As the debate continues about the future of New York, it’s worth taking a step back in time to 1977. The headline quote — “Most people thought that New York city’s great days were over. My attitude was fuck ’em” — is from Ed Koch, who was elected Mayor that year. So many similarities to today — and New York came through and thrived. “New York city went through one of the most contentious mayoral elections in 1977,” says Geraldo Rivera in the documentary. “And it came to be seen as an election for the soul of the city in the future.”

Here are some quotes from the intro to this documentary “NY77: The Coolest Year In Hell”. Enjoy…

“Back in 1977, Son of Sam was running around and everybody was scared to death.”

“The city was dirty, it was experiencing an epidemic of arson. It was covered in graffiti.”

“The city was so broke, that city services had been cut back profoundly.”

“They laid off 5,000 cops and they closed firehouses. They laid off thousands of teachers.”

“Nobody knew from day to day, whether the big Apple would become the bankrupt Apple.”

“You had to really hold onto the purse. There was an element of danger and it was also wonderfully sleazy.”

“Times Square wasn’t Disney World. It was prostitution and pimps.”

“it was great. It was, it was like the Wild West and it didn’t cost anything to fucking live here.”

“1977 was the year of the 25-hour citywide blackout that led to massive looting and in effect, the largest mass arrest in the city’s history.”

“New York City went through one of the most contentious mayoral elections in 1977. And it came to be seen as an election for the soul of the city in the future.”

“It was no coincidence that during this period of really kind of ultimate decay from New York, it was an incredibly exciting place to be.”

“It was free, it was open. You felt like you could do anything you wanted.”