This week we’ve seen views of Greenwich Village in the 1940s, early 60s and late 60s verging on the 70s. Now we have a minute of deep 70s village at hand. In some ways this clip is so period-perfect that it doesn’t feel real–more like an expensively re-produced set (complete with CG fill-ins) for some HBO limited series about New York in the 70s. Each car is a perfect 70s vehicle, every pair of pants fits the bill and the entire vibe feels acted–this is a bunch of people ‘playing’ the 70s. And yet it’s for real.
We begin on Bleecker Street where the pedestrians apparently have never seen a camera–they stare at it with puzzlement and fascination as it drives by. Even this feels to me stagy–as if a director was telling them to look awestruck at the passing camera car. (My direction would be: ‘you don’t even notice the camera. You’re New Yorkers and don’t care about such things’). At 1:27 we get to my old corner, 6th Avenue and 4th Street (northwest corner–see yesterday’s post for a history of my Village addresses). There we see the famous landmark steakhouse O. Henry’s, pictured in all its Joe Gould Village glory. Alas it was gone by the time I got there in the mid-90s–I recall it being a crappy bank and at some point a Gap store did a stint there as well. We make our way up 6th Avenue to Washington St. finally catching a glimpse of McBells, a bar that served absolutely the best Burger in the whole damn borough. Next we’re on Carmine St. examining the cars and people and their clothing before the rug is yanked out from under us and the film clip ends. I have no idea what larger film this clip belongs to but I’d love to find it. Perhaps the car ride takes us into the then heroin-centric East Village? Which, if it was produced by HBO, would likely be filled with pedestrians sitting against buildings, all shooting up at the same time while staring at the camera with fascination and delight.