Showing posts with label 1980s New York. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1980s New York. Show all posts

Friday, October 7, 2022

A 1982 view of St. Mark's Place at 3rd Avenue

Looking east on St Mark's Place at Third Avenue circa 1982... with a view of Tompkins Square Park in the distance ... photo by Peter Bennett. 

Check out more of Peter's work here. We previously posted some of Peter's EV photos from the 1980s at this link.

Friday, June 10, 2022

Come, let's drive along some side streets between Avenue C and Avenue D in 1987

A version of this 3-minute video via the Kinolibrary Archive Film Collections titled "Drive Through the Lower East Side, New York in 1987" has been floating around the Internet for nearly 10 years... 

A reader shared a more-recent version that looks a little more high-quality. 

In the silent clip, the driver/film crew start on Houston and turn onto Avenue D... and from here the car drives up and down some desolate side streets between Avenue C and Avenue D... you may recognize a few things ...


Friday, February 18, 2022

The 1980s East Village as seen through the lens of photographer Peter Bennett

Last June, we reported on the passing of Arthur Enrique Guerra, the founder of Guerra Paint & Pigment on 13th Street. The post included a photo of Guerra's mural on St. Mark's Place of John Spacely, aka Gringo, from 1983. Peter Bennett took that iconic photo of the Gingo mural. 

Bennett, a native New Yorker who now resides in Los Angeles, recently shared more photos from the era. He grew up in Greenwich Village and lived in the East Village from 1979 to 1988. (You can read more about him here.) He gave us permission to post these EV street scenes from the 1980s. (Top photo is outside the former Love Saves the Day on the NW corner of Second Avenue and Seventh Street.

Here are a few more shots from his archives (click on the image to go big)  ...  

St. Mark's Place...
Second Avenue at Seventh Street...
Second Avenue at St. Mark's Place (NW corner) ...
Second Avenue at St. Mark's Place (SW corner) ...
Seventh Street between First Avenue and Second Avenue...
Fifth Street at Avenue D ...
Fifth Street near Avenue C...
There are some more photos here

If you liked these, perhaps we can have an encore one of these days. Thanks to Peter for sharing!

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

A Perfect Ending

Text by Julius Klein
Photo by Tom Warren

It was around 5:30 a.m. and time for me to go home. I was leaving “Delia’s” on East Third Street, one of the many after-hour joints on the Lower East Side in the late 1980s (though with the night’s cocaine use, I probably could have hung out another couple of hours or so). I didn’t even bother to zip up my jacket against the cold and sleet, the coke’s superman quality, and as I was just a block and a half skip (or stumble) away from my apartment on Avenue B and Fourth Street.

Walking east toward Avenue B in the vacant, orangey street-lit darkness, I heard a siren screaming toward me. I was at the corner, in front of the rolled-down Chinese take-out place; I could see lights speeding my way up to Third Street. A cop car in hot pursuit of a goldish Cadillac Eldorado, with a deep, mustard-colored, gold “Landou” roof, a classic “gangster ride” of the time.

Abruptly, the Caddy made a left, tires screeching, fishtailing south down Avenue B. The cop car screamed to a stop in the middle of the intersection. Two cops jumped out, guns drawn. A block away, I saw a police van flying through the intersection at Second Street and B in an attempt to head off the Caddy.

As the Cop van smashed into the rolldown of a storefront on the east side of the street, the Caddy crashed into a light pole, its hood popping up and small flames jumping out. The guy staggered out with a shotgun, and as he shoots (I was then crouched behind a convenient mailbox), the cops nailed him from both sides.

Before falling flat back, the “perp” gets off one more blast towards the sky. BAMM! “Fuck heaven, I’m going to hell” might have been his very last, tapering off thought?

The cops cautiously moved in, guns, wisely still drawn. I followed behind a dozen paces or so. The guy was clearly dead, lying face up, eyes open, in the wet gutter; snowy water pooling around his husky body as his blood joined the little, frosty stream.

