Saturday, August 6, 2011

At the 'Let Them Eat Cake/Eat the Rich/ No Comfort Zone street party'

First stop tonight for John Penley and company — the Economakis Dream Mansion on East Third Street...




...then it was on to the BMW Guggenheim Lab ... where the group busted inside as the gates were closing... and LES Jewels read a poem...



Then!


The Mars Bar...


We'll have more tomorrow... all photos by Bobby Williams.

Previously.

31 comments:

Goggla said...

Thanks to Mr Penley for organizing this! Everyone who took photos and video - spread the word! Why were no local artists featured in the Guggenheim ART exhibit? Why were no local kids hired to work here for the summer? Thank you also to everyone who came out and spoke. Your courage, intelligence and loud voices are invaluable.

And, to Jewels - your poem was beautiful.

john penley said...

I think Bob Arihood will have a very different take on the Guggenheim Lab reaction. Me Too.

EV Grieve said...

I'm just hearing more about that, John. I removed that "cooperative" line. Will follow up with you later for your take...

Anonymous said...

This looks like a proper waste of time.

Anonymous said...

Looks like a fun event. Sorry I couldn't be there. Doesn't do squat to help the gentrification issue but it's a nice excuse for friends to get together on a summer night and take some pictures and have a good time. Glad everyone enjoyed the night. God Bless all.

John M said...

Well, 20 years ago I thought the riot was idiotic on the part of both sides. And wanting to go back to those days and the ones before it seems equally idiotic to me--those were not good times, and this was not a good place to live.

Obviously, the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction, but pissing up a rope like these folks isn't going to do anything about it. Nothing. All they get is whatever it helps them with in terms of anger management and their self image as outsiders. There are more constructive ways to spend time, but I suppose screaming about inequity in a time of massive inequity to an uncaring public enjoying the inequity is one way to spend a day.

I'm pretty sick of the way this capitalist society has turned out, myself, but I understand that that's what it is. All the protests of the past 20-some years have led to right where we are. When I'm able, I'll be moving to a more socialist-leaning place that's more in tune with my ideas. Meanwhile, as long as I live in a system that worships capitalism, is proud of that religion and has been based on it for 225 years, I've had to accept reality. This is what you get, and most people like it.

Hopefully, the Riot Reunion participants and protesters put as much energy into endeavors that actually help folks who are on the short end of the stick.

Jeremiah Moss said...

i'm very grateful to John Penley for putting on these protests, and i hope there will be more.

the people who've come into the EV in recent years need to know that the culture they've brought with them is not celebrated and welcomed by all the residents. Mr. Penley makes sure to pierce their bubble of self-congratulation.

it may not change anything, but the presence of vocal and visible dissent is critically necessary.

Anonymous said...

LONDON's BURNING LONDON'S BURNING all across the town ....

Melanie said...

They may be gone (due to gentrification) but they are remembered thanks to Penly and his crew.

Lux Living said...

Good for them! If we don't fight, these people will continue devouring our neighborhoods. It's a cultural holocaust.

Marty Wombacher said...

Sorry to have missed the beginning of the party/protest, but it was great seeing everyone at Mars Bar. Thanks to John Penley for organizing this and continuing his activism in New York City. Nice shots by Bobby Williams.

Anonymous said...

Let's make sure to not credit one person with being the only East Village activist. There have been many. The activists tend to want to publicize their good deeds. They want to get their name out there, have their photos taken, be recognized for protesting. But it is your average person going about their business and working and helping their neighbors who should be celebrated.

John M said...

First off, this remains a great blog and I'll always love it and Vanishing New York as long as Jeremiah and Grieve continue to make the effort.

The presence of vocal and visible dissent is fine, it shows we haven't gone all the way to totalitarianism, economic or otherwise. But that's about the only point it serves. Protest after protest, year after year, it just all gets worse and fewer people care. The protests themselves are basically anachronistic--historical artifacts from an earlier time, fighting fights long lost and, to some degree, never worth fighting in the first place.

The only thing I heard about from this particular protest that had any relevance whatsoever is that it asked why no local kids were hired for the corporate psuedo-cultural timewaste sponsored by BMW and the Guggenheim. That's an issue worth bringing to public attention, as is why our neighborhood public parks have been given over to privileged youngsters most weekends, crowding out neighborhood kids. The rest of this stuff is masturbatory, a carnival conducted by people who seem to actually think times were better when the park was an open sewer full of needles and tents, or when everything east of Ave. A was a drug dealer war zone. The reason people could afford to live here in the 70s and 80s was simple: nobody wanted to live here, including the great majority of folks who had no choice. This is no longer the case, for good and bad.

