For extra bonus Tuesday fun, while watching the video, play the original opening theme to Sesame Street.
The New Yorkers I’ve met who lived there in the '70s and early '80s don’t have much nostalgia for that time, (except perhaps for apartment rental rates). From what I’ve gathered, even taking the art and music and cultural scene into account, they all agreed those days are better relegated to film archives and great movies from the period than they are to be romanticised and re-created.
Its funny the first two posts mentioned Sesame Street and Taxi Driver, because those are the first two things my brain went to.
Man, it seems like there were so many more children in Manhattan.
Samuel R Delany’s Times Square Red, Times Square Blue is a deep essay on the Times Square that existed before Disneyfication and gentrification. My notes are at
In general, we don’t let kids outside any more…
i was a high school kid in manhattan 76-80 – all my part time jobs were in manhattan too. and for my friends and me it was the greatest place in the world to be. i hated going back to flushing, queens at the end of the day – whenever that happened to be.
Ahh, the era of gas guzzling cars, smog, and leaded gas poisoning all.
Yeah, that’s probably a big part of it and I couldn’t find any historical demographic data to support it, but it does make me sad to see fewer kids outside.
Having said that, there is a lot of pushback against treating kids like parakeets or letting them regress to screen zombies. I think most parents innately want to see kids playing free, but they’re so terrified of the world of fear and mistrust we’ve built they don’t know where to begin. Mrs Peas knows, though.
While living in NYC in the 70s, Belgian film maker Chantal Akerman shot a few shorts and three documentaries. One doc, News From Home, focused exclusively on everyday street scenes and the subway, all apparently limited to Manhattan Island. For this ex-NYer, it was very interesting to once again see the (ahem) “interesting” clothing fashions and all the great older architecture (now likely all gone now or turned into lofts?) located in what looked to be the meatpacking district. I wonder if Belgian Chantel and her small crew knew that the bare streets in that district were set with Belgian Blocks.
I lived in that area during the early 2000s, when there was actually blood on those Belgian Block streets. In the space of about five years, the area was completely transformed.
Early 2000s. Asphalted over by then? By that time, long-ignored late 19th and early 20th century signage (hanging from abandoned buildings) would have been taken down or **simply covered over. In Akerman’s News From Home (1976), one street scene showed this sign still hanging: New York Egg Exchange.
** Already settled in SoCal and visiting B’klyn back in the mid-80s, I saw that one of the small, clothing shops on Grand Street was being turned into a cafe. The clothing shop’s sign had been taken down, revealing the original sign, likely from no later than the early 20th century. Looked to be painted tin (?) with the proprietor’s name writ large: A. Biebermann, I think. No idea what the business was.
It was so much more dangerous.
What were the kids playing at 1:27?
Very hard to tell. At first glance it looks like craps, but with kids it’s more likely a baseball card flipping or tossing game
I’m a third-generation Californian who survived an impoverished time in NYC circa 1966-68. Too much trash (garbage collectors were often out on strike). Too much gratuitous violence on the mean streets.
Yet my Californian sister dared to move to Brooklyn in the 1980s, working as a subway security chief while creating sardonic paintings and sculptures of those she encountered Hey, we all cope in our own ways! 8-(.