Sunday, July 17, 2011

The East Village turns to glass


The continuation of the end of the East Village:

A building whose graffiti has always appealed to me is about to die. I read the story, written by Cara Buckley,  in The Times. That led me to Andrea Legge's blog about the end of the building where she has lived - 7-and-a-Half-2nd-Avenue, where she writes:

One day a couple years ago our front doors (one is the old CUANDO 2nd Ave entrance) turned up grey. Solid battleship grey, not a mark on them. I was furious. Our front had been a glorious mash up of graffiti upon graffiti, neglected, or rather, I'd like to say, a work in progress for about 18 years at that time.

Contrast, contradiction, eccentricity, expression on this corner of the East Village and elsewhere in this city mark for me the opposite of respectable uniformity, which in property development terms means blank resolution. When everything and everyone is the same, what is left to talk about, think about, question, reconsider?


In the years when I passed the building almost every day on the way to work, I took too few pictures.

The original tenants are not being thrown out by evil developers. They will have brand new apartments in the new, 12-storey glass building for the asking price of $10. That's ten dollars. And they sound relieved, after a long battle. Four units were will sold to low income buyers and the rest will be rented out, starting at $3,200 for a studio.

Wall of the Mars Bar

The Times' story ends with a quote from an attendee at a party thrown in the building by tenant Justin Bond (of Kiki and Herb):

It’s going to be suburban people with babies and a Banana Republic and a Gap and one of those candle stores on street level,” grumbled the set designer and performer Machine Dazzle, who was wearing a homemade sheath and towered over other partygoers in Lucite heels that pushed him to 6 feet 8 inches.

Shiny, new, see-through buildings.

And that, to me, means the end of conversation.

2 comments:

  1. I read this yesterday too. I hardly recognize any of the Bowery or the E village anymore. that part of town like Wburg and now Greenpoint are part of a new city now.
    Sadly it's what NY is, ever-changing and now ever-gentrifying. The past few years the change has been rapid, but it is hard to accept that the rich (and their offspring) are getting ever richer while the middle class and the poor are truly being priced out completely. It is hard to think where to go and what to do next. Storbie told me a good old-fashioned crime wave could solve the problem but I fear only a punk rock uprising will do.

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  2. Just saw this article via twitter and though of your post - NY Times reporting an upsurge in graffiti - http://nyti.ms/naL345

    Love good graffiti - always wished that Cape Town's trains could just be formalised graffiti canvas rather than the current hideous institutional yellow/grey.transport.

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