. 331 President St., Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. July 8, 1978. See the rest of the family home starting here.

 

But I think that’s enough snooping for one day…

Home of Mrs. Betty Brown. 298 Washington Ave., Clinton Hill, Brooklyn. April 2, 1978.

 

 

Hang on, is that the remains of a bowling alley in your basement … ?

John & Elinore Koechley. 122 76th St., Bay Ridge, Brooklyn. December 26, 1978.

Okay, okay we’re leaving!

 

Mary Kay Gallagher. 196 Marlborough St., Flatbush, Brooklyn. July 29, 1978, see the rest of the house, starting here

 

Well thanks for letting us snoop behind your doors, 1970s Brooklynites!

Richard Cortez (painter), owner. 86 Oxford St., Fort Greene, Brooklyn. January, 1978. 

 

Now let’s go find some of that famous Brooklyn pizza, all that snooping has made me hungry.

Eileen Cox. 152 Midwood St., Flatbush, Brooklyn. November 18, 1978. 

All photographs by Dinanda H. Nooney.

Discover The Nooney Brooklyn Photographs.

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