Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Is it time to leave the East Village?

A reader left this comment on the Starbucks post from yesterday... and I've been thinking about it...

It's a whole new demographic around here at this point. I know because I've talked to some of my neighbors who are recent college grads from places like Wake Forest or Villanova or Bucknell, etc. I've heard it from the horse's mouth — there is a whole culture here of these type of transplants. They really do hang out together at places like "13th step" and they really are clueless about this neighborhood and what it once was. It's a tidal wave, it's an epochal shift. The EV as you knew it is officially over. I hate to be a defeatist but IMO it is time to wave the white flag. I myself am planning to move out within a couple of years and it is the thought of that helps get me through my New York days.

I've heard variations of this sentiment many times — more so in the last few months than in any recent years ... I know people who have left — chased by the luxurification — to find lower rents in the upper reaches of Manhattan or the outer sections of Queens or Brooklyn... and I know people who continue to talk about moving, disgusted by the luxurification ... some people I know who discuss leaving cite as a reason the continued influx of more and more bars (and bargoers), one concept seemingly dumber than the previous one. Some people tell me that they don't fit in any more. Too old. Too weird. Too broke. Time to go.


Are you thinking about moving too? Are you ready to raise the white flag?

In closing, here's some perspective from a New York Times article (excerpted via Ephemeral New York here) titled "The affluent set invades the East Village."

The article is from November 1964.


Anonymous said...

As someone whole lived in the EV from 2000-2010 (my twenties), let me just say, in 2000, chatter around Ave A was that the EV was dead. I moved out of NYC for greener pastures, more space, nice house, blah blah blah, it ain't all that. So unless big greek letters show up above where SUPERDIVE used to be, enjoy the good food, the happy hours, public urination, and make it your business to tell the newbies that Tompkins Square Park used to be a place to score, this sushi joint used to be the Alcatraz, and people from New Jersey and Long Island were once afraid to go east of 3rd Ave. And if they complain about the noise, ask, "who put a gun to your head and told you to move in to what is famously a loud and obnoxious neighborhood in a town known as the city that never sleeps?"

Anonymous said...

Moved here in 1989, and was dismissively told by new neighbor that the East Village was dead and she was moving to Chicago. I later learned that she moved here 6 months before me.

Jeremiah Moss said...

to get the same (stabilized) rent i have now, i'd have to move to a studio in Flushing. and i really don't want to move to a studio in Flushing.

if i suddenly strike it rich, however, i'm out of the EV in a flash.

when i moved here, it was a completely different neighborhood. i would NEVER choose to move to the EV today.

Anonymous said...

I am in exactly the same position as Jeremiah and agree with him 100%. In fact, some days a studio in Flushing doesn't sound so bad. Good Chinese food and maybe I would ride my bike more, perhaps into Manhattan instead of taking the subway. Let's go!

Gojira said...

"who put a gun to your head and told you to move in to what is famously a loud and obnoxious neighborhood in a town known as the city that never sleeps?"

Oh puh-leeze. As someone who predates Anonymous 7:50's decade long-tenure in the EV by about 30 years, I'd like to ask him, what about people like me, who've lived here for decades, and who moved in LONG before it became a "famously...loud and obnoxious neighborhood"? What would you say to us? The East Village of the 1970s and 1980s was a ghost town at night, the streets deserted save for shambling junkies and winos and dealers, who definitely kept a low profile - not a "woo" to be heard from them, ever. Stores closed early. The few bars and restaurants east of 1st Avenue were strictly for locals, so were low-key and quiet. The streets were dark, thanks to the dealers' habit of ripping out the wiring in the street lights to they could ply their trade unseen. Many buildings were burned out or abandoned shells, Many lots were empty, cleared of the edifices and the life that had existed in them for so long. We came here despite the "grime and crime" because we were attracted to the desolation, the history, the cheap living, the danger who knows - it was not to live in the heart of fabulousness. And what, Anon, do you say to the ones who predate even my group - the dwindling community of Polish and Ukrainian people who called this place home before it was even on my radar? Or don't they matter because they're too old? You display the typical arrogance of a non-New Yorker - the standard "if you don't like it here go back to ____ - (fill in whatever sleepy hamlet you want)" line is is a giant load of steaming crap, as far as I am concerned. I did not come here for the nightlife. I did not come here to get stinking drunk and publicly make an ass of myself. I did not come here to indulge in pub crawls. I did not come here to troll the streets in wolf packs looking for the next whiskey bar. I came here to make this place my home, my neighborhood, my sanctuary. Unlike you, I did not abandon it after a mere decade, but believe me, your ten years of gracious EV living in NO way gives you the right to pass condescending, sneering judgment on those of us who came here before you and remained after you left.

