Sunday, March 2, 2008

Richard Price on the Lower East Side: "This place is like Byzantium"

There's a feature on Bronx-born Richard Price today in the Times. His new novel, Lush Life, is set in the Lower East Side, and concerns a seemingly random murder.

Excerpts from the article:

About the Lower East Side today, Mr. Price said, “This place is like Byzantium. It’s tomorrow, yesterday — anyplace but today.” He added that he sometimes thinks of the neighborhood as a very busy ghost town, where many of the ghosts milling around still speak Yiddish.

His grandparents got their start in the Lower East Side, he explained, and while Mr. Price was growing up his father worked here as a window dresser for the many small clothing shops that used to be an important part of the neighborhood economy.

“In a way the whole place has come full-circle in five generations,” Mr. Price said. “A hundred years ago there were Jews trying to claw their way out of here, and now the descendants of those people are paying $2,000 a month to live in what used to be their tenements.”

[Price image by Sara Krulwich/The New York Times]

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