“E. 6th Street between C and D”, photograph by Drew Carolan

Ambrosino, G., Lotringer, S. (2006). David Wojnarowicz : A Definitive History of Five or Six Years on the Lower East Side. New York : Semiotext(e) ; Cambridge, Mass. : Distributed by MIT Press. ISBN: 1584350350

Crimp, Douglas. (1990). AIDS Demo Graphics. Seattle: Bay Press. ISBN-10: 094192016X

Described as a “do-it-yourself manual, showing how to make propaganda work in the fight against AIDS,” this work documents how graphics by controversial artists including Jenny Holzer, Barbara Kruger, and the AIDS activist artist collective Gran Fury have been used by the New York chapter of ACT UP to encourage other groups to right them and develop their own propaganda campaign in the war against AIDS. Illustrated with photos of the protests as well as graphics used in conjunction with them.

a shot from Subway by Bruce Davidson

Davidson, B. (2011). Subway. New York: Aperture. ISBN: 9781597111942 1597111945

First published by Aperture in 1986, Subway has garnered critical acclaim both as a documentation of a unique moment in the cultural fabric of New York City and for its phenomenal use of extremes of color and shadow set against flash-lit skin. In Davidson’s own words, “the people in the subway, their flesh juxtaposed against the graffiti, the penetrating effect of the strobe light itself, and even the hollow darkness of the tunnels, inspired an aesthetic that goes unnoticed by passengers who are trapped underground, hiding behind masks and closed off from each other.”

Deutsche, R. (1996). Evictions : Art and Spatial Politics. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press. ISBN: 0262041588

Considers debates taking place in art, architecture, design and urban studies about the meaning of public space, and places these struggles within broader contests over the definition of democracy, and the future.

Hartman and Bird at Bonds, photograph by Meredith McLouth

Ervin, W. (1985). On the edge : the East VillageNew York : Times Books. ISBN: 081291287X

Hartman, R. (1980). Birds of Paradise: An Intimate View of the New York Fashion World. New York: Delacorte Press. ISBN-10: 0385281005

London, H. (1989). The Broken Apple: New York City in the 1980’s.New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers. ISBN-10: 0887382967

In this book London combines case studies with detailed accounts and editorializing, to describe the social character of NYC in the 1980’s.

Maffi, M. (1995). Gateway to the Promised Land: Ethnic Cultures in New York’s Lower East Side. New York: New York University Press.

Mele, C. (2000). Developing the East Village: Eighties Counterculture in Service of Urban Capital. In: Selling the Lower East Side (chapter 7). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. ISBN-10:0816631816

Examines changes in the Lower East Side neighborhoods of New York City, drawing on the research of the new urban sociology school to demonstrate how cultural perceptions influenced political/economic land usage and the resistance of residents against neighborhood transformation. The author demonstrates how redevelopers symbolically include the ambiance of the bohemian, avant-garde, and dangerous aspects of the Lower East Side while working toward their displacement. Mele provides a comprehensive analysis of the neighborhood’s transformation, complete with useful maps, photographs, and an extensive bibliography.

Photograph by Linda Psomas

Mollenkopf, J.H. (1993). New York City in the 1980s: A Social, Economic, and Political Atlas. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN-10: 0136162932

With 105 colour maps and accompanying texts, this reference details: population and income by ethnic group, poverty rate, employment, suicides, homicides, infant deaths, AIDS deaths, and drug deaths by area of the city; and political matters such as party registration and mayoral voting.

Rose, J., & Texier, C. (Ed.). (1988). Between C & D: New Writing from the Lower East Side Fiction Magazine. New York: Penguin. ISBN 10: 0140105700

Between C & D (1983 – 1990) was a Lower East Side quarterly literary magazine edited by Joel Rose and Catherine Texier. In addition to being a geographic description in the east village, Between C & D has also been suggested to mean “between coke and dope”, giving an indication of the transgressive content and ethos. Its actual tagline was “Sex. Drugs. Danger. Violence. Computers.”. The magazine was printed on computer paper, sold in a plastic bag and featured original artwork on each binding. These limited run editions were collected by New York galleries and libraries and back issues sold on computer disk. This Penguin anthology of 25 stories from the magazine include works by: Roberta Allen, Peter Cherches, Gary Indiana, and Patrick McGrath are noteworthy.

