Posts Tagged ‘East Village Eye’

Bands booked at Irving Plaza in October 1983

October 6, 2014

Irving Plaza has featured music in some form or another since the 1920s: ballroom dancing, folk hootenannies, Polish songs.

By the late 1970s, it was a rock venue. And if you were young and reasonably into up and coming bands in 1983, these are the groups you’d have been able to see.

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The Violent Femmes! I wouldn’t mind going back in time to see them play in their heyday.

This ad appeared in the downtown alternative arts and entertainment paper the East Village Eye. Browsing their digital archive is a lot of fun.

A map of the trendy 1983 East Village art scene

July 21, 2014

“East Village galleries are multiplying like white rats,” wrote Carlo McCormick in the East Village Eye in October 1983.

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“What was once a small handful of peculiarly out-of-place storefronts that even this rag ignored is now an ever-increasing network of more credible and slicker galleries being written about by the likes of the Voice, the N. Y. Times, Art News, Arts Magazine, and Art in America plus a host of Japanese and European magazines that always seem to know what’s going on here before we do.”

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While the 1980s East Village art scene went bust before it could live up to the promise laid out in the article, this accompanying map gives a small sense of the neighborhood 31 years ago.

Another East Village Eye guide from 1985 runs down the club scene and bars where you’d be drinking if you lived there in the Reagan era.

Hmm, how many of these addresses are now fro-yo shops or bank branches?

Where to buy zines in the 1980s East Village

January 6, 2014

Remember the zine era? Those stapled, Xeroxed, cranked-out-in-someone’s-basement homemade magazines lined the shelves of independent bookstores and music shops through the 1990s.

SeehearphotofromyelpOne of the best places to browse and discover a new zine was at See Hear, inside a gritty basement storefront on East Seventh Street between First and Second Avenues.

It’s hard to imagine now, in our message- and media-saturated world, but See Hear contained a treasure of independent voices that, in an era before blogs, tweets, and Instagram, would otherwise never be heard.

Testimonials to the store’s incredible variety and the thrill of discovering something new there are all over the web. Just a few months ago, Alex at Flaming Pablum paid homage.

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See Hear is firmly etched in the 1990s for me. Yet they opened years earlier. This ad comes from the February 1986 issue of the East Village Eye.

Zines still exist, but See Hear does not. They shut their doors in the early 2000s [Top photo from Yelp].

A punk rock shrine in the 1980s East Village

March 25, 2013

“This is where the hard-core kids come to outfit themselves,” states a 1987 New York write-up about Trash & Vaudeville, the punk rock clothing mecca launched in 1975 that’s responsible for the Ramones’ leather jackets and introducing Doc Martens to the U.S.

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Their early 1980s ads are great. This one comes from the September 1984 issue of the East Village Eye, and based on the guys’ suits, it looks like the store is trying to cater to a less hardcore crowd.

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The best-sellers today? Kid-size leather jackets and a top hat a la Slash.

What a downtown or Brooklyn rental cost in 1983

January 31, 2013

A 1200 square foot Soho studio for $1350 a month?

An impossible find in 2013—but available 30 years ago (perhaps even without a fee!), according to this ad from the May 1983 issue of arts and entertainment monthly the East Village Eye.

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It’s not the only rental that sounds absurdly inexpensive to New Yorkers conditioned to pay an average of up to $3,973 a month for a Manhattan apartment these days.

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If you were willing to give “historic” South Williamsburg a try, you could score a two bedroom “modern” rental for $330 a month. Broadway and Marcy Avenue was probably a pretty rough place though.

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An East Village subhed in the three digits per month? That was the going rate for this three-room place on Second Avenue and 10th Street, according to this East Village Eye ad from September 1984.

Music and theater on East 10th Street in the ’80s

December 27, 2012

LimboloungeIf you found yourself looking for entertainment in the East Village 30 years ago, you might have ended up at the Limbo Lounge, described as a “gallery and performance space; serves refreshments” in this 1984 New York cover story on the newly hip Lower East Side.

