I dropped out of college in 1983 then started hanging out in the East Village. I think in retrospect because Basquiat and Haring symbolized the Romantic idea of gaining an education "in the streets " with the common people, that's what I was after. I think I had come to a rupture in the Dalton/RISD education in the Western Tradition and prep for the "American Dream"..all the unspoken conflicts in my psyche had to be addressed as I entered adulthood and I sought in the artists of the early 80's a visceral, immediate model of self expression and artistic achievement.
This was the height of "East Village-ism" the successor to SOHO bohemianism. The general look of alot of it was ad-hoc..ugly, abject..homely..perfect for the continuation of that "beat" era..it was also the period where black , latino, feminist and Stonewall-ish gayness was seen more and more in the arts. It was the perfect anti-dote to the mainstreaming I was supposed to be pursuiing in Dalton and RISD..
Of course nothing came of it and neither of those guys ever made it out of the 80's.
I of course did nothing of any worth in the period except get drunk and doodle..my contemporaries were beginning to set themselves up here and there..little galleries..studios in Wburg, Tribeca, Hoboken etc..
By the time the 90's rolled around and we were in our dirty thirties the East Village was gentrified and ossified...Chelsea and Wburg were the new scenes in NYC. Artists and dealers had entered the scene now with very different attitudes than the reckless and self-destructive "beats"..Chelsea for instance was the "new" gayness..not Stonewall but post-Warhol conformist. Politics, polemics and so-on was on the way out and pure aesthetics on it's way in. Work had to look more "worked on" than "worked over"..things were shinier, more professionally crafted..more of a fit for your new condo.