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Delirious New York: Bobby Busnach’s Photos of Gerry Visco, The Park Royal Hotel, the South Bronx scene and Boston’s The Other Side

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These captivating 70s images stem from the amazing photographic archive of New York DJ legend Bobby Busnach.

Many feature Busnach’s friend and muse, the fabulous writer/photographer/performer Gerry Visco, as well as the circles they moved in at NYC’s Park Royal Hotel, Boston disco/bar The Other Side and the nascent hip-hop scene in the South Bronx.

 

Gerry Visco in SEX Cowboys t-shirt and leather miniskirt, The Park Royal, NYC, 1976

Gerry Visco in SEX Cowboys t-shirt and leather miniskirt, The Park Royal, NYC, 1976

Visco, Hillside Avenue,Boston, 1973

Visco, Hillside Avenue,Boston, 1973

Donnie Ward, Hillside Avenue, 1974

Donnie Ward, Hillside Avenue, 1974

“We lived at The Park Royal,” says Visco, who later appeared in Woody Allen’s 1980 movie Stardust Memories. “It didn’t have a cool scene. It was a residential hotel in a neighborhood on the Upper West Side which at the time was considered somewhat dangerous, a la Panic In Needle Park, but we lived across from The Dakota, where we often caught glimpses of people like John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Mia Farrow, Lauren Bacall, Roberta Flack and other celebrities.”

From the turn of the 70s Busnach and Visco socialised in Boston and Manhattan as prominent figures in the gay disco and post-glam/pre-punk crowds. Meantime Busnach’s experiences as a DJ placed him dead centre of the scene out of which hip-hop grew.

Visco attended New York’s Fashion Institute Of Technology and wore her own designs. She also sourced clothes from such labels as Fiorucci, Charles Jourdan and Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s SEX, which was sold through Ian’s at East 61st Street and Second Avenue.

“Keep in mind that I am an UPTOWN BITCH – always have been and always will be!”exclaims Visco. “Downtown is for POSERS. Ha ha. The Ian’s on the UES was really good – the owner was always there and I bought some great stuff. I also worked in Macy’s briefly in the early 1980s in the cosmetics buying office.

“As well as Ian’s I bought a lot of my clothes in vintage shops and at Henri Bendel’s, Bloomingdale’s and Bergdorf Goodman,” adds Visco, who also visited the UK where she bought McLaren/Westwood designs direct at 430 King’s Road.

 

 

Tony Roldan (centre) at the handball courts at 146th Street and Brook Avenue, the Bronx, 1976

Tony Roldan (centre) at the handball courts at 146th Street and Brook Avenue, the Bronx, 1976

Visco in leather coat and Charles Jourdan shoes, The Park Royal Hotel, NYC, 1976

Visco in leather coat and Charles Jourdan shoes, The Park Royal Hotel, NYC, 1976

Double image of Visco in outfit including SEX skirt with nude playing card insert, The Park Royal, 1976

Double image of Visco in outfit including SEX skirt with nude playing card insert, The Park Royal, 1976

Visco sporting prescription shades and a top from SEX, The Park Hotel, 1977

Visco sporting prescription shades and a top from SEX, The Park Hotel, 1977

Arisa, The Park Royal, 1976

Arisa, The Park Royal, 1976

Paul in Visco's Cowboys shirt, The Park Royal, 1976

Paul in Visco’s Cowboys shirt, The Park Royal, 1976

Fayja (in the Cowboys shirt) and MJ, The Park Royal, 1977

Fayja (in the Cowboys shirt) and MJ, The Park Royal, 1977

Visco- Dress Fiorucci, shoes Frederick's Of Hollywood, The Park Royal, 1976

Visco- Dress Fiorucci, shoes Frederick’s Of Hollywood, The Park Royal, 1976

Giving the finger- Bobby Busnach in Central Park, 1976

Giving the finger- Bobby Busnach in Central Park, 1976


(Above video: Busnach’s mix of Lyn Collins classic Think About It, with his photos evoking memories of The Other Side 1971-74.)

 

Bobby Busnach talks about his life and times as a DJ, his 2008 exhibition and his plans for a book here. Visit the Facebook page New York In The 70s – The World Of Bobby Busnach here.

Visco also plans a book and  remains active on New York’s art, club and performance circuits. Tonight and tomorrow she is in the chorus of Norwegian artist Tori Wrånes’ Yes Nix, which is being staged as part of Performa 13.

  • Bobby Busnach

    THANKS PAUL. APPRECIATE IT, NICE WORK.
    BUT THE COWBOY SEX SHIRT WAS AND STILL IS MINE. STILL HAVE IT. :}