This is where campy cult play Vampire Lesbians of Sodom got its start in 1984, two years before the Limbo Lounge closed.

Then there’s 350 East 10th Street, the former PS 64, decommissioned as a school and used for years as a performance space for community groups, artists, and musicians.

Rockers, rappers, breakers, and scratchers—and local punk band 3 Teens Kill 4, wonderfully named after a New York Post headline! Both ads come from the May 1983 issue of the East Village Eye.

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A 1983 art show on the Williamsburg Bridge

October 25, 2012

Could this May 1983 ad be the first sign of the coming artist colonization and eventual gentrification of Williamsburg?

Published in the now-defunct downtown arts monthly East Village Eye, it promoted an outdoor sculpture exhibition set up on the Delancey Street side of the empty and decrepit Williamsburg Bridge.

98 Bowery, a website that chronicles the East Village/Lower East Side arts scene of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, has a writeup and photos of the Williamsburg Bridge Show, as it was known:

“The neglected promenade seemed like the perfect place for a large-scale sculpture show. For two years, the sculptors grappled with the strict requirements imposed by the city’s Department of Transportation, which administers the deteriorating bridge.”

“The opening coincided with the centennial celebration of the Brooklyn Bridge, a synchrony which attracted attention to the show. The works, however, also attracted vandals and thieves, and a number of sculptures disappeared before a week had passed.”

You might recognize at least one artist’s name: Tom Otterness. He’s the sculptor behind those whimsical brass figures and critters at the Eighth Avenue and 14th Street subway station.

Long-defunct clubs of 1980s Manhattan

April 12, 2012

They’re physically gone, but these performance spaces still live on in vintage newspaper ads—in this case the September 1984 issue of monthly East Village arts paper East Village Eye.

It must have been rough getting over to Chandalier, between Eighth and Ninth Streets off Avenue C. In 1984, this wasn’t exactly gentrified territory.

“The door opens onto a long narrow room, the front half of which serves as the performance space and seating area,” states this reference. “The back half houses the wooden bar with several wobbly stools, a fireplace that doesn’t seem to work, and piecemeal old furniture where spectators sit waiting for the performance to start.”

Today the building houses a hardware store.

The Shuttle, not far away on East Sixth Street between Avenues A and B, opened in 1984. A former squat, the space hosted readings, art exhibits, and East Village character/character actor Rocket Redglare’s cabaret show.

121 West 31st Street is an unmarked storefront, and almost no trace of Pizza a Go Go—a former dance club?—remains.

But there is this reference to the place; it’s on a page of party pics featuring a young Madonna and other cool kids from a monthly paper called NY Talk.

The “epidemic of peddlers” at Cooper Square

February 9, 2012

Before the luxe hotels, pretentious condos, and plans for a pedestrian plaza, the Astor Place-Cooper Square area in the 1980s and early 1990s was crammed with peddlers selling anything: books, old clothes, worn shoes, toiletries (I saw a half-empty box of tampons once!), and other items salvaged from trash.

The caption to this photo, from the June 1985 edition of the East Village Eye, takes a sympathetic view toward the peddlers.

“Cooper Square street peddlers compete for sidewalk space and cope with the ever-present threat of police sweeps,” it reads.

Not everyone felt the same way. A New York piece from 1993 called “The Village Under Siege” described it as “a sidewalk market” providing “cover for fences and drug dealers.”

Later in the article, a rep for Cooper Union described the peddlers as “Bangladesh on the north and Calcutta on the south.”

Super cheap East Side apartments in the 1980s

September 26, 2011

Do you ever wish that you could go back in time and pay 1980s prices for Manhattan real estate today?

If you could jump in the way back machine to 1984, a one- or  two-bedroom apartment in the Norfolk Arms at 170 Norfolk Street could be yours for under $65,000.

What would you pay these days to live in what was then a dicey block on the Lower East Side? According to Streeteasy, the number would be in the vicinity of a half million.

The “Village East” address in this ad isn’t specific, but 2,500 square feet of “rawish” loft space for under two grand a month sounds like a steal.

Both ads come from the September 1984 issue of the East Village Eye.


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