Project: The Pier Children

Project Summary: "The Pier Children" is a photography series that draws inspiration from the rich cultural history of the Chelsea piers in Manhattan during the late 1970s and early 1980s. During this time, the Chelsea neighborhood was a gritty, neglected part of New York City, and the piers themselves were largely undesirable. However, they were also a haven for many young people who found refuge in the streets.

Today, the Chelsea piers have undergone a dramatic transformation, becoming a state-of-the-art family complex with a range of attractions, including private event spaces, a skate park, dinner cruises, a bowling alley, a golf center, a sports center, and even private yachts. But beneath the shiny veneer lies a history that has largely been forgotten - a time when street kids would come to tag their names, drug dealers would push their weight, and junkies would seek their fix. Anonymous Johns would also come to find their companions for the evening.

"The Pier Children" seeks to uncover and explore this forgotten demographic and the vibrant history that once ruled the Chelsea piers. Through our photography, we aim to shed light on the lives and struggles of the young people who called these streets home, providing a unique glimpse into a world that has long since vanished.

Our photoshoot captures the raw energy and spirit of the Chelsea piers during this time, featuring a range of subjects who embody the grit, determination, and resilience of this forgotten community. By shining a light on this history, we hope to inspire a greater appreciation and understanding of the cultural roots of this iconic New York City landmark.

Concept by Sunny Dunigan. Photography by Julian Myles.