It’s been over four years since the original It Happened Here: 80’s Music Videos graced the pages of Off The Grid. But like all good sequels, this one hopes to be worth the wait.
These last dog days of summer often make one think of their misspent youth; and what better way to see how much has changed, and how much has stayed the same, about those days, and about our neighborhood, than through some classic (or not-so-classic) 80’s music videos.
Cyndi Lauper’s Girls Just Want To Have Fun (1983) brims with connections to the Village. Early in the video the colorful pop star is shown stumbling home early in the morning to her parent’s house on Gay Street, which according to VH1’s Pop Up Videos had been watered down with neighbor and celebrity lawyer William Kunstler’s garden hose to make it look like it had just rained. Later in the video (between 2:50 and 3:07) Cyndi and her fun-seeking friends dance through the sculptures in front of 127 John Street and 88 Water Street in the Financial District. While neither are located in the Village, 88 Water Street was designed by I.M. Pei, known for (among other things) his design of Silver Towers in the Village (which GVSHP got landmarked in 2008, helping to avoid construction by NYU of a 400 ft tall tower on its open space), and 127 John Street (now known as 200 Water Street) for many years functioned as an NYU dorm (it was built as an office tower and has since been converted to residential housing). Near the end of the video (3:43) Lauper is joined at a raucous party at her house by suitor (with flowers) Steve Forbert, a pop/folk musician who got his start in the music clubs of Greenwich Village.
Watch the video here:
Cyndi herself got her start working at Screaming Mimi’s Vintage Clothing, located on Lafayette Street since 1978, and like Steve Forbert, began her music career singing in the Village, albeit on streetcorners.
Nearly all of The Flirts’ Jukebox (Don’t Put Another Dime) (1982) is shot on the streets of the South Village, an area near and dear to GVSHP’s heart, much of which we were able to get landmarked in 2010 and 2013. In fact, nearly the entire video is shot on Bleecker and Carmine Streets, including (appropriately enough) on the fire escape above the (still extant) “House of Oldies” Record Store at the neo-Grec style 1877 pre-law tenement at 35 Carmine Street. Here, in a climactic moment in the video, the girls dump out their old ’45’s, symbolizing their liberation from their leather jacketed, slick-haired, pizza-loving Romeo.
Watch the video here:
Finally, Motley Crue’s Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away) (1989) takes us on a surprisingly redolent trip down memory lane in the pre-Sex and the City, Pre-Pastis, Pre-Whitney Museum Meatpacking District (which was, at the time, an actual meatpacking district). While a few incongruous shots of Downtown L.A. and Hollywood (the ultimate 80’s hair band’s hometown) are interspersed throughout the video, most of the video is shot on and just off the western end of 14th Street, almost entirely within the Gansevoort Market Historic District GVSHP proposed and secured the designation of in 2003.
In fact, much of the video is shot inside what is now the Apple Store at the Arts and Crafts style former wholesale food warehouse 401 West 14th Street (history here). You can even clearly see what’s now known as The Porter House at 62-64 Ninth Avenue (at 15th Street) over lead singer Vince Neil’s shoulder at around 1:02 in the video; of course, this was before the 1906 warehouse, which previously housed meatpacking businesses (read its history here) had a large cantilevered modern addition added to it in 2003 by Greg Pasquarelli of SHoP Architects, and the building was transformed into very expensive residences. The blinking neon lights of the century-old (and still-extant) Old Homestead Steakhouse and the “Homestead Row” of 1840’s rowhouses are also visible here, before they had rooftop additions added in the early 2000’s just prior to landmark designation.
Watch the video here:
Love those 80’s music videos? Watch Tina Turner prance through the West Village, the Rolling Stones wait on a friend on St. Mark’s Place, and a 6-year old mohawked punk destroy the High Line here.