Alright, pencil's down, everyone.
This quiz proved to indeed be a toughie for a lot of you out there. He may still indeed be workin' on it, but I'm going to beat Bob Egan of PopSpots to the punch this time and reveal the answers, such as they are.
For a start, yes indeed, this is Sylvain Sylvain and David Johansen of the New York Dolls, flanked by a gaggle of air-guitaring little punks-in-training (presumably sitting in for Johnny Thunders, Arthur "Killer" Kane and Jerry Nolan).
I first stumbled on this photograph on the excellent Zombies En El Ghetto. Said Tumblr suggests that this photo was not taken, as so many assumed, by the great Bob Gruen, but rather by Leee Childers. It also says this photograph was snapped in 1975 "on 2nd Avenue," but I'm here to tell ya -- that's just not the case.
As I looked at this photo, it was obvious that it was shot in New York City, but I couldn't pinpoint a stretch on 2nd Avenue that played host to any stoops like the one behind David.
Then, almost at once, it completely hit me. Tipped off by both that stoop and the elaborate terrace behind it, I immediately realized why the picture haunted me so much. As I recounted in this reasonably recent post, I spent a goodly amount of time in the very building Sylvain and Johansen and their little friends are posing in front of. That's not 2nd avenue at all, but rather 47 Irving Place, just south of the southwestern corner of East 17th Street. Around the corner and about a block up stood Max's Kansas City (now a deli). A block and a half down is Irving Plaza.
Here's me looking foolish in roughly the same spot this evening...
ADDENDUM: And now a little re-imagining, courtesy of Bob Egan:
And just for the sake of posterity, .... these are the New York Dolls....