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80 Blocks from Tiffany's: they were criminals, but they were also charming
October 12, 2011 8:30 AM   Subscribe

80 Blocks from Tiffany’s was what The Warriors, the cultish and campy Hollywood street gang movie involving roller skates and a race to Coney Island, could never be. It was real. Shot over the course of a couple of weeks in the summer of ’79 (as the seeds of hip-hop culture were slowly sprouting in the BX), 80 Blocks from Tiffany’s, produced by Lorne Michaels [and directed by SNL director Gary Weis], veers away from the social commentary typically associated with gang exposés. Instead, the 60-minute documentary focuses on the personalities behind the news reports, including a tough NYPD detective from the Bronx Youth Gang Task Force and a sympathetic community activist. Quoted from the introduction to an interview with Gary Weis.
posted by filthy light thief (15 comments total) 44 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow, great find. This looks good. Thanks, man!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:45 AM on October 12, 2011


Tiffanys.... come out to plaaaa-aaaay.
posted by clvrmnky at 8:46 AM on October 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Just watched part one. Shit is real.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:52 AM on October 12, 2011


Oh man, the Savage Skulls and the Savage Nomads came up a couple weeks back in a photography post. There is also a movie called Ain't Gonna Eat My Mind, there are only bits and peices on youtube. Also footage of The Devil's Rebels from Brooklyn shot in 1976.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:17 AM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ad hominem, when looking to see if this was posted previously, I saw that photo post and your comment linking to the documentary. I think it was overlooked in that thread, and the interview with Gary Weis is really neat. And thanks for the additional links here.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:05 AM on October 12, 2011


This is proof that inner-city gangs had much better aesthetics before crack cocaine.
posted by condor at 10:36 AM on October 12, 2011


I'm a bit fascinated with New York gangs, I grew up around the last vestiges of theSouth Brooklyn Boys they were on the way out by the late 70s but but there were still enough of them to have chain fights in the park.

I love this sort of secret history of New York, like 80 Blocks from Tiffany’s.

Maybe 20 years ago I had a friend who's parents bought a house from a well know mob expert. The kind of guy they always brought on Court TV whenever John Gotti was in the news. He had originally bought the house because it was one of the houses used by Murder Inc. in the 20s and 30s. They were putting a patio in the back yard and when they were digging to put pavers in they found all sorts of bones. They called the guy up and he said not to worry about it, he came by , took the bones and said he was just going to dump them Gowanus Canal with all the other bones. Dunno why but that seems oddly symbolic, there are bones just beneath the surface all over New York, we may shift them around but they are always with us.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:39 AM on October 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


This is proof that inner-city gangs had much better aesthetics before crack cocaine

Maybe, but they were still mostly raging, dangerous psychopaths.
posted by Vibrissae at 10:42 AM on October 12, 2011


Maybe, but they were still mostly raging, dangerous psychopaths.

Absolutely true. But for some reason there's more of a 'kids playing cowboys and indians' vibe going on in this video in regards to some of the police response to gang behavior. "He confiscated my hatchet, broke it in half, and handed it back to me."
posted by condor at 10:48 AM on October 12, 2011


condor, that's overlooking the comments about gunplay going on unnoticed in neighborhoods, and casual talk of rape. Maybe it's more true-to-life cowboys vs natives than TV or movie westerns, where the back-and-forth is deadly and brutal.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:54 AM on October 12, 2011


On the other hand, Vice agrees with you ("Gangs are boring now"). They'd get a nod for the source video, except the version on Google Video appears to be offline or a dead link. Instead, we have the whole thing in parts on YouTube.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:57 AM on October 12, 2011


Part 7 (w/ audio)
posted by stbalbach at 11:10 AM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


stbalbach, thanks.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:33 AM on October 12, 2011


i'm really curious how these guys (if alive still) are doing now.
posted by fuzzypantalones at 5:26 PM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


This was 1978 or so, just before the crack cocaine and AIDS wave started. It's like looking at Nazi Germany films from 1938, you know a lot of them won't make it another 10 years.
posted by stbalbach at 8:32 PM on October 13, 2011


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