A zine cover with a photo of a child playing with a man's braids

Punk in NYC's Lower East Side 1981-1991

by Ben Nadler Author

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 the 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. Insurgent came from a Jewish family of holocaust survivors whose history is rarely discussed.


  • Punk in NYC's Lower East Side 1981-1991 image #1
  • Punk in NYC's Lower East Side 1981-1991 image #2

The Scene History Series is Microcosm's first open submission project.

Comments & Reviews


"Brief but very interesting"



"... a fairly disturbing chronicle. ... [a] good representation of scenes gone by."



"a thorough love for the punk music of the era. The way this book quickly recaps the important points of the era is impressive"

Andrew Duncan Worthington - The Fanzine


"Looks insane good"

Keep this Bag Away from Children