Today's Special: four decades of street photography reveal how New York has changed

Born and raised in Brooklyn and now living in Manhattan, Jeff Rothstein is a quintessential New York photographer who has tirelessly chronicled the evolving city's life on the streets. To celebrate four decades of his work, a new book, Today's Special, has been published, featuring photos of people going about their lives – some famous, most anonymous – as well as a cityscape of littered sidewalks and dilapidated buildings set against modern skyscrapers.

The shots were taken between 1969 and 2006. "'Reading' the photos in Today's Special, I sense an almost fictional account assembled after the actual times when these photographs were shot," writes art critic Robert C. Morgan in his essay in the photobook. "But the story these photographs tell is imposed on a powerful history, beginning with the escalation of the Vietnam War and concluding with the tragic aftermath of the Iraqi invasion.

"None of this we see directly, only perhaps glimpsing in the faces and gestures of his subjects. They tell a more authentic story at any given time as they move from their solitary living spaces into the public space of crowded anonymity – the streets of New York."

Speaking of his work, Jeff says: "Wandering the streets with my 35mm cameras loaded with b&w film, I consider myself an urban observer. I try to capture the city's environment – structures, signs and, most of all, the fleeting moments of people on the streets that will soon disappear into thin air."

Today's Special: New York City Images 1969-2006 is available via jeffrothsteinphotos.com. All images courtesy of Jeff Rothstein.