Over the last decade, Williamsburg, Brooklyn has become the poster neighborhood for, depending on your perspective, urban revitalization or culture crushing gentrification. In the 1980s a 2-bedroom apartment on South 3rd Street in Williamsburg went for a mere $330 a month—probably the amount current residents of the building spend on various juice cleanses. Today, rent for apartments in that same building hit $2500 a month and it takes a walk of just a block or two to get to hip spots like Shalom Japan, Barcade or music venue Baby’s All Right (even if you haven’t been to see a concert there, all you really need to know is that it showed up in Master of None.)
Three decades ago though, there were not single origin coffee shops or artisanal creameries and you could get an entire meal for $10 instead of a single candy bar. And you’ll have the chance to see that old Williamsburg starting this week. The UnionDocs Center for Documentary Art found and restored an old VHS copy of a Diego Echeverria’s film Los Sures (we’ll be honest, restoring a VHS copy of a documentary sounds like something people would do in Williamsburg). Los Sures captured the lives of the mostly Hispanic residents who occupied the neighborhood in the ‘80s and offers a look back in time at a place that visitors today might not recognize at all. UnionDocs created an entire project based on the film, tracking down many of its subjects and the director. There’s a trailer for the project here and more at the Los Sures website.
But to see the entire original documentary you can head over to the Metrograph Theater in Manhattan. Just have some respect for the material and don’t try sneaking any artisanal milk duds into the theater with you.