Thursday, May 29, 2014

Village People's New York

In the Village People's video for "YMCA," a few glimpses of the vanished city.





The piers, the Ramrod, and the original McBurney Y.



In 2000, the Y -- where the Village People said you could go when you’re short on your dough -- moved to 14th Street and the old building went up for sale.

Across from the Chelsea Hotel since 1904, it sold for $8.5 million, and then sold again in 2003 for $12.5 million. The upper floors of the were converted into large “ultraluxury” condos, while the lower floors were given over to the David Barton gym. In the Times, the new building owner said the gym would be a "one of a kind luxury spa." "They are planning a Turkish Room," he said, "with indoor waterfalls and eucalyptus scrubs done by men in sarongs, combined with afternoon tea."

In the Voice, Michael Musto wrote about the grand opening. He reported, “scantily clad guys and gals sported the motto ‘Look better naked’ in body glitter or on T-shirts, and five wackos dressed like the Village People pranced around a steamy stage as ‘YMCA’ boomed out of the sound system.”



If the YMCA video doesn't satisfy your Village People needs, their movie Can't Stop the Music is streaming on Netflix. It's a 1980 extravaganza of glitter, tight jeans, and Bruce Jenner. It includes a few scenes of the Village streets, mostly along Bleecker and Christopher.



In one longer scene, the whole band, along with Valerie Perrine and Jenner (in crop top) walk along Bleecker from 10th Street, past a rug store called La Chambre Perse (now 7 For All Mankind), a number of antiques shops, and one Joe's Hand Laundry. Today they have all replaced by luxury shopping mall chain stores.



10 comments:

Ken Mac said...

Speaking of antique stores, have you noticed that they're now all gone from Broadway below the Strand? There used to be three of them in a row -- all gone. I'm foggy, might be same area between 13th and 10th on Second, but all gone,

Anonymous said...

Also, nice shot of the old elevated Westside Highway before it was torn down.

laura r. said...

that was an antique district. sorry to see it go. btw, 2nd or 3rd ave in the e.50's was an antique district too. most or all gone w/the wind. we are a fast food cell phone chaindrugstore froyo culture.

Edwin B said...

I used to dream of moving here like so many others. I bring my HS students from Milwaukee on a DC/NYC trip to get a first hand glimpse at politics and culture (many have not even been on a plane)...as the guides take them around it all seems to be explained in the past tense. Used to be an Irish Neighborhood, Bleeker St was especially depressing for me. I understand that change is inevitable and sometimes necessary, but a burrrough built by poor immigrants should still have some... no? I am no longer jealous of this place. There's still some character I suppose that will always remain...just feels kind of contrived and superficial...almost like a marketing ploy. I prefer my walkable and cheaper COMMUNITY in po dunk Milwaukee any day where we have community meetings people actually attend among other things. Additionally I teach some pretty poor children and the money around here now seems much more pervasive. I use Manhattan as a way to teach inequality now. It was actually angering to me to see the dickish wealth around here...sad business...our nations cultural mecca in decay...$$$$$$$$

Anonymous said...

Can't stop the music is a fantastic movie and a must if you really want to see what we have lost. The movie is full of good energy, wooden acting, good or bad music depending on your taste, but it is also a time capsule of the freedom to be yourself in even a tough town like New York.

John M said...

You said it, Edwin. Try living here full time. It deadens your soul on a daily basis.

Anonymous said...

@laura r. There are still plenty of antique shops and design stores along the side streets of the East 50s between 2nd and 3rd Avenues.

laura r. said...

anon 11:32, thats good to know. i have taken busses down 2nd ave & up 3rd. what seems to stick out & get my attention are the cell phone places. lets hope some interesting stores will be around for a while.

Anonymous said...

I've been nyc for 9years and I'd rather live no where else. Especially, a small town, village or tiny city for that mater. Nyc charges me everyday! It might lose it's charm one day, but not anytime soon. Just wanted to give you an opinion of someone who appreciates the way nyc constantly changes

Anonymous said...

Nyc recharges me everyday! When I'm away I cant wait to get back