Lit by the small fire under the smashed hood, and the now tilted street light, as well as the disco-y, red and blue, swirling siren lights, I could see a man, 50, 60ish, tan, in his leather, cream-colored “members only” jacket, open, his grey knit shirt slightly pushed up, exposing his belly. He had a thick gold chain around his neck, a gold belt buckle, a gold bracelet peeked out of his sleeve, a gold watch on the other. Maybe an Italian guy? Dressed very neatly and expensively in the style of his glory days, a decade or so before.

As a fire engine rolled up and several other vehicles arrived, a cop, now telling me to get back, I asked, “what’d he do?”

The cop answered that the guy “dumped a body, in an empty lot, over by Avenue D,” something fairly common at that time.

I took one last look down at the fellow and could see that this was his perfect ending, something he probably thought of many times through his years, an ending he probably discussed frequently with his criminal colleagues.

Some months later, maybe even a year or so later, I saw in some East Village gallery, a large photo print of the end of that very grim scene, by my colleague, the excellent photographer, Tom Warren, who kindly gave me the OK to use it to illustrate my little recollection.

The book, “The 1980s Art Scene in New York,” can be viewed through Jan 31, and ordered online at (Germany)

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

'David Vega’s East Village'

An EVG reader just shared this with me... The Solas Studio, 117 E. 24th St. (2nd floor) between Lexington and Park, is presenting a 1980s photo exhibit titled "David Vega’s East Village."

The opening is tomorrow (Feb. 13) night from 6-8. Otherwise, the exhibit is open by appointment from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays until March 13.

The exhibit coincides with a new book of his photography, "Look Back East Village 1984-1987."

And a few of his 1980s photos ...

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

A look at 'Carole Teller’s Changing New York' (and changing East Village)

[Astor Place circa the early 1980s by Carole Teller]

The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation (GVSHP) has an addition to its online Historic Image Archive – a collection titled "Carole Teller’s Changing New York." (View it here.)

Here's part of an email Monday via GVSHP Executive Director Andrew Berman:

Carole is an artist who has lived in the East Village since the early 1960s, who has generously donated to GVSHP over 500 photographic images she took of Lower Manhattan and all of New York from the early 1960s to the early 1990s.

[T]hey show an incredible story of change in New York over the last half century. Carole had a keen and prescient eye catching things on the verge of change, erasure, demolition, restoration, or renewal. All her pictures capture slices of New York that are both familiar and foreign, since every one of these images captures a scene which in one way or another no longer exists, at least as portrayed.

Berman shared a sampling of Teller's photos... (all reprinted with permission)...

Bocce Court at First Park, from First Street west of First Avenue looking to south side of East Houston Street ... circa 1963...


50-52 Second Ave, southeast corner at Third Street ... circa late 1970s...


36 St. Mark's Place, south side, just west of Second Avenue, next to Gem Spa ... circa early 1980s...


St. Mark's Place, just west of Second Avenue ... circa 1980...


Second Avenue, west side between Second and Third Streets, looking south ... circa 1969 ...


...and an undated photo of 113 Avenue A near Seventh Street — Ray's Candy Store...


Prints of all these images are available for sale through the website, with proceeds benefitting GVSHP.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Take a walk around the East Village on this June afternoon in 1986

Another video from the archives of Nelson Sullivan arrived on YouTube yesterday.

In this 13-minute video from June 1986, Sullivan crosses Third Avenue and heads east on St. Mark's Place ... turns south on Second Avenue ... and continues on East Seventh Street to Tompkins Square Park, where he spots Lady Bunny (out of drag) and DJ Dmitry... before hanging out on A and Seventh ...

Sullivan's video archive was donated to NYU's Fales Library & Special Collections in 2012.

He died of a heart attack on July 4, 1989.

H/T EVG reader Brian K.

Previously on EV Grieve:
Take a quick trip back to Avenue A and East 7th Street in 1986

The East Village of Nelson Sullivan

The first nice Sunday of 1987 in the East Village

'The Fabulous Personalities of 1980s New York'

Friday, August 21, 2015

Take a photo vacation in 1980 New York City

[Houston and 2nd Avenue from April 1980 by Ed Sijmons]

Earlier this month, a reader sent me a 1980 NYC photo essay from the Tribeca Citizen.

