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Collection #26

Leonard Fink Photographs

Record:26
Date:1954 - 1989
Size:5 feet

Provenance

This collection was donated in 1993 by the Estate of Leonard Fink through its executor, Steven E. Bing. The materials were originally willed as part of the overall estate to four residuary beneficiaries. These four AIDS-related organizations transferred rights to the Center Archive. A few framed photos were also included, some signed “Len Elliot,” which is thought to be a pseudonym of Fink’s.

Scope and Content

The collection consists of four feet of black-and-white photographic prints and more than 25,000 negatives (most of which are 35mm). There are a great many images of New York City’s Greenwich Village, especially West Street and the gay bars along it. Also included are numerous images of The Piers, several run-down structures on the Hudson River devoted to gay male cruising and sexual encounters. These pictures include both exterior and interior shots, sometimes including the men who frequented The Piers. His photographs of gay life begin with groups of gay men photographed in Greenwich Village in 1967. His photographs of Pride marches begin with the first march in 1970. Also included are different series of self-portraits, and earlier photographs of family, friends, trips to Europe, and scenes in New York.

History or Bio

Leonard Fink (1930-1993) was an amateur photographer who documented over 25 years of gay life in New York. His photographs were seen by only a few close friends and were never exhibited or published in his lifetime. He seems to have taught himself photography using an old 35mm camera and a homemade darkroom in his small apartment on West 92nd Street. He lived frugally, spending much of his income on photographic supplies that he bought in bulk and stored in his darkroom and bedroom. He stored all his prints and negatives in a file cabinet. At the time of his death, the photos in the file cabinet covered a period from 1954 to 1992. Fink was a colorful and ubiquitous character in the Village and at Pride marches, usually appearing on roller-skates in short cut-offs and a tight t-shirt, with cameras always around his neck. He sometimes arrived on a bicycle or a motorcycle. Fink worked for many years as an attorney for the New York Transit Authority; his father and older brother were both physicians. He died of complications relating to AIDS in 1993.

Folder List

Box 1

1. Bike Rally Pamonia NY 1963 & 1964.
2. U.S. Army / Met Museum of Art, NY 1954-1955 [also city aerial shots, Central Park, parachute
jump, pigeons, Times Square, chess players.
3. Berlin East & West.
4. [Nudes and nude couples, includes self portraits.]
5. Paris [mostly street scenes].
6. Morocco, Venice, Spain, Austria, Belgium, England, Denmark [sreet shots & scenics].
7. Moods/Unusual People/ Bus Terminal NY Port Authority / Knights of Columbus.
8. St. Ginaro [sic] [people during festival in NYC].
9. Mike [nudes].
10. Randy [nudes].
11. Jaquine ’74 [nudes on pier].
12. Barnaby [portraits].
13. Steven the Cowboy [nudes].
14. Riverside Drive & Mariner / Synagogue 91 St / Hoboken Ferry.

Box 2

15. Tommy [portraits, nudes, sex scenes].
16. 1975 GAA [Pride Parade, NYC, includes Marsha Johnson, Joe Kennedy, The Enema Lady, “Crazy John,” Robert Clement, Rollerena, Arthur Goodman, Contact Prints].
17. 1975 Jeff, Pat, Mike & Me [portraits & groups].
18. My bikes & me / Friends / World’s Fair revisited 1970 with Jeff.
19. Village Pier / Morton Street / 74, 75.
20. Kellers & the RamRod [exterior shots].
21. West Street 75 / Pier 52 / Pier 48 / Views from Westside Hgy / Cats in Window / Around the Village [includes inside the piers].
22. GAA Parade 74 [includes Marsha Johnson, Rollerena, Enema Lady, Steven Jacobs, Bob Storm, Doric Wilson, Drew Betterton, John Voriotis, Contact Prints.

Box 3

23. Water Street Mirror Sculpture [includes self portraits].
24. 1973 GAA Parade [includes Rollerena, Artie Felson, Barbara Love, Sarah Montgomery, Morris Kight, Jeanne Manford, Marsha Johnson, Doric Wilson, Peter Fisher, Marc Rubin, Sylvia Rivera, Contact Prints].
25. 1972 GAA Parade [includes Morty Manford, Jeanne Manford, Doric Wilson, Robert Clement, Marsha Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, Steven Jacobs, Marc Rubin, Peter Fisher, Bruce Voeller, John Wojtowicz, and also contact sheets].
26. 1971 GAA Parade [includes Jack Hopen, Bill Chalson, Vito Russo, Steve Krotz, Doric Wilson,
Peter Fisher, Marc Rubin].
27. Peace Demonstration [lots of cops].
28. 1970 GAA Parade [includes Marsha Johnson].

