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10. Do not enter the Dog Park.
September 16, 2013 5:23 PM   Subscribe

Welcome to Fear City: A Survival Guide for Visitors to the City of New York (ca. 1975).
posted by griphus (54 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
All the animals come out at night - whores, skunk pussies, buggers, queens, fairies, dopers, junkies, sick, venal. Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets.
posted by Artw at 5:30 PM on September 16, 2013 [20 favorites]


I think all you need to say is that the article is next to a link to an article " Where to find the best beer cheeses in the city!"

The bad old days might as well be a million years ago.
posted by The Whelk at 5:31 PM on September 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


I saw the title and assumed this was a Night Vale post.

Really cool, though. I love these artifacts of how people and governments used to see themselves.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 5:31 PM on September 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


The transport video is wonderful. How far the art of throwaway soundtrack music has fallen!
posted by thelonius at 5:31 PM on September 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


That pamphlet is woefully incomplete. No mention of C.H.U.D.S., Baseball Furies, or the West Side docks.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:35 PM on September 16, 2013 [13 favorites]


Warriors, come out to play!
posted by scody at 5:37 PM on September 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile on Wall Street, guys in neckties are stealing millions.
posted by Repack Rider at 5:38 PM on September 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


Of course you'll have a bad impression of New York if you only focus on the pimps and the C.H.U.D.s.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:38 PM on September 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


When I walk on the beach here, "In the City" (as sung by Joe Walsh) plays in my head.
posted by computech_apolloniajames at 5:40 PM on September 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


[Ken Burn-style slow pan around photo of the Baseball Furies ca. 1987, a little league team from Cherry Hill, NJ]
posted by griphus at 5:42 PM on September 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


The Turtles, the Busters, the Slimers...
posted by Artw at 5:42 PM on September 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


Stay off the streets after 6 p.m.

Because once the sun goes down, all the weirdos turn crazy!
posted by RonButNotStupid at 5:46 PM on September 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's hard to imagine a dirtier, nastier place than 1970s New York. Specifically the home clubhouse at Yankee Stadium.
posted by delfin at 5:59 PM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Reminder: Dogs are not allowed in the dog park.
posted by byanyothername at 5:59 PM on September 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


Do not enter the Dog Park.

A man went in there last Thursday. He is now a German Shepherd.
posted by JHarris at 6:00 PM on September 16, 2013 [13 favorites]


Of course you'll have a bad impression of New York if you only focus on the pimps and the C.H.U.D.s.

But New York is a hellhole! You know how I feel about hellholes!
posted by Strange Interlude at 6:07 PM on September 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Aw heck, New York just isn't any fun anymore.
posted by kinnakeet at 6:35 PM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you read the article, you see that the people passing out the pamphlets were police officers and fire fighters trying to pressure the city not to follow through with layoffs. Last year, the Detroit chief of police issued a statement telling people not to come to Detroit because "we can't keep you safe," which was a similar tactic in the face of cuts.
posted by not that girl at 6:59 PM on September 16, 2013 [9 favorites]


I looked into the empty faces of the people of the night, and something is just not right.
posted by bleep at 7:13 PM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you read the article, you see that the people passing out the pamphlets were police officers and fire fighters trying to pressure the city not to follow through with layoffs.

Yeah, it is clearly propaganda. Saying midtown is deserted after 6pm may have been true but not because people were afraid to be outside. You can say the same thing now about the financial district, and it isn't unsafe in the least, everyone just went home because there is no other reason to be there other than work.
posted by Ad hominem at 7:26 PM on September 16, 2013


I've often wondered about this strange way we use cities, where parts of somewhere so crowded could be so deserted at times.

I have high hopes that as technology advances multi use spaces might become more practical.
posted by poe at 7:55 PM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


not that girl If you read the article, you see that the people passing out the pamphlets were police officers and fire fighters trying to pressure the city not to follow through with layoffs.

97% of buildings in seven Bronx census tracts were destroyed by fires in the 1970's and the % was so high because of the numerous firehouses the City of New York closed in busy Bronx neighborhoods.

So, yeah, firefighters were genuinely concerned about not being able to "keep you safe" during the 1970's and history has proven them correct. Despite the fact they belong to a union.
posted by mlis at 8:01 PM on September 16, 2013 [8 favorites]


Wow. I was just a little one back then, but from the Current Events lessons at school, even we kids in Milwaukee had heard NYC was having it really bad. So many cop shows set in New York didn't help it look like somewhere one would want to visit, I don't think. Every 70s TV program set in NYC that I recall, even Sesame Street and Rhoda, had this dilapidated, almost tawdry feel while the actors bantered and ignored the grit surrounding them. Maybe there needed to be the slightly hysterical laughter that kept New Yorkers from crying at the state of things. Knowing more about the history of that time gives me an entirely different perspective on the glamorous life I thought grown-up New Yorkers were leading. Who knows, if I were twenty years older at the time whether I too wouldn't have snorted my fears away at Studio 54?

