Posts Tagged ‘New York City in the 1980s’

Catching up with Studio 54, the magazine

September 13, 2021

Remember Studio 54? Remember magazines? The nightclub that defined disco debauchery in Manhattan in the late 1970s had a legendary three-year run under the founders, Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell.

Reopened under new ownership in 1981, the club kept going—with the help of a 1982 specialty publication called “Studio 54: The Magazine.”

The first issue, from 1982, is a time capsule of early 1980s celebrity culture. Interviews with Peter Allen, Valerie Simpson, and a host of other stars fill the pages, along with lots of black and white shots of A-listers partying.

Studio 54 apparently stayed open as a nightclub until 1986, but the cache was gone. And the magazine? That’s a mystery. But based on the ad above, they had big plans to keep publishing!

Sunbathing on a Midtown tenement’s tar beach

June 23, 2014

You can practically smell the coconut oil: Photographer Thomas Hoepker takes us back to New York City in 1983 with this evocative image of a rooftop sunbather on a lonely tenement somewhere in Midtown.

It looks hot up there with the black tar roof. Note the TV antennas!


More of Hoepker’s New York photos spanning many decades can be seen here.

© Thomas Hoepker/Magnum Photos

The long, tragic history of a Chelsea bathhouse

May 9, 2011

The luxurious Everard Baths, opened in a former Romanesque Revival–style church at 28 West 28th Street in 1888, was supposed to be a place devoted to health and fitness. Really.

Started by James Everard, who made a fortune running the Everard Brewery on 135th Street, the baths launched amid the Turkish bath fad of the 1800s.

“Unlike ordinary public baths, where workers went to wash if they didn’t have bathrooms, Turkish baths were popular among the middle class and wealthy, who frequented them to relax in the pools,” explained a 1977 New York Times article.

Turkish baths had another clientele: gay men.

By the 1920s, the baths had become a “bathhouse and dormitories,” divided into tiny cubicles.

The Everard existed for decades as another unmarked bathhouse occasionally subjected to police raids.

But then on May 25, 1977, a fire broke out there, killing nine young men.

The Everard was open for another nine years until the city shut it down in 1986 in response to the AIDS epidemic.

Today, the unassuming building on a dingy Chelsea block houses a wholesale clothing distributor.

1980s East Village cafes still packing crowds

August 4, 2010

Restaurants have always had a short shelf life in New York.

But even in today’s frat bar-happy, quasi-Bridge and Tunnel East Village, some old-school eateries are still drawing crowds.

From the January 1986 issue of local arts newspaper the East Village Eye comes this ad for Life Cafe—once a refuge for the bloody and battered who were caught up in the Tompkins Square Park riots of the late 1980s.

I never knew Yaffa Cafe had a slogan. But here it is in their ad from the same newspaper.

The crime behind the best tabloid headline ever

March 29, 2010

“Headless Body in Topless Bar,” the New York Post‘s April 15, 1983 front page headline, is regarded as a work of headline-writing art.

But the story that inspired it is truly gruesome. And the guy convicted of the murder still denies any involvement.

After drinking heavily at a club called Herbie’s Bar in Jamaica, Charles Dingle, 23, shot the owner in the head.

Drunk and high on coke, he took four women hostage, raping one and robbing the bar manager.

In her purse he found a card indicating that she was a mortician.

Hoping to avoid being tied to the murder, he forced her to dig the bullet out of the owner’s head. That didn’t work. So he made her decapitate him with a steak knife.

Dingle later hijacked a gypsy cab, took two hostages with him plus the severed head, and drove to Broadway and 168th Street, where he passed out and was arrested.

Convicted of murder, rape, and robbery, Dingle got 25 years to life. His next parole hearing: 2011.

Lower East Side loft! $1150/month!

December 2, 2009

The rent for these big duplex lofts (Spiral staircase! Full kitchen!) sounds pretty cheap today.

But in July 1984, when this ad ran in the East Village Eye, wouldn’t $1150 and $1300 a month be kind of on the pricey side?

I wonder what the location was and if these apartments still exist—or if they’ve been boutique-hotelized.