30 Years, 5 Mayors, 1 Photographer: Ed Reed’s View of NYC History

by Staff November 4, 2016 at 11:52 am

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Few mayoral photographers can list a billionaire and possible presidential candidates as subjects in their retrospectives. Ed Reed is one of the few. His career over the last 30 years — and five administrations — has documented the highs and lows of this nation’s largest city.

Sure, the daily work of a mayor, even New York City’s, can blend into a monotony of podiums and proclamations. But Mr. Reed’s patience and eye for capturing dramatic light, has given us much more than mayoral business as usual. His pictures serve as historical document of the City’s climb from recession to boom (and back again), from the darkest of blackouts to even darker moments during 9/11, and pay homage to the men behind the monumental title of Mayor of New York City.

Below is a personal reflection written by Mr. Reed himself and a highlight of some of his work.


For 30 years it has been my honor and privilege to serve five mayors as a photographer in the Mayor’s Press Office.

I have been fortunate to work alongside many other talented photographers across city agencies, photographing press conferences, town halls, walking tours, dignitary visits, receptions and more.

The goal was, and remains now, to show the City’s chief officer at their best: as boosters for the city, as well as promoting the initiatives meant to improve the lives of New Yorkers. This unique perspective on history is fascinating, and I hope this small selection of photos shows something of each one’s humanness, the immense weight of responsibility they feel and their love for the City’s people and its wellbeing.

Many, many thanks to Mayors Ed Koch, David Dinkins, Rudy Giuliani, Mike Bloomberg and Bill de Blasio for putting their trust in me and also putting up with me. Most importantly I want to thank my wife Annie and kids, Jake and Jeff, for their patience all those evenings, weekends and holidays I couldn’t be there.

