A day in NY in the early 1980s through the eyes of musicians, artists, activists, filmmakers, and more

I recently bumped into this piece in The New York Times Style Magazine from a few years ago which chronicles a day in the life of New York City in the early 80s through the memories of dozens of well-known NY artists (of all stripes), gallerists, club owners, and activists.

Kim Gordon, musician

When I first moved to the city, there was a garbage strike. I was hustling. I had a horrible graveyard shift at a coffee shop, one of the only places to eat in Chelsea, open 24 hours — super crickets, deserted. I worked part-time for gallerist Annina Nosei. She and Larry Gagosian had this space, it was a condo loft in a building on West Broadway. [By 1 a.m.] I’d be somewhere like [the TriBeCa No Wave club] Tier 3, seeing [the electronic Berlin band] Malaria!, and then walking over to Dave’s Luncheonette. A lot of the alternative spaces — Franklin Furnace, A-Space — had music, too. Hearing hip-hop on the street, minimalist new music, free jazz — it all added to this fabric that was a landscape.

I was kind of tomboyish, but also pretty poor. I had glasses, so I put these flip-up sunglass visors on them. But I didn’t feel super cool or anything. The people who were chic, the downtowners, pretty much just wore black — that could instantly give you a look. Our first goal [as Sonic Youth] was getting a gig at CBGB. Then it was getting a good time slot at CBGB, so you weren’t on last and weren’t on first. Read the rest

Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac hang out with New York's beats, 1959

Bruce Sterling: *THEY DON’T LOOK countercultural cliche-dramatic, they don’t have beatnik berets or bongos. You wouldn’t look at them twice in New York City, but there’s still something subtly off about them. I think it’s that plethora of pens in Ginsberg’s untucked shirt." Read the rest