Be Careful What You Wish For

Be careful what you wish for…

evg-buildings
From a local blogger’s Twitter page.

You might get it…

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From the Second Avenue fire.

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.

The Hazards of Shopping Locally

Recently, these signs went up in the neighborhood, warning of ATM Skimming:


Click the image to enlarge

They’re on just about every lamppost, in some areas.

When EV Grieve posted something today (7/19) about the signs, in a short time commenters were complaining about this happening to them, at local stores!

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local-stores-skimming-0719-2011

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Mom! Pop! What about the community?!

* * *

Back in May:

    Governor Andrew M. Cuomo … announced the initial results of the State Liquor Authority’s (SLA) effort to combat underage drinking in New York City utilizing a part-time investigative unit. Starting on April 17, 2014, the unit made 74 visits to licensed grocery and liquor stores in all five boroughs of NYC, with 32 sales to minors.

The Manhattan stores were all in the “East Village”:

local-stores-selling-beer
Click the image to read the press release

Mom and Pop strike again!

Noise Complaints

[This is part of the Release the Kraken! series.]

September 15, 2013

Back in August, Gawker ran a story on 311 complaints in New York City:
“Do You Live In “Loud Party” New York Or “Vermin Infested” New York?”.

I mention this because, while looking for information for my post
Keep The “East Village” Weird?, I came across this story:

portland-noise-response

I don’t know if the message is “As bad as things are, it can always be worse,”
or if this portends the future of the Lower East Side.

Pawn Shops

[This is part of the Release the Kraken! series.]

September 6, 2013

In the piece Quilas: Bike Sharer, I mentioned the web site Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York. The current post on that day was Gramercy Pawnbrokers. He was concerned about a For Rent sign he saw over a pawn broker’s sign, and that they might be closing.

I commented that along with liquor stores and check cashing places, pawn shops are the scourge of poor neighborhoods. My comment was rejected. Here are some that were not:

jvny-pawnshops-1

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Too many people don’t take the time to think about what it is they’re defending.

Hyper-Gentrification Revisited

In Hyper-Gentrification, I wrote about a blogger called Jeremiah Moss. Specifically, about something he wrote called On Spike Lee & Hyper-Gentrification.

Since that time, he was invited to rewrite that piece for the New York Times, as part of their overview of gentrification. So his position, distilled, is:

    The old-school gentrification of the 20th century, while harmful, wasn’t all bad. It made streets safer, created jobs and brought fresh vegetables to the corner store. … Unlike gentrification, in which the agents of change were middle-class settlers moving into working-class and poor neighborhoods…

    …hyper-gentrification in New York was implemented via strategically planned mass rezonings, eminent domain and billions in tax breaks to corporations…

    So before gentrification became “hyper”, it wasn’t all bad, according to Moss. When the process of removing the working class from their neighborhood was happening, using all of the tools at the disposal of both real estate developers and the city, from illegal evictions, to arson, to filling vacant apartments with drug dealers to drive out tenants, to turning over in rem buildings to “developers” for pennies on the dollar, to programs like AHOP, this wasn’t all bad. The same private/public interests (themselves, bourgeois legalisms) were at play as today, at the then-existing level of development.

Moss sees gentrification starting when people and small businesses start to move into an area where they weren’t before. He fails to understand the processes that led to that, despite his many references to Neil Smith. He doesn’t see the “flipping” of buildings (buildings bought and then sold at a profit, sometimes without any renovations being made) as part of the process, or even the transition from a healthy building stock to a decrepit one. For him, as for so many like him, it starts when the outward signs become noticeable.

So what is his solution?

    Let’s drastically reduce tax breaks to corporations and redirect that money to mom-and-pops. Protect the city’s oldest small businesses by providing selective retail rent control, and implement the Small Business Survival Act to create fair rent negotiations. Pass a citywide ordinance to control the spread of chain stores. … Shop local and protest the corporate invasion of neighborhoods.

Increase taxes on corporations? OK. Direct the money to small businesses? To what end? If the Small Business Survival Act creates fair rent negotiations (Moss’s contention), small business rents will be lower. So what will they do with the money? Raise their employees’ wages? Ha! Pocket the money? Probably. Use the money to expand? Probably. So the small businesses will become big businesses, in time. Maybe even chains. Regarding shopping locally, I’ve already addresses that.

Moss’s changes will only benefit small business owners. That is his starting and ending point.

    This … is the transformation of society in a democratic way, but a transformation within the bounds of the petty bourgeoisie. … [I]t believes that the special conditions of its emancipation are the general conditions within whose frame alone modern society can be saved and the class struggle avoided.*

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* The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte, accessed April 27, 2014.

Pearl Paint Illegally Fired 39 Workers

There’s been some hubbub recently about Pearl Paint, a five-story art supply store on Canal Street, closing.

It was first reported (as far as I know) by Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York, the small-business-lamentation blog.

On Tuesday, DNAInfo reported that Pearl Paint illegally fired 39 of their workers! In his piece, Jeremiah reported, regarding the closing: “The information has not been confirmed with Pearl…” but there’s no mention of his speaking with any of the workers. He did report it on his Facebook page, but there’s no follow-up on his blog.

This is why it’s important not to be pie-eyed about small businesses. Glitter and paint cannot cover up class relations.

Promoting Ukrainian Fascism – Part 2

I hope this doesn’t have to become a regular series.

Here’s a quick look at some headlines from the past week from sources outside of the “East Village”:

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dreamdeferred.org.uk

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The Daily Beast

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Time Magazine

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Counterpunch

So, how is this being presented in the “East Village” you ask?:

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EV Grieve

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The Villager

ukraine2-dnainfo0227
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La Mama, via DNA Info

To their credit, The Lo-Down and Bowery Boogie have not been propagating this. It waits to be seen if The Shadow will write anything in their next issue.†

* * *

A musical about current events is not necessarily a bad thing. The San Francisco Mime Troupe had a musical called Steeltown, about the rise and fall of steel-worker jobs in this country. And while searching other blogs for this piece, I came across something The Lo-Down wrote last January about The Living Theater’s performance of “Here We Are” (from their promotional material):

    In the show, the international (and multi-generational) company “visits the Anarchist collectives of France, Spain and Ukraine [Emphasis mine–Q] for the 19th and 20th centuries, and finds (them)selves transported to an immersive and participatory underground outdoor/indoor crossroads of our present moment. The ensemble and the audience work together to manufacture and perform the potential creative possibilities for a post revolutionary world of beauty and non violence.”

Of course, that’s not what this performance is about.

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Headlines like:

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And then! In a flash of total-recall, I totally recalled this, from an EV Grieve piece written last January:

[Bob]
ukraine2-bob-holman-antisocialist

Socialist post-modernism? It’s fine to dislike Avalon buildings, but to throw in “socialist”, when socialism had absolutely nothing to do with the topic (1st meeting of the No 7-Eleven group), makes his position then, and now, all the more suspect. Interestingly enough, this was written at the same time of the performance of “Here We Are”.

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† After a ten-year (?) hiatus, The Shadow recently published a new issue. I meant to write something about it but I haven’t got around to it yet. I even paid a dollar for the paper! I don’t remember ever having to pay for The Shadow before.

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