Like hip-hop, punk emerged in New York City as a response to urban crisis. But whereas hip-hop predominately originated among black and Latino working class families, punk was a white working-class culture.
Purcell locates punk in the rich tradition of cultural innovation in New York City history. Punk bands, he argues, were political (if not in content) in their use of space and the appropriation of decaying urban infrastructure which informed the punk aesthetic. The New York Dolls confronted the heteronormative capitalist cityscape by performing in drag, or even as transvestites in the case of Wayne (Jayne) County, in dilapidated venues like the Mercer Arts Center (now NYU graduate student housing).
This presentation contends with and explores the development of punk culture as intrinsically tied to urban decay, and moreover as a political culture that was as much sexual as it was social.