Here's the premise. In the spring of 1980, Ed Sijmons and LouiseLH of Amsterdam visited New York City and took hundreds of photos ... and Sijmons recently posted them on Flickr... and passed the links on to the Citizen.

While the above photo of East Houston and the Bowery is the closest they came to the East Village, there are plentiful shots from all over the city, from the Lower East Side, Chinatown, the Financial District, Midtown... even some in Coney Island.

If you have some time to browse, then you can head over to Sijmons’s Flickr page. Look for the albums marked "NYC 1980 part1" (as well as parts 2, 3, and 4).

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

A found collection of photos from the 1980s East Village

The Wall Street Journal today has a short feature on Tony Mangia, a photographer who found a long-lost collection of his photos from the 1980s East Village. (He believed the photos were destroyed during a fire.)

His work, he said, is from the Other Paper, a twice-a-month community newspaper that covered the neighborhood from 1980-1982.

The collection ranges from quiet images of dilapidated buildings to the Ninth Precinct narcotics squad (a crew usually donning Yankees caps known on the street as the “Baseball Team,” according to Mr. Mangia) making a drug bust. The images are reminiscent of a time when the city was “dirty, dangerous and way more interesting than today,” Mr. Mangia said.

You can find the article and a selection of the photos here.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The NYC films of BAM's 'Indie 80s' series

[From "Blank Generation"]

BAMcinématek's sprawling "Indie 80s" program, co-presented with Cinema Conservancy, starts tomorrow (out in Brooklyn, yes)… and runs through Aug. 27.

In total, there are more than 60 films "spotlighting the independent films of the neglected decade between the golden age of 70s New Hollywood and the indie boom of the 90s."

Of particular interest are the dozen or so titles filmed in New York City, including in the East Village with "Alphabet City," "Blank Generation" and "Landlord Blues."

We asked David Reilly, who has been a programmer for BAMcinématek since 2011, a few questions about the "Indie 80s" program.

In terms of these various NYC features, what were you looking for to fit into the "Indie 80s" series?

We sought out fiercely independent, personal films that in some way reflect what we’ve described as “an aesthetic and political rebuke to the greed-is-good culture of bloated blockbusters and the trumped-up monoculture of Reagan-era America” – an attitude that’s on display in abundance in New York’s creative community of the era and certainly not limited to a specific community or “scene.”

You can see this in the incredible diversity of neighborhoods and cultures represented onscreen: from CBGB punks ("Blank Generation") to Bronx hip-hop pioneers ("Wild Style"), from the gay community at the height of the AIDS crisis ("Parting Glances") to the Puerto Rican community in pre-gentrification Williamsburg ("Los Sures"), from Upper West Side intellectuals ("My Dinner with Andre") to Fort Greene’s “Brooklyn Boheme” black arts scene ("She’s Gotta Have It"), and beyond. There’s an embarrassment of riches in New York indies during this period, and we’ve tried to capture at least a small slice of that pie.

Do you see any common themes emerge from the various films about New York City during this time period?

A recurring sense of struggling to get by and live outside the system during a violent, troubled moment in the City’s history. There’s a certain ominousness and anxiety embedded in the Ed Koch Era, and it seeps through these films in a variety of forms: sexual predators ("Ms. 45"), scumbag landlords ("Landlord Blues"), roving street gangs ("Vigilante" and "Alphabet City"), homelessness ("Sidewalk Stories"), and of course, the devastation of AIDS.

What kind of legacy do you think the NYC films in the series have … particularly on the 90s indie boom?

For New Yorkers, these films are a crucial document of a very different city that’s becoming more and more unrecognizable with each passing day, and a period of explosive creativity the likes of which we may never see again.

And it’s hard to imagine a phenomenon like "Kids" (1995) — a scrappy New York story made with a mostly non-professional cast getting a major distribution deal and grossing over $20 million — being possible without these 1980s predecessors paving the way for a larger cultural awareness of independent filmmaking.


