A Look At NYC’s ‘Forgotten Borough’ In 1983 With Christine Osinski’s “Summer Days: Staten Island”

DAMIANI Summer Days Staten Island-NYC-Untapped CitiesImages courtesy of Christine Osinski

In 1982, artist Christine Osinski moved to Staten Island with her husband after being priced out of Manhattan, something many New Yorkers are all too familiar with. Brooklyn and Queens (though now even Brooklyn is becoming too expensive to live in) seemed to be the popular destinations for Manhattanites to relocate to, but one borough appeared to slink into the background: Staten Island.

Nicknamed “The Forgotten Borough” by its residents, upon moving there, Christine Osinski simply set out to learn more about her new home. Out of that curiosity came a collection of photographs featured in her new book Summer Days: Staten IslandThe images, taken of the borough between 1983 and 1984, bring to life the working-class culture often overlooked in this part of New York City.

The images create a kind of time capsule that encompass the idea of small-town living even in a borough that is part of a major world city. Osinski describes in an interview featured in the book “this work is not a comprehensive study of Staten Island or even a completed work, rather it represents a fragmented journey.”

Two Boys with Automobile-Christine Osinski-Staten Island-NYC-Untapped CitiesTwo boys with Automobile

Today, the world of social media has us morphing certain images of New York City to our liking, often covering up reality with filters. Outlets like the Humans of New York blog attempt to depict the realities of the city we live in, but what separates Osinski’s book from this is not just the time period of the content, but her goal. It is a “fragmented journey,” an exploration of a new neighborhood she called home that developed into a project.

Devoid of skyscrapers and the chaotic traffic that defines the rest of New York City, just a short ferry ride away, Osinski’s photographs of, as Paul Moakley, whose essay accompanies the book puts it, “candid portraits of strangers, vernacular architecture and quotidian scenes reveal an invisible landscape within reach of the thriving metropolis of Manhattan.”

Today, Professor Christine Osinski teaches Photography and Foundations of Color at the Cooper Union School of Art. Below are just a few of the images featured in the book to give you a taste of the content. Summer Days: Staten Island book release is set for April 2016 but you can already buy it on Amazon.

Two Girls with Matching Outfits-Christine Osinski-Staten Island-NYC-Untapped CitiesTwo Girls with Matching Outfits

Putti and Gate-Christine Osinski-Staten Island-NYC-Untapped CitiesPutti and Gate

Neighbors in South Beach-Christine Osinski-Staten Island-NYC-Untapped CitiesNeighbors in South Beach

Boy Leaning over Bike-Christine Osinski-Staten Island-NYC-Untapped CitiesBoy Leaning over Bike

Children on Wrecked Car-Christine Osinski-Staten Island-NYC-Untapped CitiesChildren on Wrecked Car

Girl Holding Paper Bag-Christine Osinski-Staten Island-NYC-Untapped CitiesGirl Holding Paper Bag

Spiral Bushes at No. 98-Christine Osinski-Staten Island-NYC-Untapped CitiesSpiral Bushes at No. 98

Boy Wearing Staten Island T-Shirt-Christine Osinski-Staten Island-NYC-Untapped CitiesBoy Wearing Staten Island T-Shirt

Ziebart Car Repair-Christine Osinski-Staten Island-NYC-Untapped CitiesZiebart Car Repair

Young Woman Cutting Grass-Christine Osinski-Staten Island-NYC-Untapped CitiesYoung Woman Cutting Grass

Forest View Estates-Christine Osinski-Staten Island-NYC-Untapped CitiesForest View Estates

Next, check out 5 Historic Houses Converted into Museums on Staten Island and the Abandoned Buildings at the National Lighthouse Museum at St. George Staten Island.  

 Cooper Union, photography, staten island, vintage photos

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