Mr. Ed Reed


November 3, 1988. Governor Mario Cuomo and Ed Koch on the Williamsburg Bridge discussing transportation infrastructure.
November 3, 1988. Governor Mario Cuomo and Ed Koch on the Williamsburg Bridge discussing transportation infrastructure.
Mayor Koch tussles with a bull of sorts on the plaza at City Hall in 1988.
Mayor Koch tussles with a bull of sorts on the plaza at City Hall in 1988.
April 29, 1988. Mayor Koch rides the NYC Subway.
April 29, 1988. Mayor Koch rides the NYC Subway.
A construction worker looks on as Mayor Koch makes an announcement regarding housing in 1989.
A construction worker looks on as Mayor Koch makes an announcement regarding housing in 1989.
Sept. 11, 1990. Mayor David Dinkins shows family photos to the Dalai Lama in a courtesy meeting at a midtown hotel.
Sept. 11, 1990. Mayor David Dinkins shows family photos to the Dalai Lama in a courtesy meeting at a midtown hotel.
January 8, 1992. Mayor Dinkins chats with schoolchildren after an event.
January 8, 1992. Mayor Dinkins chats with schoolchildren after an event.
March 12, 1991. Nelson Mandela, David Dinkins and Charles Rangel chat at a reception in Mandela’s honor at Gracie Mansion.
March 12, 1991. Nelson Mandela, David Dinkins and Charles Rangel chat at a reception in Mandela’s honor at Gracie Mansion.
July 15, 1992. Mayor Dinkins and Joyce Dinkins welcome Bill, Chelsea and Hillary Clinton to New York prior to the 1992 Democratic National Convention.
July 15, 1992. Mayor Dinkins and Joyce Dinkins welcome Bill, Chelsea and Hillary Clinton to New York prior to the 1992 Democratic National Convention.
Aug. 27, 1993. The Mayor greets a very surprised salon customer during a walking tour in NYC.
Aug. 27, 1993. The Mayor greets a very surprised salon customer during a walking tour in NYC.
January 17, 1997. Mayor Giuliani picked up the hobby of photography and is seen here, framing lower Manhattan through his viewfinder, after an announcement regarding Ellis Island.
January 17, 1997. Mayor Giuliani picked up the hobby of photography and is seen here, framing lower Manhattan through his viewfinder, after an announcement regarding Ellis Island.
March 15, 1993. Andrew Giuliani waits for the beginning of the St. Patrick’s Day parade. Fifth Avenue, Manhattan.
March 15, 1993. Andrew Giuliani waits for the beginning of the St. Patrick’s Day parade. Fifth Avenue, Manhattan.
April 28, 1994. Caroline Giuliani joins her dad on the podium on “Take Your Daughters To Work Day” at City Hall.
April 28, 1994. Caroline Giuliani joins her dad on the podium on “Take Your Daughters To Work Day” at City Hall.
June 23, 1997. In a private meeting with Mayor Giuliani, Mother Teresa requested more street parking permits for her nuns.
June 23, 1997. In a private meeting with Mayor Giuliani, Mother Teresa requested more street parking permits for her nuns.
November 14, 2001. Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld hold a press conference at Ground Zero two months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
November 14, 2001. Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld hold a press conference at Ground Zero two months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
August 9, 2006. Mayor Mike Bloomberg makes the call to start the boring machine as part of the third water tunnel construction project.
August 9, 2006. Mayor Mike Bloomberg makes the call to start the boring machine as part of the third water tunnel construction project.
April 11, 2011. A bill changing the name of the Queensborough Bridge to “the Ed Koch Bridge” is signed into law with NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn looking on.
April 11, 2011. A bill changing the name of the Queensborough Bridge to “the Ed Koch Bridge” is signed into law with NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn looking on.
Sept. 20, 2005. The Mayor in Crown Heights in the sukkah of community council member Chanina Sperlin, (left) and Moshe Rubashkin.
Sept. 20, 2005. The Mayor in Crown Heights in the sukkah of community council member Chanina Sperlin, (left) and Moshe Rubashkin.
June 12, 2007. Mayor Bloomberg, John Mellencamp and Willie Nelson on Willie’s tour bus prior to an announcement that Farm Aid will be held in NYC.
June 12, 2007. Mayor Bloomberg, John Mellencamp and Willie Nelson on Willie’s tour bus prior to an announcement that Farm Aid will be held in NYC.
December 23, 2013. As one of his last acts as mayor, Mike Bloomberg donates blood.
December 23, 2013. As one of his last acts as mayor, Mike Bloomberg donates blood.
November 18, 2015. Mayor Bill de Blasio updates New Yorkers on counterterrorism measures in Times Square.
November 18, 2015. Mayor Bill de Blasio updates New Yorkers on counterterrorism measures in Times Square.
April 3, 2016. The Mayor delivers remarks at a dedication ceremony for the new Congregation Beit Simchat Torah synagogue on West 30th Street in Manhattan.
April 3, 2016. The Mayor delivers remarks at a dedication ceremony for the new Congregation Beit Simchat Torah synagogue on West 30th Street in Manhattan.
May 10, 2016. Mayor Bill de Blasio films a Univision promotional video shoot for the 2016 Centennial COPA America outside Gracie Mansion.
May 10, 2016. Mayor Bill de Blasio films a Univision promotional video shoot for the 2016 Centennial COPA America outside Gracie Mansion.
April 2, 2016. First Lady Chirlane McCray attends an NYC Children’s Cabinet baby shower for expectant and new parents on Staten Island.
April 2, 2016. First Lady Chirlane McCray attends an NYC Children’s Cabinet baby shower for expectant and new parents on Staten Island.
Oct. 8, 2015. The Mayor and First Lady take a moment to appreciate the Temple of Dendur at the Metropolitan Museum. Ed’s work is also featured on Instagram @nycmayorsoffice and @edreedphoto and on Twitter @nycmayoralphoto and @edreedphoto.
Oct. 8, 2015. The Mayor and First Lady take a moment to appreciate the Temple of Dendur at the Metropolitan Museum.
Ed’s work is also featured on Instagram @nycmayorsoffice and @edreedphoto and on Twitter @nycmayoralphoto and @edreedphoto.

Ed’s work is also featured on Instagram @nycmayorsoffice and @edreedphoto and on Twitter @nycmayoralphoto and @edreedphoto.


About the author: This article was written by the City of New York Mayoral Photography Office. You can find more photos from the office on its website and through Twitter. This article was also published here.

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