Box 4

29. [4×5 bicyclists in Central Park].
30. [Misc. Street Scenes / Moon].
31. Fisk [motorcycles].
32. [contact sheets (2 1/4) harbor & beach scenes].
33. Watkins Glen October 1964 Grand Prix [motorcycles].
34. N.Y. State Championships Summer 1961 [bicycles].
35. French Club 50 Miler April 1962 [Central Park Bicycles].
36. Olympic Trials Central Park Summer 1960 [bicycles].
37. Sommerville Memorial Day Race May 1963 [bicycles].
38. [2 black envelopes of Beach Scenes probably Riis Park].
39. Minox Pictures [ various].
40. [various].
41. Roosevet [sic] Raceway 1963 100 Miler [bicycles].
42. Somerville May 30th 1960 Summer 1960 Memorial Day [bicycles].
43. Dickey Appelton.
44. Time & Motion / Greenwich Village / Steven Bornstein [skateboards, bicycles].

Box 5

45. East Bronx / Statin Island /[street scenes, ferry scenes].
46. [Bicycles]
47. Halloween [sic] ’76 / Riverside Drive
48. Contact sheets ’76
49. Water Street Mirror Images, ’76 [includes self portraits].
50. Kellers ’76 [exteriors, includes Rollerena].
51. Views from a double decker bus, ’76 [includes self-portrait, contacts].
52. ’76 Inside the Ramrod, sex toy shops, Charley [tattooed man].
53. [LAMBDA] ’76 [inludes contacts].

Box 6

53. Inside pier 48 & 52, 1976, David in a jock., pier 52 / ass with butterflies [tattoos].
55. Misc. ’76 / Bike photos from ’57 / photos from Alabama 1955 / Jos. Avilia \ Spanish friend.
56. ’76, West Street & the piers, from W.S. [Westside] Highway / Hudson St. / 14 St. Sq.
57. [LAMBDA] ’77 [includes “Crazy John”, contacts].
58. Contact prints ’77.
59. Broadway ’77, Times Sq., views from bus window, railroad piers 72nd St, West Side.
60. [LAMBDA symbol] ’77 (44).
61. Sodom & Gomora Day, June ’77, Wash. Sq. [no #]
62. West Street ’77, views of the Hwy, day & night (42)
63. Pier 52 ’77 (41).

Box 7

64. West Street ’77, views of piers from West Street & demolition of highway (40).
65. Arthur & Wayne ’77 [pornographic].
66. Pier 42, Morton St. ’77, Kyraikos – popcorn “T” shirt (39).
67. West St. Bars ’77, Badlands, Ramrod, Kellers, Sneakers, West Street North & South of Christopher St. (38).
68. Joe ’77.
69. Village ’77 (36).
70. Sex Toy Shops, ’77; The Underground, The Pleasure Chest, The Leather Loft (35)
71. Tattoo Charley Bockwith ’77 (34).
72. 93rd St., a member of the Sandmen, 1977 (33).
73. Greeting Cards, ’77 (32).
74. Kenneth ’77 (31).
75. Me & the Bike ’77, Pictures of me in the U.S, Army (21).
76. Kyrikos ’77 (30).
77. 1978 Around the Village, Misc. 1978 (28).
78. Red Mill ’78 (27) [Red Mill, a play by?].

Box 8

79. Contact proofs, ’78 (26).
80. [LAMBDA symbol] ’78 [includes contact sheets].
81. ’78 Contact sheets, Birt, Tom Venable, Tommy C. (25)
82. Tomy Venible ’78.
83. Shops, Underground ’78.
84. 21 St. night from the W[est] S[ide] H[w]y. ’78.
85. Mirror images, me & the bike.
86. Bars, West Street, 1978.
87. Piers ’78 45, 46, 2 men on platform of 48, Andrew on Pier 48

Box 9

87. Piers ’78
89. Piers ’78, sunbathers on roof of Pier 45, 1978
90. Pier 52, 1978
91. Bars ’78, telephoto of boy in chaps, *leatherman sniffing amyl
92. Tom et al. in pier 46, 1978
93. Tommy, Birt 1978
94. 1978 Dancers in Village
95. Morton Street Pier ’78
96. West St. & the West Side Highway ’78
97. Greeting cards ’78
98. Greeting Cards ’79
99. West Street ’79 [includes Badlands, RamRod].

Box 10

100. Greeting cards of all years.
101. Pier 46 ’79 Boy with skateboard in pier 46 & shammey loin cloth.’79 [includes self-portraits].
102. Morton Street pier ’79 & Kyrakos & friend, 1979 [includes Marc Rubin, Peter Fisher, “Crazy” John].
103. Railroad piers, 1979 [self portraits].
104. Pier 46 & Joseph, 1979.
105. [LAMBDA] ’79 [includes “Crazy” John, Harvey Fierstein, Marsha Johnson]

Box 11

106. ’79 contact proofs.
106. Me [Leonard Fink] with friends, 1979 [portraits, nudes, porno].
107. ’79 Water Street Mirror.
108. Joseph ’79.
110. Andrew ’79 (Nudes & Porn).
111. Miscellaneous ’79 / St. Pats / Skyline 55 & 1980 / French Briefs.
112. Pier 48 & 52, 1979 & Westbeth Pier.
113. Railrod Piers ’79.
114. Greeting Cards ’80.
115. ’80 Me.
116. Craig ’80 [erotic nudes, incl. conmtact sheets].
117. Pier 48 in ’80.
118. Andrew ’80.
119. Michelle & R. R. Property ’80.
120. Michel ’80 [includes contacts, piers].