Anonymous said...

Amen, Gojira!

pennys herb co said...

we came here in 1972
changes happen
my 12 year old son was born on 7th st
we still love it!!!!

John M said...

Go go go Gojira. I am fed up with a**holes like that, too. What arrogant, sociopathic morons some people are. Incredible, and worse, in our neighborhood.

Hey, Grieve, ask a couple of long-time shopkeepers how the demographic shift is working for their businesses. It's not just the high rents pushing them to close. Whoo-hoos don't eat at home, don't make real dinners, don't have dinner parties, don't drink at home with friends (or alone). Not that I blame them. If I had 17 roomies in an old 2-bedroom, I'd get the hell out, too.

John M said...

Although I have to say one word in Anon's defense...I think he/she was saying 'who told you to move here' to the newbies who complain about the noise. Which would be weird, since the newbies are the ones who make the noise, along with the b&t's.

Anonymous said...

I've lived in NYC for 25 years, nearly 20 of those years I've proudly and still continue to live PROUDLY in the East Village! Yeah there's alot of annoying generic young college assholes around. That stupid Christmas pub-crawl that happens now with everybody dressing like Santa makes me want to vomit. But you know what, this is where I live, this is where The Fugs originated and filled Tompkins Square Park a few years in a row with 10,000 underground freaks. This is where the Fillmore East and CBGB was, where the Bad Brains and the Beastie Boys did their early recordings. The home of the East Village Other, The Digger Free Store, and so much more great underground history. I remember all the great places from the 80s and 90s: Brownie's, No-Tell Motel, the Aztec Lounge, the (late) Lakeside Lounge, the Gas Station, Beowolf and all the long gone great junk and vintage stores. If some people don't bother to check into the history of what was here, and of what still remains here, too bad. Not only are they missing the boat on that, they also seem to be missing the boat on being young. Walking around like a bunch of drunk Pat Boones and Sandra Dees. Nice way to spend your 20s, dickheads. White flag? FUCK THAT! Have I considered leaving the EV? Yes, I have. But I'll do it when I'm good and ready, and when opportunity arises that I can't refuse. Remember, I pay at least HALF of what these college assholes pay in rent. And if that's my silent protest and fuck you moment than so be it. There are still great old-school things about the East Village: the freaky Avenue A flea market, several great record stores, and the very important entity that no one can take away: the HISTORY that has preceded all of us! Frat people driving me out of my neighborhood, the place I belong to and that belongs to me? Not a chance in hell!

James C. Taylor said...

I completelely agree with Gojira. Well said.

There is a lot more to New York, and a lot more to the East Village, than a thriving bar scene.

Not long after I moved here I was at Veselka late one night and got to talking with an eccentric painter/poet who indulged me in unsolicited tales about his life in the neighborhood. He told me that as late as 1978 you could stand on Second Avenue and St. Marks on a Saturday night and maybe see one other person walking their dog. Maybe.

Sadly a lot of transplants seem to have a very narrow view of the East Village's cultural significance, seeing it at most as little more than an extension of CBGB's.

I like living here, because the area around Tompkins Square Park still feels very vibrant: there are a lot of different types of people and a definite sense of community. That's not to say my wife and I don't look at apartments in Queens online...

Anonymous said...

