Footage of the Lower East Side in 1983

10.20.11 Marina Galperina

LES80sHere’s a nostalgia-inducing short film by French filmmaker Marie Martine, shot in the wild days of the Lower East Side’s artistic happenings and urban decay, with glimpses of Scott Borofsky making street art and clip-board wielding Guerrilla Girls in full ape costume.

Also: lots of smiling locals, punks, crazies, glowing crosses, burning skulls, tinted skies, brick ruins erratically montaged to Alan Vega and Martin Rev — obviously, a far, far cry from the gentrified, scintillating condo lands of today’s there-abouts, where, apparently, Alphabet City doesn’t even exist anymore.

This, via Dangerous Minds:

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.” New York magazine – May 28, 1984.

Cue Westerns score.