And here are a few of the NYC/EV-based films on the docket…

Alphabet City (1984)
Directed by Amos Poe. With Vincent Spano, Michael Winslow, Kate Vernon.
Nineeteen-year-old Johnny (Spano) is an East Village drug kingpin with the white Pontiac Firebird to prove it. But when he decides to go straight, he finds that the mob that made him isn’t going to let him off that easily. Punk filmmaker Amos Poe crafts a luridly expressionistic gangster saga set amidst the neon- splashed mean streets of the Lower East Side. The echt-80s, synthpop soundtrack is by Chic’s Nile Rodgers.
Wed, Aug 26 at 9:30 pm

Blank Generation (1980)
Directed by Ulli Lommel. With Carole Bouquet, Richard Hell, Ulli Lommel.
Punk icon Richard Hell stars as a volatile rocker having an affair with a French journalist (Bouquet) in this grimy glimpse of New York’s punk underground. Capturing the raucous energy and seedy atmosphere of the 80s downtown scene, Blank Generation features Hell and his band the Voidoids performing classics like the title track and “Love Comes in Spurts” at CBGB, as well as an appearance by executive producer Andy Warhol. Digital.
Thu, Jul 30 at 7 pm

Landlord Blues (1986)
Directed by Jacob Burckhardt. With Mark Boone Junior, Richard Litt, Raye Dowell.
An East Village bicycle shop owner (Boone Junior) takes matters into his own hands when his scumbag landlord (Litt) tries to evict him. Set against the first wave of gentrification to sweep through downtown, this ultra-rare, shot-on-16mm tenant’s revenge tale features footage of the former East 13th St. squats as well as music and an appearance by Nona Hendryx. 16mm.
Mon, Aug 10 at 7pm; Q&A with Burckhardt

Ms. 45 (1981)
Directed by Abel Ferrara. With Zoë Lund.
The ne plus ultra of women’s revenge movies, Abel Ferrara’s exploitation classic takes place in the cesspool of 80s New York, where mute garment district worker Thana (Lund) is raped once, twice—and then snaps. Packing a pistol and clad in leather (and later a nun’s habit), Thana handily wastes a good chunk of Manhattan’s male population, while Ferrara, defying the grindhouse trappings, forges a feminist statement in extremis. DCP.
Sat, Aug 15 at 4:15, 9 pm

Parting Glances (1986)
Directed by Bill Sherwood. With Richard Ganoung, John Bolger, Steve Buscemi.
This marvelously witty, compassionate snapshot of Manhattan’s 1980s gay community was one of the first films ever to lend a human face to the HIV crisis. New York City couple Michael (Ganoung) and Robert (Bolger) grapple with the emotional fallout of their impending separation and the illness of a friend (Buscemi, memorable in his first major role) dying of AIDS.
Tue, Aug 4 at 7:30, 9:30 pm

Vigilante (1983)
Directed by William Lustig. With Robert Forster, Fred Williamson, Richard Bright.
Grindhouse auteur William Lustig (Maniac) serves up a crazily violent bloodbath in this twisted, pure-pulp thriller. When gang members attack his wife and kill his son, a Queens factory worker (Forster) joins up with an outlaw vigilante group and makes it his personal mission to clean up the streets. “Directed with classical, self-effacing skill” (Dave Kehr, The New York Times), Vigilante is a grim, grimy time capsule of 1980s New York City. 35mm print courtesy of the Cinema Conservancy Archive.
Thu, Jul 30 at 4:30, 9:30 pm Intro by William Lustig

Vortex (1982)
Directed by Beth B & Scott B. With James Russo, Lydia Lunch, Bill Rice.
Noir meets No Wave in this paranoid punk thriller from New York downtown agitators Beth and Scott B. Attitudinal underground musician Lydia Lunch (Teenage Jesus and the Jerks) stars as a no-BS, leather- clad detective investigating the murder of a politician in a futuristic dystopia of corporate corruption. The Bs make the most of a miniscule budget with stylish visuals, hardboiled dialogue, and an unsettling soundtrack. 16mm.
Mon, Aug 10 at 9:30 pm