Having been born in NYC in 1970, NYC changes - but that's the point. It never stands still, you can't stop the change, and it rarely changes the way you want it to. Either you embrace it or you leave - an amazing amount of people I grew up with have left.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but you moved here in [fill in the blank] because it was exactly to you then what it is to the new transplants today, a young, edgy, different and, most of all, cheap place to live. To a twenty-something today, it is all of that, and more, because you are not at risk of physical danger. Frankly, it would be pretty odd in the scheme of things if a neighborhood remained exactly the same as when you moved in. By that measure, only Park Avenue or Sutton Place would measure up.
I also doubt that there are substantially more in number bars here now than there was 30 years ago, at least from Avenue A east. The EV has been a destination for young drinkers for decades. I started coming to the bars and clubs in EV when I was 15 and living in other parts of the city 30+ years ago. The difference is that, with limited exceptions, bars back then had 50 patrons and Fleetwood Mac on the jukebox, not 400 patrons spilled out into the street screaming over some blaring DJ. The city was much less of a bar-focused culture.
We also could not afford to pay 75 cents a beer all night in a bar. But that was fine, because back then it was perfectly acceptable (and legal until around 1980) to go to a bodega grab a few six-packs and stand on a street corner drinking. So, usually we would "pre-load" in or around Washington Square with our radio competing with some other group 25 feet away playing something different, and then hit some bars or a show at the Ritz, Palladium, or Bottom Line.
I am sure that the people who arrived in the EV 30 years before me didn't like me and my friends much either. I have learned to roll with the punches.

glamma said...

Totally disagree. Still the best place to live on the plant. We need people to raise awareness and speak in favor of the best parts of the neighborhood and against the worst, especially as we are confronted by rampant change. A lot of this is just dialogue. If you paper the neighborhood in flyers that say "STABUCKS IS EVIL" and explain in bullet points what it does to he planet, its coffee pickers, and especially to small business in neighborhoods whose health, diversity and vibrancy is being threatened, don't you think those Ivy League whiz kids will have to at least think about it?
If I was sitting in a starbucks window with some stupid latter and someone walked by and gave a big thumbs down to my face, tha't not something one just ignores. It forces you to look at the issues.

Gotman said...

Yes, Gojira, let's go back to a time when junkies and dealers were roaming the East Village. A much happier time!!!!!!

Do you realize how ridiculous that sounds? You might not like some of the places and people that have moved into your "sanctuary" (do you want to have the power to prevent people from moving in here? Do they need to be "quiet enough" and "hopped up on heroin enough" for you to approve them?), but to say that things were SO much better when drug dealers and empty lots and broken buildings ruled the neighborhood is so incredibly selfish. Gain some perspective.

Anonymous said...

The only constant in New York City is the pace of change. Anyone living here for more than a few years should know this. And it's always been an exciting, contentious time to be in the East Village - Grieve and Ephemeral have pointed this out. I moved here in 2001. I worked hard, played hard, grew as a person, saved, and bought an apartment here 10 years later. I look forward to honoring the past and celebrating the future right here in the neighborhood for a long time. I can't imagine living anywhere else.

Anonymous said...

Um...Has anybody stopped to think that calling a place "over" or "not over" is a personal subjective opinion and not a absolute statement? I lived about 20 years in the EV starting 1992. My apartment for the majority of the time on 1st street was quite loud because of the bars on my block, and the rent-stab tenament I lived in was filthy and cheap. I absolutely loved it. My relatives would be thrilled to come visit me from the sterile suburbs.

But peoples's lives change. It was over for me. I didn't hate on the people who it wasn't over for. I was happy for them. I left to a quiet neighborhood Brooklyn because I was married, planning a kid and didn't have much use for the bars any more. The noise and crowds and drinking tourists and the college kids just didn't fit for me any more. Good for all of them to have such a great place to live. Good for me that I excercised my freedom to go somewhere else rather than stay and whine about how "it's so over" and "these a-holes don't even know the history."

If nothing ever changed, nothing would ever change. Change always wins no matter how much people bitch and moan and resist.

Anonymous said...

When I get home from work after a day in midtown, I practically kiss the ground once I hit Ave. A. I know it's changed, and I hate the encroaching chains, but even so, compared to the rest of Manhattan and the increasingly "young and white" enclaves of Williamsburg and Cobble Hill (actually, I can't believe how white those neighborhoods have gotten--I've seen more diversity in Deep South towns), the EV still seems like a utopia of diversity in income, age, and ethnicity, especially in Alphabet City. We're probably moving to the Lower East Side, after 15 years here, and it's breaking my heart. Ave. C and the rent stabilization that still keeps you vibrant, I will love you forever.

