Downtown Scum

Captain Zorikh's Downtown Scum Fact Sheet

The 1980's was the golden era of the Downtown Scum. The forces of gentrification had just discovered that the area of New York City (Manhattan, specifically) south of 14th Street was becoming fashionable to live in. This was, of course, after the drug dealing, prostitution, homelessness, crime, and urban decay had made property values so low that many buildings were abandoned and low income people such as minorities and artists had moved in.Immediately following the artists were white people with low income and low ambitions, who wanted nothing more that to listen to music, go to parties, get laid, and avoid the rat race of mainstream, Corporate America.

These people were the Downtown Scum. They were immortalized in such movies as "After Hours" and "Desperately Seeking Susan." They attended clubs like Danceteria, Save the Robots, CBGB's, The World, Mars, Continental Divide, and Coney Island High. They were punks, new wave, and artists. This was the movement that inspired grunge, alternative, hipsters, goths, and emo.

Though similar social dynamics now exist in places like Williamsburg, the time of the Downtown Scum is past. The procedure of gentrification moves too fast, and the hipsters who protest against Starbucks are, by their own self-awareness, ironicism, and affluence incapable of re-creating, or even re-enacting, the organic, honest, low-cost, nihilistic hedonism that truly was the Downtown Scum.

You might be a Downtown Scum if...

  • ...your clothes come in three colors: black, used to be black, and soon to be black
  • pay your phone bill one quarter at a time.
  • ...the collar on your girlfriend costs more than the one on your dog.
  • ...there is more ink on your skin than on the currency in your wallet.
  • ...your newstand is the subway trashcan.
  • know the difference between Papaya King and Gray's Papaya: Gray's is cheaper.
  • confiscated the squirt guns from the Staten Islanders at Rocky Horror.
  • know all the call-back lines at Rocky Horror.
  • don't go to Rocky Horror anymore.
  • know where to go to the bathroom on St. Mark's Place.
  • ...your friends don't remember your natural hair color...and neither do you.

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