New York City History | SeMeN SPeRmS SuPeR SiTe

Doin’ Time in Times Square by Charlie Ahearn Old School Grimy NYC

51aob1ia6FL._SY445_Shot from his window, the forty minute video, called “Doin’ Time in Times Square,” includes everything you’d expect from candid 1980s Times Square footage—slow mo knock-out punches, neon XXX signs, plenty of cameos from the NYPD, and chaos. The chaos, however, is interspersed with quiet scenes from inside the apartment where all of this was being filmed from. It’s been described as “the home video from hell,” and was shown at the New York Film Festival in the 1990s.doin-time-in-times-square1367681186_thumb

 

“Described as the home video from hell, Doin Time in Times Square documents the view and action outside director Charlie Ahearns 43rd Street apartment window from 1981 to 1983. Charlie Ahearn, whose 1983 film Wild Style was a cult hip hop hit, was blessed with a generous view of the sleeze emporiums up Eighth Avenue and down 43rd. His window provides a view into midtown New Yorks street brutality in those dark years before it was cleaned up and Disneyfied, His Hi-8 camera captures rip-offs, drug sales, police stake-outs and fights – lots of fights. On any given day we see fist-fights, domestic squabbles and bad deals going down. It is both a social and personal document.”

File under Blast From The Past, New York City History, SeMeN SPeRmS BLArRrG

48 Hours: Tales Of Times Square (1992) Sleazy Old School 42nd Street

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“I’m gonna be famous… I’m gonna be like the next Marilyn Monroe Madonna”

Tonight’s edition of “48 hours” offers a quick tour of Times Square, part of it in the company of two South Carolina women named Thelma and Louise, part along with a couple of police officers named Sullivan (yes, Ed) and Kissinger (no, not Henry).

“Tales of Times Square,” on CBS at 10 (Channel 2 in New York) is generous with cliches: Dan Rather reminds viewers that “There’s a broken heart for every light on Broadway,” and Phil Jones reveals that New York is “the city that never sleeps.” You can meet, very briefly, two current stars, Faith Prince of “Guys and Dolls” and Gregory Hines of “Jelly’s Last Jam,” and a dancer’s understudy who is waiting for her big chance.

The freshest scenes take place in the basement of St. Malachy’s, the Actor’s Chapel, where old-time performers remember better times and dream of more to come. “I’m the only homeless bag lady in New York that has a press agent,” says one. You can also catch a glimpse of young boxers in the Times Square gymnasium, which is due to be torn down soon; they tell of their own rough pasts and their own dreams. And there’s a peep into a peep show.

Thelma and Louise get to see the more wholesome sights, like the Statue of Liberty. but they break away from their Christian Tours group to take a subway ride. “Isn’t this divine!” one says. Looking out the tour bus window at some 42d Street habitues, Thelma, or maybe Louise, remarks, “Oh, these are interesting people, aren’t they?” 48 Hours Tales of Times Square CBS, tonight at 10. (Channel 2 in New York.) Written by Tom Flynn; Eric Shapiro, director; Al Briganti, senior producer; Liza McGuirk, producer; Andrew Heyward, executive producer.

New York Times July 8, 1992

File under Blast From The Past, New York City History, SeMeN SPeRmS BLArRrG, SeMeN SPeRmS ViDeO CLuB