Anonymous said...

lol. this "chatter" has been around since the 80s. There's been recent college grads and college students living in EV since I can remember. What this really is is the lamentations of some guy getting old. When all their friends have gone, married off, whatever, they start feeling like they're outsiders here. It has nothing to do with the demography of the EV, which has been gentrifying for 30 years if not longer.

Hey19 said...

A lot of things have changed in the past 30yrs. In fact, I would argue that midtown has changed MUCH more in that time than the EV has.

Leave it to Grieve, he knows what the people want. "is the EV dead" posts are commenter catnip.

Its all dead, everything is dead.

Anonymous said...

I have been living in the EV for 10 years and I enjoy the neighborhood much more today then I did a decade ago. If you don't like it stop bitching and get out.

Jeremy said...

A wise man once said: "Those complaining about gentrification were the first to gentrify."

Anonymous said...

There are two kinds of people: those who resist change and those who try their best to go with it and see the positive. The latter are always better off. Change is the only constant and this is true of every aspect of life.

Derek said...

I moved to LES two years ago because I thought it was the last vestige of real New York, not having the pomposity of SoHo, etc. Boy was I wrong. I didn't last six months in my apartment on Rivington; it was a nightmare. After that I moved near Canal to escape the hords of nightlifers. That was good, but who could afford it on the longterm. I now live in Bushwick and feel like a commuter even though I live in the city. The neighborhood is nice and quiet, but my building has a driveway for Christ's sake. It's not the same. But, then again, it wasn't the same in Manhattan either.

Crazy Eddie said...

The problem is that one cannot look at the change in the EV in micro way but it must be viewed in a macro way. The current and hyper rapid income disparity, well documented nationwide, is on steroids here in Manhattan. Although we may get a chuckle looking at a 1964 article and say the more things change, the more they stay the same, I believe that type of outlook is full blinders on/denial thinking. We are rapidly approaching a feudalist type society where most people are terrified of losing their jobs, including middle managers. The attitude from senior management is that you are lucky to have a job, now be a good and obedient worker drone and shut up. The EV is just reflecting that insanity in a far concentrated more way. I am “getting” Fritz Lang and his vision more than ever these days. On a more specific EV tread, I long for the day when we were inundated by the true B&T crowd on weekends. At least these people were native to the NYC metropolitan area and had a decent sense of what being a New Yorker was all about. And to end on a typical old fart curmudgeon note, if I walk by Westville East one more time and hear “Yah”, I am going to lose it. Vocal Fry is evil, it must be stopped, it cannot be allowed to continue. I know, I’m obsessed, not very healthy.


I refuse to wave a white flag. In fact, I'm ready for the good fight.

If I'm in a restaurant with a table of shreiking OMG girls next to me, I'll glare at them, ask them to keep it down, and continue to glare at them through dinner. Or if I'm walking down the street and three duuudes are walking shoulder to shoulder, barreling right at me leaving no room to pass, burried in their iPhones, I'll lock my shoulders, plow through them and tell them to pay fucking attention.

Bullyish? Perhaps. But I'm tired of these self absorbed pieces of shit who don't know what personal space is, what peripheral vision is, or how to live in a city. It's getting to the point where simple tasks like going to the grocery store becomes a chore because I'm surrounded by befuddled 8 year olds.

But hell if I'm moving!

End of rant.

Anonymous said...

Income disparity and the lack of realistic affordable housing for working people is one thing, and is a legitimate concern.

But lamenting the fact that the streets aren't littered with junkies and dealers and winos, that there aren't literal piles of rubble and people aren't living in abject poverty, just so you and your neighborhood have cred and edge, is beyond ridiculous and far worse than anything I've heard these awful frat kids in the neighborhoods say.

There's a happy medium. Don't let the new crowd force legitimate concerns and lamentations to an absurd extreme.

Anonymous said...