Box 12

121. West Street Bars ’80 / Badlands / RamRod.
122. Views from W. S. Hgy at Night ’80 [includes contact sheets].
123. Railroad Piers ’80 (#10).
124. [LAMBDA symbol] ’80 [includes Jim Fouratt, Don Barrington, contacts].
125. From the W. S. Hgy ’80.
126. Morton Street / Westbeth Piers ’80.
127. Misc ’80 / Olaf on skates / Around the Village.
128. 42nd St. from a Bus Window ’80.
129. Water Street Mirror & Me Skating ’80.

Box 13

130. Joe ’80.
131. Randy ’81.
132. ’81 Greeting Cards.
133. ’81 Piers.
134. [LAMBDA symbol] 81 [includes contacts].
135. ’81 Bars / Christopher / West Side Hgy.
136. ’81 Railroad Property Westside & 70th St..
137. 1981 Thom & Friend [fist fucking, includes contacts].
138. ’81 [nude self portraits].
139. ’82 Bars & West Street & Removal of Westside Hgy.
140. ’82 contact prints.

Box 14

141. ’82 Piers & Westside Hgy.
142. [LAMBDA symbol] ’82 (#12) [not parade].
143. ’82 Steven.
144. ’82 R.R. Property & Piers.
145. 1982 Me, Tom, Bike.
146. ’82 Willie.
147. Paul ’82.
148. [street scenes].
149. [Miscellaneous prints removed from frames.]
150. Jimmy 83 [includes nudes].
151. 1982 Greeting Cards & ’83.
152. 1983 bars [West Street & Piers].
153. 1983 Jonathan.
154. ’83 [LAMBDA symbol] contacts.
155. ’83 [mostly West Street, Christopher Street].
156. [LAMBDA symbol] Contacts [Pride Parade].
157. [West Street & Piers.]
158. ’83 Greeting Cards.

Box 15

159. Miscellaneous [negative strips] (no. 001-180)
160. Miscellaneous [negative strips] (no. 181-381)
161. Bicycle Races [1957-1964 negative strips] (no. 382-506)
162. N.Y. City ’54-’55 [negative strips] (no. 507-641)
163. Army ’53 -’55 Fort Benning, Georgia [negative strips] (no. 642-830)
164. Family ’55 & ’56 [negatives] (no. 831-870)
165. Greenwich Village 50’s & 60’s (Bill Vassilissis) [negatives] (no. 895-1000)
166. 1965 Europe [negatives] (no. 1001-1304)
167. ’67-’69: Lower East Side, Peace March Central Park, Dickey Appelton, Carnival[negatives] (no. 1305-1345)
168. 1970: GAA Parade, Anti-War Demonstration [negatives] (no. 1423-1518)
169. 1971: GAA Parade [negatives] (no. 1472-1491)
170. 1972: GAA Parade, Self Portraits, Nudes, Block Party, World’s Fair Grounds [negatives] (no. 1519-1630)
171. 1973: Gay Parade, Memorial Day 1973 [negatives] (no. 1631-1734)
172. 1974: GAA Parade [negatives] (no. 1735-1854)

Box 16

173. 1975: Pier 52, Gay Parade, Village Piers, Gay Parade, Kellers [negatives] (no. 1861-2050)
174. 1976: Inside the Ramrod, Sex Toy Stores, Pier 52, Holloween, Gay Pride Parade [negatives] (no. 2051-2295)
175. 1977: Badlands, West Side Highway, 8th Street Village Cinema, Kellers, Pier 52 [negatives] (no. 2298-2654)
176. 1978: Bars, Badlands, Ramrod, Morton Street Pier, Eagles Nest [negatives] (no. 2655-2996)
177. 1979: Pier 46, Greenwhich Village, Sex Toy Shops, Piers 48, Pier 47 [negatives] (no. 2997-3427)

Box 17

178. 1980: Bars, Pier 46, West Side Highway and other subjects [negatives] (no. 3428-3755)
179. 1981: Street scenes, friends, Halloweens, and miscellaneous [negatives] (no. 3756-3973)
180. 1982: Piers, friends, and other subjects [negatives] (no. 3974-4203)
181. 1983: Piers, Bars, friends and other subjects [negatives] (no. 4204-4489)
182. 1984: City scenes, Bars, friends, and miscellaneous [negatives] (no. 4490-4687)
183. 1985: City scenes and various events [negatives] (no. 4688-4781)
184. 1986: City scenes, Pier 45, The Village, and others [negatives] (no. 4782-4879)
185. 1987: West Side NY, Halloween, and miscellaneous [negatives] (no. 4880-5019)
186. 1988: The Village and other subjects [negatives] (no. 5020-5097)
187. 1989: Misc. [negatives] (no. 5098-5165)

For a detailed list of folder contents (including descriptions of film negatives), contact the archivist for an extended document on the Leonard Fink Photographs collection.