Community activist Susan Howard has a column in this week's issue of The Villager. It begins:
What is a neighborhood? A place where you feel a sense of belonging as you walk down the streets? Where you know your neighbors and local shopkeepers? Where your children go to school? Where you play, garden or just shoot the breeze? Where you can sit on the stoop, in the park or in a neighborhood hangout and listen to music, gossip and lore?
That’s the way I remember the Lower East Side, before all our vacant land was sold for the development of luxury housing in an 80/20 scheme. Before it was marketed to the white upwardly mobile as a cool place to live. Before the speculators arrived to scoop up the existing buildings to turn them into luxury rentals and condos, and before many of our squats and gardens were bulldozed for more of the same. Before the largest tract of land, once promised for artists, low-income housing and community facilities, was sold in another 80/20 scheme for the development of a luxury community, Avalon Christie, before the high-rises, hotels, high-end eateries and boutiques.