Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Confirmed: LES overrun by idiots at night


Matt Harvey delves into the horror show also known as the LES nightlife scene in this week's NYPress cover story. God help us.

In what was once the center of the gentrification goldrush — the section between the Bowery and Essex Streets north of Delancey — most of the businesses left from the boom are nightspots catering to less-sophisticated outer-borough and beyond patrons. Fat Baby, Mason-Dixon and R Bar, along with restaurants that serve over-priced drinks, like Stanton Social or Spitzer’s Corner, dominate. Residents recently suffered the final affront when Zagat ranked the Lower East Side the city’s “hottest nightlife neighborhood,” replacing its more upmarket rival, the Meatpacking District, already renowned for its annoying nightlife clientele.

Susan Stetzer, the district manager for Community Board 3 and a long-term resident of the Lower East Side, says that the area is now an “entertainment center” for the bridge-and tunnel set. “Residents have given up if they still live there,” says Stetzer. She and other residents complain that the streets, shorn of businesses, are empty during the day because the tenants couldn’t pay rents inflated by the influx of nightlife money. Then, at night, it’s wall-to-wall yokels from the suburbs, which, according to Stetzer, “is really depressing.” She’s an advocate of vanishing mom-and-pop shops and dive bars, and says no one who lives in the LES goes to the clubs and lounges. “If they do, they don’t tell me,” she says. Others claim it’s impossible to find a quiet place to have a conversation and a drink.

8 comments:

Jeremiah Moss said...

hideously great story. i'm stealing it for my everyday chatter...

EV Grieve said...

Indeed! Matt did a nice job with it...

Anonymous said...

i live on 2nd between A and B...for over 4 years now (and on A btw 5th and 6th for 5 years before then).

i don't care for "Element" and i would never go there...but this article makes it sound like it is literally tearing the neighborhood apart and that nothing can go on while this still exists.

this is not the case. the neighborhood manages to get by just fine. there are plenty of spots to go and avoid all of the crap that this place brings: Library bar, Double down, 2A, 7B, Motor City, Marshall Stack, Ace Bar...I could go on. not to mention all of the restaurants that also do not cater to any of the crowd that goes to Element.

all is not lost. life goes on. the 50's LES is not the 60's is not the 70's is not the 80's is not the 90's and won't be the 00's.

Anonymous said...

the tldr version: we hate and are scared of wealthy white people and anyone of other ethnicities.

coby said...

Yes we are, and yes I am.

esquared said...

Matt is Sheila's boyfriend. Just saying. She just posted this on her tumblr.

prodigal son said...

"Residents recently suffered the final affront when Zagat ranked the Lower East Side the city’s “hottest nightlife neighborhood,” replacing its more upmarket rival, the Meatpacking District, already renowned for its annoying nightlife clientele."

I love this quote. So "hottest nightlife neighborhood" is really some sort of code for "its really time to stop going here?"

prodigal son said...

About three years ago I was nearly run over by a giant SUV with Jersey license plates in the MPD during the late afternoon. Once I jumped to the curbed the driver and passenger pointed to me and laughed. That was a pretty good sign that it wasn't a matter of avoiding Friday night and Saturday night, I pretty much has no reason to go to the area, period.

The funny thing is that you can read guidebooks printed as recently as 2005 pointing tourists to the Meatpacking districts as some sort of hot, up and coming neighborhood. I've found that guidebooks to other cities contain errors but are just not this bad. Probably research into a guidebook stops a year before its published and other cities don't change as rapidly and constantly as New York.

The LES is not there yet, as Anonymous 4:45 pointed out there are still some cool places, but the trend is pretty clear. The NY Press article was good, but had one error, Element is one of a long line of B & T clubs occupying that building. Its really the spread of smaller places that aim for similar crowds, but are less over the top, pretty much throughout the neighborhood that are changing the character.