We went to see the play Steve at the New Group Theater this past week. The play started at 730 but while you wait in your seats for the play to begin (anywhere from 715-730) the cast performs sitting around a piano singing show tunes. I loved it. A theater preview. The show is about friendship, relationships, death, life and being gay in NYC. A winner.
Afterward we walked over to Esca, where we have probably had easily 25 meals if not more over the past 16 years of the restaurant being open. We sat at the bar and Dave Pasternack, the chef walked by and I said hello. He came over and chatted with us for awhile. He told us about a documentary that he just saw and recommended we do too. He commented that he could have easily become a cop but ended up as a chef. He would have been retired for 11 years as this point if he had chosen that path. Many of his friends did. The documentary was The Seven-Five.
The Seven-Five is about Brooklyn’s 75th Precinct in the 1980’s located in East NY Brooklyn. A time of crack and police corruption. We moved to NYC in 1983 and lived at 28th and Madison. An area with several SRO hotels run by the city where prostitution and drugs reigned. Walking through Madison Square Park en route to the village was scary. I remember going to the east village to the roof of a friends apartment and needles were everywhere. Bed Sty and Crown Heights were dangerous. I had to go to a funeral for a young man who’s mother worked for me and my co-managers boyfriend who was a private detective in Brooklyn wouldn’t let us go unaccompanied into Bed Sty in the middle of the day. When we got there I knew why.
It is definitely a documentary to be watched by the scores of new comers to a relatively safe Brooklyn in all the areas east of Flatbush Avenue. The history is rife with strife. Let’s hope that we never return to that time again. Understanding the past is the way to changing the future.