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.
“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.”