A Blast from the Past

You might think the blast from the past is the resurrection of this blog, but no…. It’s a video from four years ago.

And, I guess, the resurrection of this blog, for the purpose of announcing said video. It’s almost Easter, after all — resurrection is in the air.

On September 20, 2014, the gimpy elm tree in Tompkins Square Park was set to be cut down by the Parks Department, because it was hollow and leaning dangerously.

Performance artist Bill Talen (who lives in Brooklyn), appeared seemingly out of nowhere to hamper the workers’ progress.

He came alone, with no supporters. The only people there that day were people passing through the park on their way somewhere else, and a handful of bloggers with cameras there to record the felling of the tree.

I contacted Mr. Talen, via email, and offered to sell him this video. I thought he might want to use it for promotional purposes. He wrote back and said he would present the offer to his organization to decide, and get back to me. He never did.

I thought about posting the video then, but held off since it was clearly so promotional that I didn’t want to be seen as a propagandist!

Recently, wanting to free up my hard drive for important videos, I decided to delete this, but always with an eye to posterity, to post it first.

So here it is:

The Bike Wars Are Over, and the Bikes Won

I’ve been meaning to get back to writing this blog for a long time.
Maybe this is how I’ll start, by posting links to other articles.

* * *

Bloomberg’s Former Transportation Commissioner
Relives the Great Bikelash of 2010.

Source: The Bike Wars Are Over, and the Bikes Won — NYMag

The Aftermath of the Second Avenue Fire

One of the things I’ve wanted to write about recently is the fire on Second Avenue and East 7th Street. Not the fire itself so much, but my thoughts, prompted by the fire. It’s not a topic for East Village Today though, so I didn’t write it there, but since I’m inspired to write here again, I’ll take up this topic.

One of the things I’ve been thinking about is the terrible condition of so many of the buildings in this neighborhood. They were substandard when built, in the late 19th century, and they’re in even worse condition today. Any one of them could burn up the way the four buildings did on Second Avenue that day — and it wouldn’t take a gas line explosion to ignite them.

Some, however, are clearly in worse shape than others. I started taking pictures of buildings that probably would go up quickly if they caught fire.

This one is on East 12th Street:


This one is on First Avenue:


* * *

BuzzFeed discussed this issue with author Luc Sante, in an article on March 31. So there!

Be Careful What You Wish For

Be careful what you wish for…

From a local blogger’s Twitter page.

You might get it…

From the Second Avenue fire.

A New Blog

If you’ve been wondering what I’ve been up to, why I haven’t posted anything on this blog in such a long time, I will tell you. The first reason is that, since the Fall of 2014, I’ve been really busy at work. The second reason is this…

Click the image.

Now that I’m looking at this blog again though, I’m inspired to start writing here again. I always thought I’d merge the two blogs eventually; maybe this is a step in that direction.

Mud Coffee in First Park

Mud Coffee is one of those local companies that “East Villagers” love to love. They started by selling coffee from a bright orange truck in Astor Place, then they opened up a café on East 9th Street, and most recently took over the gazebo in First Park (at First Avenue and East 1st Street), once occupied by Veselka.

Regular readers of Quilas* will know my position on privatization of public spaces: I don’t think any company should operate in any park, nor should park conservancies have domain over them. That said, Mud operates the gazebo in First Park.

They weren’t there for very long before they hung this sign, on the south side of the park:


It wasn’t up for very long before it was removed, either by the Parks Department or the Mud people at the behest of the Parks Department. I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t have done it of their own volition.

Fast forward to November, 2014, and these appeared:

Northeast corner.

Southwest corner.

South side, at F-train entrance.

Southeast corner.

Responsible citizen that I am, I filed a complaint with 311. With some complaints, you can upload photos, and this was one of those. I uploaded three of the photos; a few weeks later, the signs were down.

Free of obnoxious signs.

These people have shown no regard for the public nature of this park, so I’m sure they’ll try something again.

* * *

One of the buzzwords of the “East Village” is “community”. Small businesses like Mud are considered part of this “community”, but what type of community member actively tries to destroy that community? The answer, as I’ve written before, is that “community” is not a group that includes everyone — it’s small-business owners and their customers. The Mud owners would take over the park entirely if given the opportunity. It’s already been alleged that they close the park early:


I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who cares about these things.


*As regular as that can be, given my infrequent posting!

Can These Bones Live: Urban Decay Chic

I don’t remember how I came onto this blog, but the author of this piece (link below) makes a couple of very incisive points:

1) People who move into abandoned, decaying urban areas desire that type of environment, and any change, any improvement, will upset them, not just gentrification. This is a big problem in the “East Village” of New York, but one which is growing smaller as this population ages.

2) If people feel the need to live in these areas, they still exist. Cleveland, Detroit… Detroit! They privatized the government and turned off the water to those who cannot pay! If you’re an artist and need that type of deprivation, it’s there waiting for you!

Can These Bones Live: Urban Decay Chic.

The Human Scale | Relational Cartographies

Today I’m going through my Drafts folder and posting links to other blogs that I clicked the “Press This” link while reading but didn’t immediately post. This came from Relational Cartographies, reblogged by urbanculturanstudies:

I haven’t seen this yet, but it’s important to point out that efforts such as bike lanes and pedestrian malls are not temporary and isolated, nor the result of “12 years of Bloomberg”.

51 Astor Place, East Village, NYC | Mid‑Century Mundane

Some weeks (months?) ago, I was looking for a photo of the Cooper Union building that now no longer exists (the building, not the photo). I know I have one, but for my purposes, I didn’t need my own — any would do.

That’s when I found this fantastic blog, called Mid-Century Mundane. It’s a name I would have chosen!

Anyway, this is what the author had to say about the Cooper Union building, but you should bookmark this site.

51 Astor Place, East Village, NYC | Mid-Century Mundane.

Trivia Question

Who said this?


Previous Older Entries