Thursday Throwback: Documentary of Lower East Side, Circa 1983 [Video]

Posted on: October 20th, 2011 at 6:28 am by

Over the summer, the folks at Dangerous Minds uncovered a stellar video documenting 1960s life on the Lower East Side. All in color. It’s a stunning look at a time most often seen in black-and-white. Now another fascinating clip has come to light, this one showing the neighborhood in 1983.

French filmmaker Marie Martine directed this short documentary that harkens back to pre-gold-rush life on the Lower East Side, principally at Avenue B and East 11th Street. The time-capsule experience is synchronized to the music of Alan Vega, Wipeout Beat, Decade of Decay, Martin Rev, and The False Prophets; plus, the sounds of everyday life were also thrown into the mix. Bask in what was.

It’s twenty minutes, so set aside a nice block of time to watch.  The recently-shuttered Life Cafe is at the 17:00 mark…

And because it’s so fitting, we’ll follow suit and include an excerpt from New York Magazine in May 1984.

In the seventies hundreds of buildings were abandoned, buildings with no heat, no hot water, no locks. The landlords had wrung all the money they could get out of them….Today [1984] whole blocks between Avenues A and D are lined with the carcasses of buildings. Vast stretches of land are covered with crumbled bricks and cement. Until recently, lines of drug buyers snaked around the blocks….When Father Moloney found a dead body near the Christadora Building last year, the police acted almost unconcerned. ‘We are in a no man’s land,’ he was told. ‘They can dump anything they want here.”

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