Thursday, March 6, 2014

200 Cigarettes

200 Cigarettes is not the greatest movie ever made, but it's worth watching, if only because it was filmed in the East Village in the 1990s (it takes place in the 1980s), and features shots of many vanished spots.



It's the story of a girl waiting for guests to show up to her New Year's Eve party. The guests are all involved in their own personal dramas--two girls from Long Island panic as they cross Avenue B, Paul Rudd and Courtney Love bicker their way from 7th Street to Avenue A--and they arrive late to the party.



There's Gaby Hoffman in front of Body Worship, a fetish shop on E. 7th Street that featured a penis for a door handle. In 1994, the shop caused an uproar on the block for its window display of "two mannequins striking sexually revealing master/slave poses prepared to engage in explicit sadomasochistic activities."



There's Eddie Boros' Tower of Toys, destroyed in 2008. And the "old" Odessa, its neon turned off forever this past fall.



But best of all are several scenes shot inside and outside of Leshko's. While exterior shots are fairly plentiful, it's not easy to find interior photos of the lost coffee shop, vanished from 7th and A in 1999 after being in business since 1957.



Today, Leshko's old spot is filled with the hideous, screaming Yuca Bar. But we can look back and remember how it used to be.











20 comments:

drorit said...

Ah, Body Worship! When did that place close down? I used to walk past it every day after elementary school on my way to Middle Collegiate Church's after school program. The penis door handle was especially intriguing.

Anonymous said...

The earliest memory I have in life, period, is sitting in Leshko's having pudding.

Space Pope said...

My wife and I went to see that in the theaters and was shocked to see so many people of our mutual acquaintance in it. People were annoyed when I jumped up and yelled out 'Holy Crap that's Spike! Nobody else could look so clueless!'

It was fun seeing all the places like The Gas Station and such that I used to hang out in and got kicked out of.

Anonymous said...

I disagree...

This is the BEST movie ever!

Anonymous said...

One of my favorite NYC movies of all time. This film was hilarious and yes it's sad that the East Village doesn't look like this anymore. There is nothing unique about NYC anymore. So commercial now. This film has been a cable a lot recently...

Anonymous said...

How aren't there ANY comments yet? This movie is one of those 90's classics- along with She's All That,
Never Been Kissed, Can't Hardly Wait & Varsity Blues- except that it takes place in New York! I know it's a cheese-fest movie but I love the East Village scenery of it. Takes me back. I lived in the E Village from 1994-1997 -just as it was starting to"get nice"- the Bowery, CBGB's, St. Mark's, Tompkins Sq Park, Alphabet City -still had a little bit of grit left to it. Now, like the rest of Manhattan- it's too nice! It's all millionaires & billionaires! Oh well, fellow New Yorkers- we still got each other!

Goggla said...

I really like this movie and actually own a copy. As far as I know, it's out of print and I had a hard time finding a DVD, but it's out there and worth watching. As time goes by, the scenery becomes more and more of a nostalgia trip.

It's also a must-see for Martha Plimpton and Elvis Costello fans. :)

Zach said...

Yuca Bar is actually pretty awesome and its created great memories for those who enjoy it today. Its a shame you are so biased. I understand the nostalgia but there is a difference between that and cynicism. You should be able to pick your spots.

John M said...

Every time I've gone by Yuca Bar it's filled with d-bags and Carries shouting over the too-loud music. Maybe I just always go by at the wrong time.

Jeremiah, I'm surprised you left out the most important part of the Body Worship story. It was right across the street from the Polish Catholic church, the one with the bust of the Polish Pope out front. Churchgoers complained that the store window was something they didn't want to encounter on their way to and from church every week. That was a big part of the 'controversy.'

The early to mid 90s was the best time to be here. A lot of people still stayed away because of the neighborhood's reputation from the bad old days, but it was so much safer by then. Oddly enough, the 90s was the only time I was held up by a gun-toting thief...something that cracked me up and still does. I gave him my fortune of $40 and he told me to 'have a good one' as he ran off.

Better manners in his own strange way than some of the suburban jerks I run into these days around here.

Here's one for you, Jeremiah. What was the name of the restaurant that opened on the corner by the park on A where Doc Holliday's is now? It was the first non-Slavic, non-diner- or burger-type place I recall by the park. I think the couple who had it were French or Belgian. Nice place.

Barbara L. Hanson said...

The Pharmacy

Anonymous said...

Question for Jeremiah:

Would you have agreed with the churchgoers at St. Stanislaus (opened for business on E7th St. 1901) had they objected to Body Worship’s display thusly: “I’m for democracy and letting everybody live, but you gotta have some respect. You can’t just come in when people have a culture that’s been laid down for generations, and you come in and now shit gotta change because you’re here? Get the fuck outta here. Can’t do that!”

10:48 am said...

Of course "Zach" would love the Yuca Bar. Why is it that the foodies, hipsters, trendeaters, wall street and fratboy dbags and their sorotistutes get offended whenever their beloved joint gets critiqued or criticized? They take these things personally. You criticize the Momofukers and they go huffing and puffing about it. Yuca? No, no,. no, that's sacred to them. So yeah, JM, leave Yuca, Luca, Momofuku Ko, 13th Step,... heck about 90% of trendeateries in the EV alone. If you don't like Yuca Bar, then move to_______. NYC is constantly changing, blah, blah, blah.

Tony Devers said...

Leshko's breakfast 1991...$1:70, only place I could afford...

Anonymous said...

"Of course "Zach" would love the Yuca Bar."

what a snobby thing to say. you're worse than any of the people you disdain so much.

Anonymous said...

12:51 pm, is that you Buffy? Madison? Connor?

Not as disdainful as the people who patronizes Yuca Bar and who are now gentrifying the East Village, bro, brah, sistah, like yah!

Pat said...

I remember when Sugar Reef opened and there was such an outcry about it being a yuppie hang. Maybe it was, at night, I went there 1988 in the afternoon when there was almost no one there. I loved the garlic chicken with rice and beans and the bartender was friendly. Nice place.

Anonymous said...

I live above Yuca Bar (and actually saw 200 Cigarettes being filmed). If the way they keep the backyard is any indication of the standards in the kitchen, watch out people!

Ken Mac said...

I remember that town.

Greg Masters said...

The b/w indie film, No Picnic, made by the couple who started Two Boots, was shot in 1985 and documents around 80 locations in the East Village, most of them long gone. Well worth seeing, a good noir narrative, plus a loving, detailed observance of a disappearing neighborhood and culture. I believe they have a copy at the video store within the Two Boots on Ave. A and East 3rd St.

Lisa said...

I saw 200 Cigarettes originally because the apartment party scenes were filmed in the apartment where I spent several actual New Year's Eves in the mid-late 90s. It really was on Avenue D, and they didn't even change all of the decor for filming. I had no idea that all of those familiar landmarks would be gone in less than 15 years.