Wednesday, May 8, 2024

A moment on 8th Street in 1983

The 1980s East Village photography of Peter Bennett is currently on display at the Tompkins Square Library branch.

Bennett, a native New Yorker now residing in Los Angeles, grew up in Greenwich Village and lived in the East Village from 1979 to 1988. 

The above photo (not one featured at the library) shows the south side of Eighth Street between Avenue B and Avenue C from 1983. (You can see St. Brigid's on the corner.)

Bennett told us this about the photo:
I used to hang out on that block in the 1970s. [He finished high school at Seward Park in 1972.] I had two friends who lived there, and I would visit them. It was a rough, rough block back then. I was mugged on at least one occasion. Tompkins Square Park was completely off-limits after dark; I remember walking around it coming back from my friends and hearing gut-wrenching screams coming from the park somewhere. It's come a long way. 
Tomorrow (Thursday) evening, as part of Lower East Side History Month, Bennett will be one of the guest speakers in a session titled "The East Village in Music, Art, and Words." He'll be joined by Linus Coraggio, MaryAnn Fahey and Andrea Wilson. Unfortunately, the session is full, and the registration is closed.

However, Bennett's photos will be up for the next few months at the library, 331 E. 10th St. between Avenue A and Avenue B.

Follow Bennett on Instagram here.

Previously on EV Grieve:


Felton Davis said...

A few of us stood outside the church when the city came with extraordinary force to clear the entire block on October 15, 1991. "New York City Bulldozes Squatters' Shantytowns," by Thomas Morgan, was a front page story in the NY Times the next day, with a photo showing the officers, possibly passing out plastic bags for the people to pack up their stuff. Erin O'Connor, may she rest in peace, was there, helping some of the women to relocate.

Anonymous said...

Look at all those empty/abandoned buildings back then, and think of the crazy rent we are being charged now.

Anonymous said...

The LES was always dangerous. Cops would never come down to 4th street between C and D. Always had to watch out for the “vampires”. Today, it’s better.

Annie said...

I just went to his Instagram page. Interesting great photos!

Anonymous said...

It's come a long way, but the park is back to off limits after dark for me.

j said...

Look at this block kids! It was even worse in the 70s. This is why I laugh when people complain about crime now.

XTC said...

This is actually a picture of one of the less frightful blocks, at least in the daytime. If you went into the buildings where there were no cinder blocks what went on inside would make your eyes pop out of your head. Junkies, Crackheads, Dope Fiends, Coke Sluts, Dealers and Squatters doing their thing 24/7.

Bobby G said...

That block across the street in the early 1980s was the notorious and legendary nightclub and performance space, 8BC. Some of the wildest shows ever were enjoyed there.