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…

http://vimeo.com/30811222

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.”

Recent Stories

cafe-habana-prince-protest
The Cuban Corn Crisis on Prince Street

The corner of Prince and Elizabeth Streets was noticeably quiet yesterday as Cafe Habana’s lunch patrons were met with a locked door instead of the trendy cafe’s signature Cuban grilled corn. Throughout the day, would-be patrons who normally loiter outside while waiting for tables or chomping down on corn, appeared confused at the closure. That […]

against-nature-closed-chrystie
‘Against Nature’ Boutique on Chrystie Street Shutters After 6 Years

Fashion flight hits Chrystie Street. Against Nature, the men’s boutique that debuted back in 2010, shuttered this week. It rolled up and consolidated with the flagship store on Christopher Street. Not entirely unexpected. A few weeks ago, the Lee & Associates brokerage installed an enormous leasing banner on the facade. What we often call tombstone […]

3essex-masks-2
How about this New Essex Street Funhouse?

In the years since its sale, 3 Essex Street has remained remarkably intact. No demolition. No changing hands. No real activity. Until this week, when the tenement became a funhouse of sorts. In a display more befitting Halloween than Valentine’s Day, each of the upper windows dons a ghoulish mask. Topping it off is a […]

Le-pain-bleecker-1
Le Pain Quotidien Unveils its Second Bleecker Street Outpost

Le Pain Quotidien just planted another flag downtown. The Belgian-style bakery is poised to open its umpteenth city location in the kink of Bleecker Street, where American Apparel previously outfitted NYU students. Now it’ll fatten them up. The teaser signage was recently scraped away to reveal the bi-level innards. No word just yet on opening […]

essex-crossing-gateway-2_wm
Phase 2 of Essex Crossing will Break Ground in June with More Affordable Housing

Essex Crossing is firing on all burners. Full throttle. Two of the four new buildings are topped out, with the balance reaching skyward each day; the 24-story “Gateway” (Site 2) and 242 Broome Street condos (Site 1) are currently sporting some major heft. But this is a rolling process, and, recent progress notwithstanding, sights are […]