Wild Style (1982)
Directed by Charlie Ahearn. With Lee Quiñones, Sandra Fabara, Patti Astor.
The original hip-hop movie, Wild Style was the first film to document the scene’s music, breaking, and street art at its inception. It follows a subway tagger named Zoro (played by graffiti legend Quiñones) through the vibrant street culture of the Bronx in the early 80s. Filmed with semidocumentary authenticity, Wild Style features appearances by seminal artists like Grandmaster Flash, Cold Crush Brothers, Lady Pink, Fab 5 Freddy, Busy Bee, and more.
Fri, Aug 21 at 7 pm

For the full program and tickets, go here.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Take a quick trip back to Avenue A and East 7th Street in 1986

In case you missed this yesterday, Gothamist posted several recently uploaded videos from the East Village … specifically 1986 and the corner of East Seventh Street and Avenue A… here's one of the short (54 seconds) videos...

Gothamist posted two other East Village home movies from the same time … which came via the Kinolibrary archive film collections.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Revisiting the 1980s videos of Nelson Sullivan

Though the years we've posted some of Nelson Sullivan's 1980s videos, including "The first nice Sunday of 1987 in the East Village" ...

... and "Walk with Tish Gervais in the East Village of the mid-1980s"...

A post showing a lot more of Sullivan's work yesterday at Gothamist reminded us of these. In total, Sullivan shot more than 1,900 hours of tape over a period of seven years. Head over to Gothamist for a lot more of his time capsules of downtown life.

His video archive was donated to NYU's Fales Library & Special Collections in 2012.

Sullivan died of a heart attack on July 4, 1989.

Previously on EV Grieve:
The East Village of Nelson Sullivan

The first nice Sunday of 1987 in the East Village

'The Fabulous Personalities of 1980s New York'

Sunday, January 18, 2015

6 minutes of the East Village from a 1986 housing crisis documentary

Here's part of the neighborhood as seen in the 1986 documentary "There's No Place Like Home: Housing Crisis, USA."

Sunday, December 28, 2014

A 1980s 'Night Walk' in downtown NYC

[Screengrab from the "Night Watch" trailer]

The Times has a feature today on Ken Schles, who spent part of the 1980s living and taking photographs in the East Village.

He now has a follow-up to his 1988 book "Invisible City" titled "Night Walk."

Here's a description of the book:

Schles revisits his archive and fashions a narrative of lost youth: a delirious, peripatetic walk in the evening air of an irretrievable downtown New York as he saw and experienced it. Night Walk is a substantive, intimate chronicle of New York's last pre-Internet bohemian outpost, a stream of consciousness portrayal that peels back layers of petulance and squalor to find the frisson and striving of a life lived amongst the rubble.

Here's a trailer for the book...

Schles, who now lives in Fort Greene, "rejected the recent tendency to view the East Village of the 1980s as a golden age of louche glamour," according to the Times. "A lot of dysfunction has been romanticized," he said.

The book "is dedicated to the memory of those who died in the scourge of AIDS and violence that gripped the East Village during the 1980s."

Friday, August 22, 2014

Remembering the Dugout

[Looking north on 3rd Avenue at East 13th Street/John Fensten]

Last Friday, I posted sampling of photos that EVG Facebook friend Susan Fensten and her father, John Fensten, took around the East Village in the 1980s.

The above photo showing the old Variety and the Dugout Tavern on the west side of Third Avenue between East 13th Street and East 14th Street brought out the most reader comments.

Back in September 2012, Vanishing New York reader Jason Fernau shared this photo and some memories of the Dugout with Jereniah Moss ...

[Photo from 1983 by Jason Fernau]

The Dugout had one night bartender, Bob from NJ. It seemed like he worked every night, though he must have had a day off. The place was never busy enough to need more than him. I think sometimes in a crunch there was somebody else who would rinse mugs and put them in the freezer. Nicest guy you could ever imagine. Ready with a smile, did what was needed, when it was needed, and we thanked him every time and he thanked us every time for coming in. From the first to the thousandth time you ordered a beer from him, Bob would say "Frosted Mug?" as if the answer could ever be anything but "Yes."

