Recently Ethan Minsker—who, among other things, was a founding member of the Antagonist Movement—shared his videos with us. Minsker says he moved to the East Village when it was still mostly called Alphabet City, in 1990—but he doesn't necessarily miss the old days:
"On my first night I looked out the window and saw a gang of kids walking down the street beat the crap out of some old guys just walking. They called it Wilding back then. I lived above an illegal gambling joint where I once saw a guy stumble out after getting stabbed. If you walked down that street today you would find the illegal gambling was replaced by a fancy restaurant and families pushing baby strollers. But I am not one of those who wishes for the Old New York. I am happy to push a stroller and not worry about getting stabbed."
Filming mostly the art and rock scene, the first video up from Minsker is a little of both. This features the late Arturo Vega, the artist behind the Ramones.
As Legs McNeil pointed out in Please Kill Me, "Arturo Vega, the guy who owned the Ramones' loft, was [also] a painter who made Day-Glo swastikas." Here's his art show in the East Village showing those:
And finally, Minsker sends along Anything Boys Can Do..., his 71-minute doc shot in the area in 1996. The subjects are all women who were performing in the area at the time, and Minsker says you'll see everywhere from Brownies (now Hi-Fi) on Avenue A to some old warehouses in DUMBO. This one is NSFW:
Check out the Lower East Side in 1995 right here—in just twenty years there's been a lifetime of change.