Or maybe the 70s was just that kind of decade. I always look at it as the decade the entire Western world went on bit of a bender.

Anyway, although today parts of the South Bronx and Brooklyn still aren't the most advisable places to hang out after 5 or 6 pm, New York overall hasn't been anything like this pamphlet states for at least 20 years.
posted by droplet at 8:13 PM on September 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


The buildings were destroyed by arson, not just fires. I always assumed it was the owners themselves who torched the buildings to get insurance money or rebuild without the burden of existing tenants.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:19 PM on September 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


A fire is a fire regardless of the cause, and when firehouses are closed and firefighters laid off, there are less resources to extinguish fires and perform rescues.

As to your point, the above link addresses the issue of arson, noting it accounted for 7% of Bronx fires in the 1970's.
posted by mlis at 8:25 PM on September 16, 2013


Does anyone remember a made-for-TV movie that aired, I think, on NBC around 1987. It was about a guy that got caught out after dark in a bad part of New York City, and was being hunted down by thieves and gangs and unable to find help anywhere. It was almost like an urban version of The Hitcher, except the bad guy was all the dark elements of NYC.
posted by crapmatic at 8:27 PM on September 16, 2013


A fire is a fire regardless of the cause, and when firehouses are closed and firefighters laid off, there are less resources to extinguish fires and perform rescues.

As to your point, the above link addresses the issue of arson, noting it accounted for 7% of Bronx fires in the 1970's.


I'm not arguing close firehouses is good, I'm just saying arson going from 1% to 7% didn't help.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:28 PM on September 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Now the worst thing that can happen is you're already full from eating from the Spanish noodle street cart but around the corner there's a really good Norwegian noodle street cart that you keep meaning to go to so you go and use the free wi-fi at the Starbucks and write a blog post about how dynamic New York is because check out all these ethnic noodle carts.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:40 PM on September 16, 2013 [5 favorites]


Yeah I was just in midtown and this group of drunk kids was singing Don't You Want Me Baby really loud so I crossed the street and discovered a totes adorbs sandwitch shop

Also a Hawaiian BBQ place opened near me and I can never decide if I want BBQ beef or BBQ pork so I end up ordering both and I am going broke due to Hawaiian BBQ.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:45 PM on September 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


crapmatic, this is a long shot (it was feature film not a made-for-TV movie) but could it be After Hours?
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 9:29 PM on September 16, 2013


...I don't think the Spanish have noddles.
posted by The Whelk at 9:30 PM on September 16, 2013


Used to be quite a few Cuban Chinese restaurants on the UWS. La Caridad and La Dinastia are still around I think.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:49 PM on September 16, 2013


You know what place I miss, Williams Bar-B-Cue, also Flaming Embers and Tad's but much less than Williams. Man, New York sucks now.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:00 PM on September 16, 2013


Yeah but La Caridad is like half the size it used to be.

Still good tho.
posted by The Whelk at 10:04 PM on September 16, 2013


@hurdy gurdy girl: I looked at a trailer and I don't think that's it... it looked like the After Hours guy had a lot of hole-in-the-wall places to go. In the NBC movie it was more like a thriller... he was mostly trapped on the NYC streets trying to survive. Anyway it's no big deal. Thanks, though!
posted by crapmatic at 10:20 PM on September 16, 2013


This city is afraid of me...I have seen its true face. The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout "Save us!"... and I'll look down and whisper "No."
posted by Samizdata at 11:56 PM on September 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've explored NYC at night, in the 70's. I had an advantage: I was a teenager, with nothing. Not even a cute ass! Almost no one bothered me. Sometimes, the ones that did bother me got what they wanted, because that's the kind of boy I was. Always, on my terms.

I don't really know why people talk shit about NYC in the 70's. I think it may say more about them than about the city.
posted by Goofyy at 12:37 AM on September 17, 2013 [3 favorites]


...I don't think the Spanish have noddles.

We do paella with noodles (and allioli sauce), apart from the usual vermicelli soup.
posted by sukeban at 1:02 AM on September 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Fires were pretty common
posted by mippy at 2:49 AM on September 17, 2013


This is the world I was born into and grew up in. Everything now seems like Disneyland compared to the realities of urban America 1975-1985.

