Tuesday, November 9, 2010

In the Evening

Thanks to reader Andy Reynolds for sending in this music video from 1984: "In the Evening" by Sheryl Lee Ralph.

It begins in a graffiti- and trash-strewn Astor Place subway station, where a bag lady dressed in pink chiffon and cat-eye glasses is defending a precious box of red shoes from a pair of thugs who wake her from her cardboard bed.



After fighting them off, she emerges to Astor Place, passes the old newsstand recently replaced, and heads down St. Mark's. Outside the vanished Dojo, she digs through the trash and finds an image of her other, more glamorous self--the woman she becomes "in the evening."

I ate many meals from Dojo's, but commenter Flower Power at NYPL recalls in the 1960s when it was "an ice cream store that sold treats with drug names like Panama Red or Acapulco Gold ice cream. Kids showed up with dreams in their eyes and safely slept on the sidewalk lined up like sardines."



From Dojo, the bag lady hustles past the former All-Craft Foundation (once the Dom and Electric Circus), a "resource for people in recovery" from drugs, with its distinctive stairs painted with warnings: NO ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES, NO POT SMOKING.

The All-Craft disappeared in 2000, stranding "hundreds of people who relied daily on the center for sobriety meetings, support, and community. Among them are an impressive blend of punk-rock stylists and senior citizens, Wall Street risers, and down-on-their-luck drifters."

Today it's a strip mall with a Chipotle, Supercuts
, and luxury, bamboo-floored lofts.



From there, the bag lady runs to her crappy apartment in burnt-out Alphabet City. "New York," she sings, "life in the city can be so hard."



In her squat, she transforms into a sequined lady of the night. The dance sequence ensues. In the end, she awakens to daylight in an empty, echoing Times Square that is nearly unrecognizable. The famous Bond clothing store is still there--with a GOING OUT OF BUSINESS banner hanging on its face.

The disco lady turns back into a bag lady and scurries away, into the lost city, to struggle through another day in that tough town.

10 comments:

Shawn Chittle said...

"Purple Rain" is playing at the theater (at the end). Nice! I wonder what street in Alphabet City? Maybe E. 4th btwn C/D? That was one of the most bombed out if I remember right.

Stephanie said...

Great post! I saw Sheryl Lee Ralph in the original production of "Dreamgirls" back in '82.

Signed D.C. said...

Hey, thanks for the link to my Electric Circus piece. Just to clarify, the Bond clothing store closed in 1977, and the Bond Casino nightclub closed in the early '80s. While the neon Bond sign remained there for some years afterwards, that "going out of business" banner in the video has to be for another store.

Bowery Boy said...

Before Dojos, it was called the Ice Cream Connection. I have the original menu board on my kitchen wall. It had been a bathroom step and turned up when we put in a new tub. sprinkles 15 cents.

Signed D.C. said...

Looks like Gael Greene wrote about that ice cream shop in a 1970 New York magazine article.

http://www.insatiable-critic.com/Article.aspx?id=564

Jeremiah Moss said...

Bowery Boy, any chance you could send a shot of that? inquiring minds...

Thanks DC for the clarification on Bond.

Mykola ( Mick) Dementiuk said...

I used to attend the AA meetings at Living Now in the All Craft Center in the early 90s. Before then I was just a worthless alcoholic who didn't know what was what and didn't give a shit about it. They sure put me on the road to recovery. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Great stuff. Did you catch Khandi Alexander in the dance club scene?

Jeremiah Moss said...

thanks again DC, great link. now i need to do something on this ice-cream shop, if i can get some visuals...

never did the dance club scene, Anon. just random dancing here and there.

Diana Burke said...

I am not a New Yorker, and wasn't "there" back in the day, but find it easy to love JM's photography and commentary...what a treasure.