Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Meatpacking 1980s

When Yvonne B. commented on my post about Ivy Brown and the Triangle Building, I wrote to her and asked if she might share some of her memories of life as a young transgender woman in the Meatpacking District in the 1980s. Very generously, she sent along not only her memories, but also a group of wonderful photos. The following is all Yvonne.



I didn't live in the Meatpacking area. I just went there cause of the Vault club. I wasn't one of the regular street walkers, I was mostly a loner who at times would get picked up by passing guys who cruised looking for transsexual hookers. I wasn't dressed sexy like the other girls. I was a punk t-girl, but some guys thought it was a cute style, so they took me. I needed money to live.

I looked quite young for my age and I believe I attracted a maybe more perv type of guy, maybe pedophile type. They were nasty. I met them in Times Square, as well. One night a guy drove up to me and he looked just like a teacher I had in school. It felt strange so I walked away.




As I said, I was mostly a loner. I went to the Vault club quite a few times in the mid eighties. I had two friends that I went with, Jimmy and Linda. I would like to know what happened to them, maybe just to know if they are doing OK. I met a few strange characters at the club. One was a guy dressed in rags crawling around the floor. There was also the horse guy with a saddle on his back. It was a bizarre club but it seemed like the men outnumbered the girls in a big way, and single girls seemed kinda rare.



I do remember one night a bunch of street girls ran into the bagel store when a police car cruised by, as if the police would never think to look for anyone in the only store open in the area.



I don't remember the bone trucks. But I do remember the bone trucks where I grew up in the Bronx. People called them the glue trucks cause they thought the bones were used for making glue.



I did go to the Meatpacking area in the daytime when I sometimes went to Lee's Mardi gras store. I knew that Lee Brewster was an influential figure on the rights of the transgender, so I thought that buying things there was the least I could do to say thanks. The building that housed Lee's had an elevator that opened right onto the street. There was no lobby or entrance way, just an elevator door. Someone from Lee's would come down with the elevator to sort of escort one to the store. I kinda knew two people that worked at Lee's, Shannon and Robbie. Shannon was in the movie Wigstock. She was in the scene fitting Joey Arias with a wig that was like putting on a helmet.



I was told through the rumor mill that Raquel Welch would shop at Lee's, but I don't know for sure. The store had its mix of people, from transsexuals to hairy suburban crossdressers. I heard that some of the crossdressers were truck drivers shopping after they unloaded their goods and had spare time to shop for frilly clothing.

11 comments:

Mykola ( Mick) Dementiuk said...

Man, what beautiful Saturday and Sunday mornings were! And how easily you got a tranny hooker taking you to a un-peopled area where you could do what had to get done, getting blown by a transvestite. Man, the memory still gets me hard, I wanna do it again! But time has passed us by...I wonder if I ever got blown my her? Ooo, that still gets me hard...

Marty Wombacher said...

Thanks for sharing your memories with us, Yvonne B. Great tales from an era that's long gone. I hope you're doing well these days.

Anonymous said...

I love that the vines in the second photo are still on that building, today. Amazing to think that something like that could survive in this city, especially when that corner has changed so dramatically in the last three decades. Thanks for sharing these!

JAZ said...

Echo what Marty said - thank you very much for your recollections, and hope you are well.

Man, I love those photos; the High Line looks so majestic and proud there, not like the declawed and packaged for consumption version being sold over the counter to the hungry tourists like a happy meal.

Goggla said...

Thank you so much for sharing this.

Ken Mac said...

Golden

Anonymous said...

The Vault, Hellfire and Mothers - wild times with wild people. Any body remember the name of the Bagel Store? It was one of my favorite places for an early morning bite.

Anonymous said...

The Bagel store was called "Dizzy Izzy's".
What a fantastic/freaky mix of people you'd find in there! I would sometimes stop in pre "Jackie 60" with my friend who go-go danced there (at Jackie). Thanks for sharing those pics, brought back some good memories...

Yvonne B said...

Thanks Jerimiah for showing my pics. I'm going to start a flkir page with more of my pics from the 80's NYC. Mostly pics of below 14st of Manhattan. And thanks everyone for the comments. Yvonne B

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Anon. 7:10, for the bagle shop name. I knew it rhymed, but I wasn't getting much further than that.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Yvonne!!!