I remember being on a school trip to NYC in 1990, and the Catholic brother (sort of a male nun, for the uninitiated) reminded us to not go into the sex shops on Times Square before letting us wander around the city for a few hours. Good times.
posted by gjc at 3:38 AM on September 17, 2013


Dead dog in alley last night, tire tread on burst stomach. This city is afraid of me. I have seen its true face.

Now that we've gotten that out of the way...

I visited NYC for the first time in the mid-eighties, and one of the things that struck me was how clean Chicago seemed after I got back to Illinois. By the time I went to live in Brooklyn for a short time about a decade later, things seemed to have improved substantially.
posted by Halloween Jack at 4:53 AM on September 17, 2013


crapmatic, I can't help you with a name, but I think I saw that movie, too, so you're not crazy for thinking it exists.
posted by wintermind at 5:22 AM on September 17, 2013


Growing up in New England in the 70s and 80s, I never wound up going to New York City on any school or family trips. Instead, I formed my mental image of the place partly from film footage in Sesame Street segments and partly from David Letterman jokes about how filthy and crime-ridden it was. Nothing as extreme as that pamphlet, but I definitely had an impression of NYC basically being one big gritty, dangerous place. Since my first visit there in 2001 I've often wondered just how gritty it really was, because it certainly isn't anymore.

Also: that transport video is amazing. It looks and sounds like an ad for Grand Theft Auto: Grim 1970s City.

Also: Flor De Mayo (upper west side) has damn tasty Cuban Chinese.
posted by usonian at 5:26 AM on September 17, 2013


even Sesame Street and Rhoda, had this dilapidated, almost tawdry feel while the actors bantered and ignored the grit surrounding them.

More historical transport video.
posted by mikepop at 5:53 AM on September 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


from that video: "You could lose your purse or you might lose something worse or the subway".
posted by mikepop at 5:55 AM on September 17, 2013


New York overall hasn't been anything like this pamphlet states for at least 20 years.

Wait til you see it 20 years from now.
posted by Rykey at 6:36 AM on September 17, 2013


This is like something Scarfolk Council would issue, except American and real.
posted by Happy Dave at 6:40 AM on September 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


damn tasty Cuban Chinese.
Che-nese? har har

posted by Rykey at 6:40 AM on September 17, 2013


4. Remain in Manhattan.

(always good advice unless you want to be accosted by young whippersnappers dressed in outrageous fashions.)
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:13 AM on September 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Wait til you see it 20 years from now.

The entire metro area is encased in a huge Duane Reade.
posted by The Whelk at 7:27 AM on September 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


I visited NYC for the first time in the mid-eighties, and one of the things that struck me was how clean Chicago seemed after I got back to Illinois.

When I was little--real little, so this was probably 1984 or 1985--my parents took me to NYC for a weekend and all I remember was waiting for everyone to shower. Constantly. Because if you walked around outside you just got So. Filthy.

It was summer, to be fair. but honestly even 15 years later when I left my windows open too long the whole apartment (at 120th) would be covered in black grit.
posted by like_a_friend at 8:11 AM on September 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was there in late summer 1974, returning, by subway, a set of bicycle touring/camping equipment for a group of 10 (panniers, pumps, tents, and so forth) to the sponsoring organization, located in a then cheap rent part of town (West Village?), of a two month youth bicycle tour of New England I'd just finished leading, and when I'd phoned a couple of people I knew from high school who lived near NYU and were offering me a place to stay that night to tell them my plans, they were horrified and predicted I'd be mugged and have all the equipment stolen, so I was putting on my mortal combat face, and it didn't help my state of mind that I'd spent the last few months among kids and early adolescents in summer-camp-land, and hadn't yet ceased to be startled by how big everyone was in the real world.

In the event, I sat in the very back with the stuff piled on either side, and no one came within six feet of me on a moderately full car.

What I'd failed to fully grasp and my friends didn't know until I showed up at their door, was how I looked after gaining more than 25 pounds on the trip (to ~230), in a T-shirt and a ragged pair of shorts (neither pair of my pants would go past mid-thigh), with a two week beard and near shoulder-length hair-- except for the left rear quadrant, which had burned away down to the scalp after catching fire as I was writing a letter by candlelight a few weeks before.
posted by jamjam at 10:39 AM on September 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


crapmatic -- I feel like I may know your movie, but all I could come up with was this (on-topic) list of films about ordinary people dealing with the urban menace. A couple NOT on that list are Judgement Night and Falling Down. Collateral is a more recent example. Taxi Driver is also discussed in the comments. But maybe that can jog your memory.
posted by dhartung at 1:19 PM on September 17, 2013


Happy Dave: "This is like something Scarfolk Council would issue, except American and real."

Damn. Good stuff there. Cheers!
posted by Samizdata at 12:35 AM on September 21, 2013


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