It's simply my contention that events like this are a waste of time for everyone, including those of us who do miss aspects of past days and find aspects of today repugnant. These people are not the spirit of the East Village any more than the whoo-hooing frat clowns of today. Talk to the people who grew up here during the bad old days and survived with their decency and sanity intact. That's where you'll find it. Not at the Riot Reunion.

Romanticizing the past is a bad idea. Remembering it through the prism these folks offer is a disservice to history, reality and our collective experience of living here.

john penley said...

Finally Anonymous said something I actually agree with. Helping your neighbors is a good thing and the Yuppie scum are not about that. I wish others would organize things against gentrification and other things. By the way last night was the most fun I have had in a long time and thanks for the kiss Marty.

Anonymous said...

mr penley, has done well for all of us He is also a vet who speaks up for the red white and blue well done

john penley said...

John M If the protest was such a "waste of time" why did you and all the others waste your time to comment and think about it ? Also since you were not there how can you comment on what was said. If we want to "waste our time protesting why should you care. Like I said you spent a lot of wasted time thinking about the protest and commenting on it. So I actually do not think it was a WASTE OF TIME !!

Anonymous said...

Thank you to Anonymous 3:44 p.m. for the articulate, reasoned response. He represents the true East Villagers... the people who have stayed in the neighborhood through thick and thin. I am not a fan of the interlopers who come and go, returning to stir the pot but not staying and contributing to the social fabric of our great neighborhood. And it should be about the neighborhood not about people looking for attention for themselves.

john penley said...

Anonymous you are the biggest asshole who seems obsessed with me on EV and for some punk ass jerk who is to cowardly to put your name on comments I have a comment for you you are an interloper because all aholes who use that term are right wing real estate developer loving scum. My comment to you BITE MT !

john penley said...

Oh and anonymous Bite MT> is short for bite my http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=tuchus

Marty Wombacher said...

@John Penley: It was my pleasure. Great to finally meet you!

john penley said...

I have been able to post links from Gothamist and all others on the BMW Guggenheim Facebook page but they are blocking links from your site. If they are open to free discussion like they say why are they blocking this blog ? They are not open and I bet they will block links from the others I posted as soon as they see them.

chris flash said...

AnonymASS(es): As Jeremiah points out, though we can't stop monied transients from invading our neighborhoods and displacing residents and local businesses, we sure as hell DON'T have to let them feel welcome here!!

Thank goodness for John Penley's demos -- we have to keep the heat turned up and stay in their faces!!

To those of you who criticize John's demos, the TSP Riot Re-union and other political activism: What the fuck are YOU doing about the gentrifiers????

bp8501 said...

i'm glad this happened so called "yuppies", which must mean young college educated people with moderately paying jobs - because thats who is moving in here because they can't afford other areas of manhattan, are a scourge that must be stopped

rob said...

@John M: you write, "nobody wanted to live here, including the great majority of folks who had no choice." It's true that many of the families who lived here should have had the economic choice to leave. That's an important issue of social-economic justice. But many of us came here in the 60's and 70's for the freedom, regardless of its dangers, real or perceived. Abandonment, marginality and low real estate values open the space for freedom -- you can paint on someone else's building and the owner doesn't care; glue mosaics on city property and the city doesn't notice. When property has no value, it belongs in effect to the people who live in it, not its owner, and not the municipal authority. Raise those real estate values and you find every kind of social control and homogeneity creeping in, along with the landlord and the police until ownership and money has appropriated every inch of space.

Back around 1980, a friend, Candice from Ave B, decided to create spandex clothes. She appropriated an abandoned storefront on 7th Street near A. All the kids on the street were in and out of there helping Candice.

My neighbor brought out the pieces of a vintage auto and built it on the street over a space of about a year. Again, all the kids participated. A couple of years ago, he got a ticket for fixing his auto on C in front of Con Ed on 14th Street where there isn't even any traffic.

