May 23, 2014

A 1986 Video Tour Of RuPaul's Meatpacking "Penthouse"

I came across this video on YouTube of RuPaul giving a tour of his NYC "penthouse" back in June of 1986. He lived for a while in a round rooftop room above the formerly seedy Jane Hotel, soon after he moved to New York for the second time apparently. Not only does "baby Ru" look amazing, the footage itself is incredible for it's slice of Meatpacking life (which I've posted about before) from waaaaay back in the day. Nelson Sullivan is the videographer, who lived around the corner at 5 Ninth Avenue, a town house which is still there surrounded by the commercial insanity that "MeaPa" has become.

The most remarkable thing watching this now is how utterly empty that area of the city was during the day. I had my own first hand experience with this back when I was in film school at NYU and we shot one of my classmates' films entirely in the area. We had no permits and no one bothered us, as no one was around, except maybe a couple hookers who stayed away (knowing we were students w/no cash!). We even shot a car chase sequence through the bumpy streets there with no police intervention at all. 

Anyway, this video is a great trip to the lost world of the old West Village with some great views of the the city and gay life at that time.


  1. Is that the place I remember, a shared garden, surrounded by townhouses on almost all sides?

    1. The director's brownstone, I mean.

    2. Close--that place was around the corner from the brownstone. Entrance on Gansevoort to the magical garden.