Gothamist has unearthed fantastic footage of circa-1980s East Village, long before it underwent its fashionable makeover, which got us doing a little digging ourselves. This nugget from 1991 shows "man on the street" interviewer Jerry Rio planting himself at the corner of West 72nd Street and Broadway, which, too, has been the nexus of the neighborhood's spendy transformation.
For starters, there's no longer a fruit stand where Rios has parked himself; it's now, no surprise, a bank branch. The subway station at the intersection itself has been renovated, too. Elsewhere, the UWS has shed some of its comfy, scruffy feel, giving way to high-end retailers and, of course, luxe condos. Real estate-wise, the change, like most other Manhattan neighborhoods, has been profound. On the southwest corner, a high-end rental building (called, yes, The Corner), is asking $19,000 a month for a three-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath ($3555 a month for a studio), per Streeteasy. According to an August 1991 article in the New York Times, a two-bedroom at the Alexandria, a then-newly risen condo that probably pushed the price barrier, was going for $3999 a month.
If there's one sentiment that captures just how much this slice of the city, and the city in general, has changed, it's got to be Matthew Auerbach's, a comedy writer who told the Times back then: "As a renter, I've found New York a very friendly place."