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