Last night MDH and I watched Rock Docs - NY77 - The Coolest Year in Hell on VH1 Classics from the cozy comfort of our loveseat in the den of our suburban Michigan home. NY77 is 2 hours about 1 year in 1 city. If you have VH1 Classics and happened to have been alive in 1977, or have any interest in Hip-Hop, Punk Rock or American history I strongly suggest you watch it.
I was alive in 1977.
I was only 9, but I remember the big black out and asking my mother why all the people went crazy just because the lights went out. I remember the Son of Sam serial murders and seeing New York City on the news all the time because of the transit strikes, garbage workers strikes, gang problems, drug problems and the general decrepitude and sleaze that seemed to have layered itself over the city like a dirty haze. I lived in Columbus, Ohio which seemed like a world away and I guess it probably was (and still is).
1977 was the year that I learned people could be dangerous and the world (big cities in particular) a scary place.
Prior to 1977 my images of New York were those of old movies from the 1940's, 50's and early 60's. Doris Day, a small town girl in the big city, having lunch at the automat while thwarting the advances of Cary Grant in That Touch of Mink, or Fred Astaire gliding across the dance floors of elegant night clubs, and Shirley MacLaine in Sweet Charity singing Cock-Eyed Optimist while she danced through Central Park.
Before 1977 I didn't realize that New York was a real place with real people living in it and real problems. I guess the 1977 image is the one that stuck because after that it didn't look so appealing.
Of all the places I've been, NYC is still not among them.
When I was 16 I drove through parts of the city on a bus from Newark Airport to JFK to catch a flight to Paris. By this age I had seen Woody Allen films, owned Talking Heads records, read Interview Magazine had an awareness of CBGB's and the Algonquin Round Table, so the city had started to take on a new appeal. My face was pressed against the window the whole time so I could soak it all in, but sitting on a bus in bumper to bumper traffic, doesn't count has having been there.
I'll get there someday for a little visit.
Well, I've started to ramble at this point, so I'll just say - see the Rock Doc thingy if you want and I hope that when I do finally get there, that it's more like the opening credits from Woody Allen's Manhattan, and less like Jack Lemmon and Sandy Dennis in the Out of Towners.
Hey! How could I forget to tell you about my interview by Suzel Sass! I feel like such a starlet... Thanks Suze!