Did a lot of young men die in the drug trade? Yes. Did many, many more spend their young adulthoods in prison. Yes. Should those families have had the opportunity to get out of this place. I'm completely with you, JohnM. But that's important issue of social justice is unrelated to the issue of the cultural significance of this place. It's no argument, I mean, that this place in the midst of Manhattan was not the unique and greatest anti-capital of anarchic freedom and diversity and in New York, maybe in the world, in its moment.

Jocelyn said...

Rent controlled/stabilized buildings can cost landlords money and it probably became a liability for anyone to own the building. Maybe building a mansion is over-the-top, but why should landlords be expected to subsidize the rents of people people paying well-below market value for their apartments? Seems as though it's not just the landlords who are acting spoiled and entitled...

Perhaps your time would be better spent pushing for rent control reform rather than dwelling on a battle you already lost. If landlords could afford to own buildings in the the East Village, this might not happen again.

john penley said...

I just received this info from Rob Hollander. Rob Hollander The Gothamist describes the Lab's Kristian Koreman as having roots as a squatter in Rotterdam, but neglects to mention that he is an "anti-squatter" which is a commercial enterprise designed to prevent squatting: "In a country where squatting is allowed if a building has been empty for more than a year, it is one of about 30 firms offering anti-squatting services and doing brisk trade as slumping property sales leave many a building at risk" (from Expatica.com). Anti-squatting may be an interesting solution to Dutch legal squatting, it is not squatting and it's not a local community solution -- it's most convenient for travelers, (including tourists) -- sort of like hostels. It preserves real estate values and promotes tourism, just like the Guggenheim Lab. http://www.expatica.com/nl​/housing/where_to_live/Dut​ch-anti_squatting-business​-thrives-amid-economic-cri​sis-_14201.html
Kristian Koreman told me he was a former squatter but neglected to tell me he is now part of a for profit anti squatter company. Another rat in the BMW Guggenheim Lab Woodpile. F him !!!!!

chris flash said...

Rob: That was a beautifully-written piece!

Jocelyn: Landlords are NOT subsidizing anyone's rents. NO ONE is forcing them to buy apt. buildings at the peak of an inflated market, knowing full well that the rent roll won't cover the debt service on their property.

The ONLY reason landlords are willing to pay too much for a property is that they intend to evict or remove by whatever means they can anyone paying a reasonable rent. Why should a legitimate tenant be victimized a real estate shark??

Two possible solutions: The city should assess properties based on rental income so that real estate taxes would be reduced. A very high tax (30% - 40% - 50%) imposed on buyers who pay too much for a property (based on the rent roll), or on someone who buys and flips a property, would discourage an inflated market for apt. buildings.

Unfortunately, the city's master plan is to encourage gentrification, not to preserve the existing stock of affordable housing, so real estate parasites have a free hand, enabled by people like you, Jocelyn, who are accusing their victims of somehow getting over....

Anonymous said...

I am down with the protests. But out of curiosity have these protests done anything to stem the tide? I am seriously asking. Are there any examples of the recent protests working and landlords lightening up on tenants who can't afford to pay more?

john penley said...

Protests have caused landlords to stop illegal construction and tenant harassment and they may have slowed down NYU's dorm expansion as NYU is now being watched by the neighborhood much more.

blue glass said...

years ago my new landlord told the housing court judge that his wife scrubbed floors on her hands and knees so they could buy the building -
i said they shouldn't have bought the building if they couldn't afford it.
market rate rents are all about landlord greed. there is no way a blue-collar worker can afford $3,000 a month in rent. all the new developments are geared to the wealthy. there is very little new subsidized housing and almost none for the middle class.
if a landlord is losing money there is a mechanism for him/her/them to open their books to a court and get legal increases.
if rents are dependent on income, (be it $150,000, $200,000 or more) if you lose your job will your rent go down?
the cost of housing is only different from other commodities or services in that people NEED a place to live. you can do without a new coat or tv.
our city is rapidly becoming a mecca for the tourist and the rich. who will clean the rooms, sell the food, drive the subways if everyone is priced out of the city?

rob said...

All this questioning of accomplishment! What I love about Penley is that, on the one hand, he's sharp, insightful, sane and intelligent, and, on the other, he's courageous, outrageous, impish, creative and fun. It's the same mix as Abbie Hoffman's; it's not a common one and it's a voice that the market cannot articulate. It accomplishes exactly what it is, expressive anarchy.