This is part two in a series of excerpts from the biographical introduction to Brooklyn Boys, the new monograph on Danny Fitzgerald and Les Demi Dieux.
Fitzgerald also looked beyond Brooklyn in the late 1950s when he began photographing the young men he met at Abe Goldberg’s gym, worlds away on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. A small but fit man with his Hasselblad camera, Fitzgerald’s earliest models—Nestor, Orest, and Jerry Albanese—were aspiring bodybuilders 20 years his junior, from working class neighborhoods and families similar, but distant from his own. He met many of them at the gym, and earned their trust by asking their assistance with his own workout or partnering with them for training. In the process he impressed them with his knowledge of worldly literature and culture, as well as his ingratiating encouragement of their physical beauty, and a ten or fifty dollar bill slipped into the pocket of their chinos.