15 user 7 critic

Slaves of New York (1989)

R | | Comedy, Drama | March 1989 (USA)
Eleanor lives with the artist Stash. Just like his artist friends, he is completely unknown but is waiting for the big break. Stash is mean to her and finally she leaves him. Ironically, ... See full summary »


James Ivory


Tama Janowitz (based on the stories by), Tama Janowitz (screenplay)




Cast overview, first billed only:
Bernadette Peters ... Eleanor
Chris Sarandon ... Victor Okrent
Mary Beth Hurt ... Ginger Booth
Madeleine Potter ... Daria
Adam Coleman Howard ... Stash
Jsu Garcia ... Marley (as Nick Corri)
Charles McCaughan ... Sherman
John Harkins ... Chuck Dade Dolger
Mercedes Ruehl ... Samantha
Joe Leeway ... Jonny Jalouse
Anna Katarina ... Mooshka
Bruce Peter Young Bruce Peter Young ... Mikell
Michael Schoeffling ... Jan
Steve Buscemi ... Wilfredo
Jonas Abry Jonas Abry ... Mickey


Eleanor lives with the artist Stash. Just like his artist friends, he is completely unknown but is waiting for the big break. Stash is mean to her and finally she leaves him. Ironically, she gets her big break - as a hat designer. Written by Mattias Thuresson

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Comedy | Drama


R | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Bernadette Peters and Mercedes Ruehl were both born on the exact same day - 28 February 1948, and they were both born in Queens, New York. See more »


At about 1:17:55 when Stash comes home after spending the night with Daria, the shadow of the boom mic can be seen on the red door. See more »


Eleanor: What happened? Where were you?
Stash: Daria was helping me at the studio and I walked her home and took her dog for a walk and it was attacked by a cheetah.
See more »


Featured in At the Movies: Breakthrough Stars of 1992 (1992) See more »


(end title)
Written by Boy George (as G. O'Dowd), Vlad Naslas
Performed by Boy George
Produced by Vlad Naslas
Published by Virgin Music (ASCAP)
Copyright Control
See more »

User Reviews

Bernadette Peters as a Bohemian
2 September 2012 | by drednmSee all my reviews

This over-long look at New York's art scene in the 1980 is based on a book of short stories by Tama Janowitz. Like the stories, this film has lots of characters and a meandering plot that basically follows Eleanor (Bernadette Peters) through her life of being a New York "slave" (a person who lives with a person who owns the house or has the lease for the apartment), designing weird hats, looking for love, and the endless whirl of parties, art openings, and friends.

Peters lives with an artist named Stash (Adam Coleman Howard)who is self-absorbed and unpleasant. Stash latches onto wealthy Daria (Madeleine Potter) who is a would-be artist but is too wealthy to really care. They run in the same circle as Marley (Jsu Garcia billed as Nick Corri) who paints but who really wants to start a church in Rome. His agent (Mary Beth Hurt) puts him in touch with a wealthy nutjob (John Harkins) who finances all sorts of weird "art" projects such as the guy in Montana who moves mud from one end of the garden to the other.

The plot follows Peters but also exposes the incredible arrogance of art as well as its cyclic trendiness. What is art? Who knows.

Co-stars in the film include Stanley Tucci, Tammy Grimes, Christine Dunford, Tama Janowita (as Abby), Steve Buscemi, Betty Comden, Chris Sarandon, Mercedes Ruehl, Michael Schoeffling, Bruce Peter Young, Louis Guss, Anthony LaPaglia, and Charles McCaughan as Sherman.

There's a brilliant and very funny interlude as three drag queens with a boom box and dressed in skin-tight red gowns parade down the street as the Supremes lip-syncing to "Love Is Like an Itching in My Heart." The sequence is just another look at fun and silliness of performance art.

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Release Date:

March 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Slaves of New York See more »

Filming Locations:

New York City, New York, USA See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$26,118, 19 March 1989

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »

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