I am the original commenter. Sorry to be anonymous but that is how I feel comfortable expressing my thoughts. Just wanted to point out that mine was a mere personal observation. I am not trying to speak for the world, I am not trying to write history. I know my perspective is woefully limited, I know that people complained about me when I first moved here eleven years ago. Unlike a lot of you recriminating finger pointers, there was no condemnation or complaining in my original comment. Just an expression of how I feel about my neighborhood today.

EV Grieve said...

@ anon 11:28

Thanks for following up ... I appreciated your honesty... and I know that you weren't speaking for everyone. As I sort of said in the post, the comment struck a chord because I've heard so many people express similar feelings in recent months.... was curious what other residents were thinking...

Lisa said...

I moved to Philly in 2005 from the LES (after 8 years there) and I love it here. It has the possibilities and the DIY feel that I think NY might be losing a bit. Also, it makes me sad when I go back to Rivington and the EV because of all the tall buildings that are down there now. It is very jarring.

Jason said...

Has the LES/EV changed? Sure. But so have I. In the late 80's and early 90's I was a heroin addicted, punk rock, hustler who scammed my way into free living all over the neighborhood. I was part of the problem and hearing some people these days, I was part of what is missing now.

I got my shit together at the insistence of the State of New York and now live upstate. Whenever I return to the LES I feel like a stranger now. So much has changed. Some for the better. Some not. There is no stopping the change though. Just have to decide if it agrees with you.

Anonymous said...

Up arriving in 1986, the East Village seemed like Madonna in Desperately Seeking Susan. Today it seems like Madonna in 2012.

Caleo said...

The EV is over in the sense that the years of cheap rents in a neighborhood filled with an unbelievable assortment of weirdos and misfits is over. That EV has been over for some time. Yes, change is constant, and I believe one should roll with the punches while you can afford it. And yes, college students have always lived in the EV. But anyone claiming that luxurification and large scale demographic change hasn't hit the EV is living in denial. And the luxurification and gentrification is several orders of magnitude greater than anything that came before it.
I moved here in 88', and college students were neither numerous enough or dumb enough to think the whole damn neighborhood should change to accomodate them. The EV has been literally inundated with wealthy young transplants, many of whom have the exorbitant rents payed for by mommy and daddy.
People like that were around in the 80's, but they represented a tiny minority, and had no real effect on the general tone of the EV.
And if people think it's bad now, just wait until that glass and steel monstrosity is finished at Astor Place. Landlords will be tripping over themselves to cash out and help to make way for the midtownification of the EV.
Change is constant, but the change that the EV in particular, and NYC in general, has experienced in the last 10 years is profound and very real, not just the subjective experience of a few grumblers.
At least Queens still has laid back, real ethnic communities. If that is what you're looking for, it still exists. But not in the EV.

Anonymous said...

i'd leave but i have a rent-stabilized apt.

Wilfrid said...

"The streets were dark, thanks to the dealers' habit of ripping out the wiring in the street lights to they could ply their trade unseen. Many buildings were burned out or abandoned shells, Many lots were empty..."
And I would never have raised children in that neighborhood, as I have on Avenue D over the last eleven years.

Anonymous said...

"There's a happy medium. Don't let the new crowd force legitimate concerns and lamentations to an absurd extreme."

There was a happy medium, it happened in the early 90s. If I could pick a point of reference I would point to the time when Wigstock came to Tompkins Square Park and was held there for a few years after. I think the first time was around 1993, but I could be wrong. Speaking for myself, I would agree that yeah, nobody wants to go around taking their life in their hands and watching their back every moment in a bombed out crime ridden neighborhood. But there was a time in the EV when there was a nice mix of grit, and the people were generally geared more toward (for lack of a better way of putting it)a DIY anti-materialistic, anti-mainstream mentality and they could pursue that lifestyle without paying an astronomical rent. It wasn't cheap either, but it wasn't entirely out of reach. This is not revisionist history, this is real because I lived in this time and in this place and I saw it with my own eyes. The reason why there is so much reaction to what's happening right now is BECAUSE this doesn't necessarily exist any longer. The neighborhood may have changed alot over the decades, but let's face it people, this is a really BIG change because it is so unlike anything that's happened before. It's not like previous eras when when white, non-ethnic people came down to plant their flag of art and creativity in the EV soil. This is about a faceless, generic white-washing that could care less about the traditions of the neighborhood. It's about a wave of people that heard it was a fun, sort of free-for-all, piss all over the place area. The difference between then and now is that regardless of who came to the East Village in the past, what their socio-economic backgrounds were, that they were maybe bad-asses willing to hunker down in squats and live a real urban guerrilla lifestyle, or just regular people that wanted to be in a creative environment, the focus was more or less the same: art and music, and living as far away from the mainstream as possible. The reason for the change now is because for whatever reason, the young people who are attracted to city living, lived their lives up to this point with different values. Values that by all appearances seem extremely shallow and filled with entitlement. Why this happened to kids born in the 80s and early 90s is a question for the sociologists. Personally I can say that when I was in my 20s and even now, I was interested in OLD things. I didn't dismiss them because they weren't new. The East Village and NYC used to be a place that made you feel very connected to the past and that is now vanishing. All I can say is too bad for the frat people. If they see the light later on in life they'll realized that they wasted the best years of their lives.