Shabazz, J. (2011). Back in the Days Remix: 10th Anniversary Edition. New York: powerHouse Books. ISBN: 1576875679

Back in the Day, photograph by Jamel Shabazz

This work features photos of early Hip Hop inspiring street fashion from 1980-1989. Includes an introduction by Fab 5 Freddy and afterward by culture historian Carlton Usher Ph.D., online images retrieved 08/20/11 at

The Shifting Skyline: Branding New York in Times of Financial Crisis, retrieved  01/13/10 from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council website:

Sociologist Miriam Greenberg speaks about the marketing of Lower Manhattan’s skyline as a sign of resurgence during the fiscal crisis of the 1970s.

Animal X and fellow performers at the Mudd Club, photograph by Meredith McLouth

Stosuy, B. (Ed.). (2006). Up Is Up, But So Is Down: New York’s Downtown Literary Scene, 1974-1992. New York: NYU Press.

Well received, this oversized volume includes reproductions of archives and literary productions by everyone associated with the downtown scene from Laurie Anderson to Nick Zedd.

Thompson, G. (2007). American culture in the 1980s. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. ISBN 0748619100

Described as “fresh”, this 248 page text give an excellent look at the zeitgeist of the ’80s.

Wallis, B. (Ed.). (1991). If You Lived Here: The City in Art, Theory, and Activism: A Project by Martha Rosler (6). New York: The New Press / Dia Art Foundation.

Cross-discipline look at planning, gentrification, homelessness, artists housing, and shelters.

WABC – YV CH 7 NYC John Lennon Tribute 12-14-80 PT 1. Retrieved: January 16, 2010 from:
Crime rates peaked in the 1980’s, as the murder of John Lennon on Monday, 8 December 1980 outside of his Dakota residence attests. No funeral was held. Yoko Ono sent word to the chanting crowd outside the Dakota that their singing had kept her awake; she asked that they re-convene in Central Park the following Sunday for ten minutes of silent prayer. On 14 December 1980, millions of people around the world responded to Ono’s request to pause for ten minutes of silence to remember Lennon. This news broadcast is about the vigil in Central Park.

Jesse Jackson and Marvin Gaye, photo by Benjamin Pratt

Jesse Jackson and Marvin Gaye, photo by Benjamin Pratt

Webber, M. (2011). 80 Photos of Old New York (1970-1989). Retrieved August 10, 2013, from:

Webber put together this great collection of photos, posted on a NYTimes Travel blog. It gives a real sense of the texture that was NYC in the ’80s. There are a couple of links given on this page to Flickr and .com sites for additional images.

Yablonsky, L. (1998). The Story of Junk: A Novel. New York:Back Bay Books. ISBN 0316968080

From Library Journal:
Like a grisly car accident that you can’t tear your eyes from, Yablonsky’s gripping look at a largely white, middle-class community of heroin users in 1980s New York City is vivid, absorbing, and very grim. As shared needles lead to HIV infection and then AIDS, the narrator of the book, an unnamed female user/dealer, tells an unglamorous, yet oddly seductive, tale that is by turns charming and horrifying. Harrowing descriptions of her drugsick, middle-of-the-night wanderings through crime-saturated neighborhoods provide an incisive glimpse into junk culture. Yablonsky, who has had her own battles with heroin, has written for many publications and has organized readings at several New York venues. Her first novel resists preaching and offers a clear-eyed view of one woman’s descent and ultimate redemption. Highly recommended.Eleanor J. Bader, New Sch. for Social Research, New York


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