And those frosted mugs were 50 cents.

Read the rest of the post here at Vanishing New York.

The Dugout morphed through the years ... to The Pit Stop, Looking Glass and finally Finnertys.

It was erased to make way for the towering glassy condos of 110 3rd Avenue.

Also, on Wednesday, Curbed did a few now-and-thens with these photos right here.

Previously on EV Grieve:
14 photos of the 1980s East Village

Friday, August 15, 2014

14 photos of the 1980s East Village

[Northeast corner of 1st Avenue and 6th Street/John Fensten]

In recent months, EVG Facebook friend Susan Fensten has posted photos that she and her father, John Fensten, took around the city in the 1980s. Of particular interest to us: The shots of the East Village from that time period.

Susan, who grew up in the neighborhood, gave us permission to post these photos. (Unfortunately, we do not have exact dates and locations for all these.)

Updated to note proper photo credits.

[West side of 3rd Avenue between East 10 and 11th Streets/Susan Fensten]

[Looking north from East Fifth Street/John Fensten]

[Random wall from 1984/Susan Fensten]

[Tompkins Square Park/John Fensten]

[East 5th Street between 1st Avenue and 2nd Avenue/John Fensten]

[First Avenue/John Fensten]

[Union Square/Susan Fensten]

[Looking north on 3rd Avenue at East 13th Street/John Fensten]

[Astor Place/John Fensten]

[Avenue A near East 7th Street/Susan Fensten]

[Behind East Fifth Street between 1st Avenue and 2nd Avenue/John Fensten]

[Leshko's on Avenue A and East 7th Street/Susan Fensten]

[East 4th Street with the Merchant's House on the left/John Fensten]

Friday, December 13, 2013

Walk with Tish Gervais in the East Village of the mid-1980s

Here's another slice-of-East-Village life from the 1980s courtesy of downtown filmmaker Nelson Sullivan … (this video isn't newly uploaded, just new to us).

From the YouTube description:

At this time in the mid-1980s, Tish Gervais was the transgendered star of the moment in New York — not only because she was transgendered but also because she was sexy and talented too. Along the way, Tish and Nelson encountered Lady Bunny with DJ Dmitry and Tish found serveral magazines featuring her photograph. Video by Nelson Sullivan.

There's not a whole of lot action… just sit back and take in the scenery and see what you can still recognize… (EVG Facebook friend Michael Paul put the date at June 1986.)

Sullivan's archive is now at the Fales Library at NYU. He died of an apparent heart attack on July 4, 1989.

H/T esquared™

Previously on EV Grieve:
The East Village of Nelson Sullivan

The first nice Sunday of 1987 in the East Village

'The Fabulous Personalities of 1980s New York'

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A shot in time: First Avenue and East Ninth Street in 1981

EVG reader William Klayer shared this photo that he came across ...looking west out of his former apartment window on First Avenue and East Ninth Street...

Friday, December 2, 2011

Come let us dance in Tompkins Square Park in August 1981

Via the YouTube description:

Outdoor concert crowd cavorts at New York's Tompkins Square Park (East Village) on August 9, 1981 during the "Avenue B is the Place to B" concert. Bands performing at the park band shell (since torn down) that day included Pierce Turner, Essential Bop, Liquid Liquid, Science, and Certain General. The event was produced by Una Johnston and Phelan.

This video footage originally aired in late 1981 on the Manhattan Cable public access television show "New York Entertainment Scene"

Via the PreFab Int'l Videos Archive.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

11th and B circa 1983

BoweryBoogie was first to post this video a few weeks back... it's a short circa 1983 by French filmmaker Marie Martine ... mostly filmed on Avenue B and 11th Street...

The video has been making the rounds... thought we'd also post it... the video is 20 minutes, so dig in...

11th & B from J. Sprig on Vimeo.