Scooby said...

NOTORIOUS - all I can say is you're spot on with your comment (especially the second paragraph) - much respect, man.

Jason - though I don't know you I am really happy you are where you are now - that's some serious change for the better. Good for you, man.

My own point of view on all this? Got to know the city from E7th St when St Mark's Place was a SCENE (a real scene - not a fro-yo festival). Yes - the only constant is change and it is not what happens but how you chose to react to it. However... The endless abundance of boozed-up infants wandering the streets with plastic money that have no regard or awareness of the people around them is staggering (pun intended). This world is about people - without them you're nothing - and not being aware of those around you is pathetic.
There are still some solid places to go regarding the "old scene" and they are the places I patronize. Telephone Bar was a great place - its replacement is a shitshow at best. The weekends have been over-run with "woo-hoos" in all places. My favorite sign "Take your sense of entitlement elsewhere" - brilliant.
Maybe that sums it all up...

LvV said...

Anon 12:12, Desperately Seeking Susan is what made me want to move here in the first place!

Like many others, I'm stabilized, so I'm staying put for now. I do wish I could move just a bit north to the unnamed neighborhood around E. 15th-18th streets, although I'm sure the shitshow will creep up that way eventually, too.

I use the word "shitshow" way too often here :p

Jeremiah Moss said...

the "city is always changing" argument really chafes me. of course the city is always changing, but the changes we've seen over the past decade, especially, have been out of control--and have been engineered by Bloomberg and Burden.

the East Village was home for left-wingers, radicals, outsiders, and rabble-rousers FOR A CENTURY. in one decade, the 2000s, that was willfully destroyed so that the neighborhood could be handed over to real estate developers--and the residents they want to attract.

the people who come to the EV today have zero interest in allowing the EV to change them. instead, they aim to change the EV--and they have the power to do it. they have done it.

it has been a destructive, ugly, soulless process. and to live through it has been a nightmare.

i cling to whatever vestiges remain. i'm not going to Flushing yet.

Goggla said...

It's easy to get down about everything negative in the neighborhood, but then I remind myself of all the reasons I love living in the EV. I've thought about leaving, but where else would I find the fantastic culture that only exists here? I dread the thought of eventually being priced out and forced to move, but that just makes me appreciate every day here more.


"LvV said... Anon 12:12, Desperately Seeking Susan is what made me want to move here in the first place!"

Me too!

Glenn said...

I've been here for 22 years (23 if you count a year in Sty Town) and as long as, knock on wood, I have my rent-stabilized apartment, I'm not going anywhere.

For the past 10 years I've traveled the globe and, not to sound pompous, I feel I have a global perspective about how neighborhoods change in all different ways, from Raval to Pigalle to Kowloon to Copacabana to La Habana Vieja to Dongcheng District. I've seen much more troubling change in places like Beijing, where schools and ancient hutongs are bulldozed with impunity to make way for the homes and businesses of the nouveau riche. Entire streets disappear and maps need to be updated several times in one year.

I don't pay much attention to the influx of bland young people in the EV--and am certainly not surprised that that they're here--and don't care if they think I'm "old", weird, broke, whatever. Do you need their approval? I don't. Do we deserve their respect? Well, yeah, we do. But we're most likely not going to get it, so it's a waste of mental energy.

