Punk in NYC’s Lower East Side 1981-1991
by Ben Nadler
Much has been written about the glamorous—and short-lived—New York City punk rock scene of the late 1970s. Less has been written about the second-wave punk scene that followed in the 1980s. Unlike the earlier scene, the ‘80s punk scene took place largely outside of the established downtown clubs, in the streets and squats of the Lower East Side.
Punk in NYC’s Lower East Side, 1981-1991—the first installment in Microcosm’s Scene History Series—offers a glimpse into this important cultural moment, which has had such a lasting impact on American subcultures, from Hardcore, to Skinhead, to, most crucially, Anarcho-Punk.
Drawing on both archival documents and original interviews, this zine explores the music of the era’s bands, including Bad Brains, Cro-Mags, Agnostic Front, False Prophets, Urgent Fury, No Thanks, and Reagan Youth. At the same time, the scene is situated within the broader social context, from the election of Ronald Reagan to the Tompkins Square Riots. Woven throughout is the tragic story of New York City’s most legendary anarcho-punk, Reagan Youth’s Dave Insurgent.
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