Williamsburg’s thirty-year shift from druggy industrial squalor to art-kid haven to homesteading spot for wealthy urbanites is an inescapable source of hand-wringing these days. No matter how you feel about the change, it’s a pretty fascinating transformation, and one of the best ways for the change to sink-in is seeing the neighborhood represented on film.
The neighborhood as it was thirty years ago pops up frequently in movies, usually representing New York City at its absolute lowest. It’s the backdrop for some of the more violent scenes of Serpico; it’s a playground for the filth-kingpins in the hobo-sleaze masterpiece Street Trash, and it also shows up in Bill Lustig’s regular-Joe-skull-cracker action piece Vigilante (Buy Tickets).
Below is a chase scene through a then-abandoned McCarren Park Pool — overgrown in weeds and covered in graffiti.
Vintage McCarren Park Pool by RichJuz