Badlands – 338 West Street

(Note: this entire intro was used in the previous post on The Keller, so freakin’ sue me!)

Having a free Saturday in NYC I decided to venture south down West Street, in the shadow of the long-gone Westside Highway (Westway), into what at one time was the absolute worst (or best, depending on your ilk) of the West Village.  This was really the first time I’d gone south on West, and I’d done pretty much zero pre-planning, so it was hopefully going to be an adventure.

What I found was, all that’s left now of the seedy water-front West Village is, at best, a (literal) shell of its past. But there are bits of the old still lingering on, grasping for life any way it can get it (which, from what I’ve read, is actually pretty fitting for this area, where places like The Trucks once hosted…well, that’s for another post another time).

The first place I ran into was the former Badlands, one of the more notorious gay bars on the waterfront, which by the end of its life had transformed into an adult video store.  As in the earlier post on The Keller, this is not mean to be an in-depth history of Badlands, so enjoy the pictures and the few bits on interesting info I pulled quickly together.

As I alluded to at the start, Badlands is now just a shell of its former self, and I was able to sneak a peek inside the shell itself to in effect prove that sad point.

As mentioned in the earlier Keller post, The Village People did take an album photograph in front of Badlands, pretty much exactly where the scene from LE VOYEUR, a (surprise) gay film from 1982, was filmed.

Next door to Badlands is an old wooden structure that you just know has seen it all.  It potentially dates back to 1834 when this area was the Weehawken Market, which lasted only until 1844.  And later the first saloon in the area was in this building.  By the 1970s/80s Sneakers, another gay bar, was resident there.

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