By James Maher
Name: Gustavo Roldan
Date: 4 pm on Wednesday, May 10
Location: Avenue A and 3rd Street
I’m from Venezuela. I came here around 40 years ago – just vacation, and then I liked it and I stayed. I came to this neighborhood immediately. People who I knew were around here, and I thought it was pretty edgy. I liked it.
Maybe because I’m into fashion, but that’s what I liked about the neighborhood. It was so avant-garde. There was a lot of creativity around. That drove me to this neighborhood. A lot of artists, parties, excitement. All kind of things were around here. It was amazing. There were people filming all the time, in the 1980s. People were so cool – I mean they are still. I loved 7A. The Pyramid was cool and Save the Robots.
I was on the Hells Angels block. The block was safe, but the 4th of July parties were very annoying. It was packed with bikers. There were fireworks and people getting drunk and very loud, blasting music. The neighborhood was crazy, it was tough but I never had any problems.
I’m a designer. I make hats. That’s what I do now, but back then I used to do jewelry. I just bumped into it. It was great. I did mass production — I did shows and trade shows. That’s how I made a living. I worked with all different types of people.
James Maher is a fine art and studio photographer based in the East Village. Find his website here.