Thursday, July 31, 2008

Appreciating what's left of the Bowery while it's still there

The gloom and doom about further development on the Bowery has been well documented. (Jeremiah took in the Lighting District in a post yesterday.) I recently paid a visit too, walking from Hester to Houston, careful to pay attention to every detail. Which might explain the 500 photos of doorways that I ended up taking...

(The sandals billboard was recently replaced by a Coors Light ad.)



At least there's some good news relating to the Sunshine.













Meanwhile, there are a few more photos on my new fancy Flickr page. Jeremiah has more photos here.

10 comments:

boweryboogie said...

i think the doorways are the most fascinating part of the bowery. it's the last vestige of grime and a symbol of the past.

Anonymous said...

this is the same shit they said about the "television" district on lower broadway before they built the original world trade center. can you honestly say that the city is worse off since the elimination of the television district?

Joshua said...

I think you don't hear much about it because the destruction of the Television District was a confined project that was not linked to similar large-scale development throughout the city, unlike today on the Bowery.
Anyway, I don't know if it's really a comparable change, since the World Trade Center project (as well as similar large demolitions in the sme period such as Lincoln Center or the UN) were justified as being objective projects created for the benefit of the city as a whole with clearly defined purposes, which lessened the outrage. It's not the same thing as just converting a neighborhood into a luxury district aimed at the wealthy. This stuff on the Bowery is more in the vien of a usurpation of space (in conjunction with equivalent pressures going on simultaneously everywhere else). See?

Anonymous said...

"It's not the same thing as just converting a neighborhood into a luxury district aimed at the wealthy."

uhh. point of order, the WTC was a demolition of a neighborhood to make way for the wealthy (companies, that is). There was massive eminent domain suits back then and displacement of residential and commercial interests. Surely you are aware of the outright corruption involved in chinatown with respect to illegal slave labor, illegal tenement dwellings and the like. I'm surprised the human rights groups aren't on the side of the developers on this one. Throw a rock in chinatown and you'll hit an illegal being paid slave wages, if they're being paid at all, that is.

Joshua said...

I know there were massive emminent domain suits for the WTC (the PA did a lot of bad stuff to those people), I'm just pointing out that the WTC project was limited in area and specific in purpose.

I don't know what to say about your view of Chinatown. Though I know such things occur, they aren't confined to Chinatown. What about those rich couples who get busted now and then for keeping South American illegals locked in their mansions as unpaid housekeeping?
Anyway, there's outright corruption in lots of places, not just in Chinatown. In fact, it tends to be more blatent when it has to do with luxury development, so why pick on Chinatown?

Jill said...

I too have loads of doorway photos. They are so evocative and symbolic.

Anonymous said...

"What about those rich couples who get busted now and then for keeping South American illegals locked in their mansions as unpaid housekeeping?"

They're in jail right now. As I recall they're Bangladeshis. As it relates to C-Town, not sure if you remember the freighter that washed ashore probably 15 years back or so and they found hundreds of chinese in the hold, some dead. This is how Chinatown thrives. Off the blood of illegal immigration....slave labor. I'm no neo nazi, brother, I simply hate hyporcrisy, slavery and stuff like that. Its amazing to me that most folks today piss and moan about black slavery, which is, was and should be considered evil, but there is outright slavery going on TODAY in New York City and nary a peep from anyone including the Sharptons of the world. And the Chinatown leaders sit by and let it happen. Not to mention all the illegal Section 8 illeglas sucking our collective tax moneys.

I have a friend who owns a building with Section 8 housing. An illegal Chinese couple, living in an NYC Shelter, some of which are actually nice, refused to be relocated to his building and demanded to be sent back to the Shelter. Why? because the apartment was nice enough for them!! Can you believe this shit? I'm not saying there aren't scumbag landlords out there but there most certainly are scumbag tenants out there as well, playing the system and adding to the exhorbitant costs of renting and/or purchasing an apartment here. This is not a zero sum game. There are douches on all sides of this equation my friend.

Joshua said...

Of course I remember the freighter case, in fact I thought of it right after I read your first post about Chinatown slavery. As I said before, I'm not saying these things don't exist, just that they're not confined to Chinatown and that not everyone in Chinatown is a slave (and by extension, that Chinatown itself is not a great evil that should be entirely demolished to clense the city of it's sins). That's all.

Now, in regards to the illegals with illegal Section 8's (I know you mention them in the same paragraph with the slave traders, but somehow this seems less heinous to me), I'm a bit confused. If the Chinese couple refused to live in your friend's building (presumably on a Section 8) and instead went back to the city shelter, in what way was he victimized? They weren't living in his building, and if they were their rent would be covered by Section 8, so what's the problem besides they're ungrateful attitude? I know they said the place was "too nice" for them, but perhaps they were crazy? He shouldn't take it personally. Also, how did he know they were illegal? Did they tell him?
I'm intruigued; please elaborate.

Joshua said...

I'm sorry Jill, I forgot to tell you: you should post your photos on the Vanishing NY Flicker Group so we can see them.

Jill said...

Posting photos first requires sorting and scanning, an onerous task I wish I had time for. One day, one day...