It's a cliche to say that change hurts, but one really has to create their own reality and adapt to change. And hey, moving to Queens is not the end of the world. It happens to be the most diverse area in the world and it sure beats living in middle America.

Glenn said...

Anon 9:45am, I agree with you!

Anonymous said...

I live in Queens now, and I love it. Not all the way out in Flushing, either.

Glenn Belverio said...

Echoing what some others have said is true that people have been saying "The East Village is over" since the '80s. For me, it was famously uttered by the great, late Dean Johnson to Hapi Phace in front of the Pyramid Club in 1989. Dean was moving Rock 'n' Roll Fag Bar to Chelsea (from The World at 2nd st and C) and looked down his nose at Hapi and said, "Face it Hapi, the East Village is over." Again, this was in 1989!

I even did a "The East Village is Over" theme episode of my Manhattan Cable TV show where we satirized the idea of artists and snooty queens proclaiming ANYTHING over. As someone pointed out here, it's purely subjective. All 'hoods change over time, it's just a fact of life.

tourist said...

historically the yuppir rich move into an art neighborhood after the heyday of said neighborhood. yuppies take pride in being in the know but they are actually always a few steps behind. yuppies are good at being told what is good. anyway, what makes neighborhoods magical at times, is not the neighborhood but the people and the things happening there at the time. that kind of thing does not stay in one place. attempting to relive it in the same place is futile. many people that live in the east village lower east side in its glory creative times no live in brooklyn.

Marty Wombacher said...

Lots of interesting dialogue going on here. Whenever I get sick of the changes and gentrification in the EV and in all of New York, I go to the Blarney Cove for drinks and remind myself that there's nowhere else for me to go. This is my home. To quote Uncle Waltie: "Sip Ahoy!"

Morgan Tsvangirai said...

I'm in my mid-20s, and I've only been here since 2004 when I started at NYU, so I guess I belong to the demographic that is changing this neighborhood.

Not all of us are horrible though. I can't imagine ever going to a place like 13th Step. I respect the neighborhood, I read about the history of it (on blogs like this and others of course), and I participate in a good way to what goes on here.

Since I'm so new here, I haven't witnessed the EV and Manhattan's evolution first hand, but it's certainly changing even in the little amount of time I've been here.

I love the neighborhood for the most part, but walking the avenues on weekend nights really makes me want to leave.

Crazy Eddie is certainly right though:
The problem is that one cannot look at the change in the EV in micro way but it must be viewed in a macro way. The current and hyper rapid income disparity, well documented nationwide, is on steroids here in Manhattan.
JUNE 13, 2012 10:57 AM

There really is little that can be done. It's all societal. What's important to those in charge are luxury buildings, rented and bought buy high salaried people.

It seems that all that will be left on this island will be Luxury, Artisanal, and Exclusive if things keep going Bloomberg's way.

Will I move out? It's certainly tough for me to see how I could raise a family here--especially at the rate things are going, so eventually I see myself moving to more affordable and quieter areas in Brooklyn and Queens.

Formerly East Fourth said...

You're all pretty fucking lucky that you can sit around and have this pointless argument for the millionth time. None of you are right, none of you are wrong. One day, anon will be the new Gojira. You all have so much more in common than you think. Deal with it, nutsos.

Crazy Eddie said...

Nutsos? Thank you, very kind of you. And so it’s time for a 1968 “The Producers” segue:

Max Bialystock: Here's to failure/ Leo Bloom: ...To failure/ Drunk: Why, thank you! You're very kind!

Victoria said...

@NOTORIOUS Can we have dinner together, and maybe go for a walk around the park after? I like your style.

onemorefoldedsunset said...

Lived in EV in 80s (husband since 70s). Got too expensive for us. Moved to Brooklyn. Developers creating hell on our doorstep (waiting for excavation to destroy our building). Off to Queens soon (not Flushing). Wouldn't have imagined it a while back, but am heartsick at the stupidity around me & excited about living somewhere else. Love the East Village, & wish I was still there, but can't move back. On to the new.

Anonymous said...

Lived in the EV for twenty years. I never sought out the neighborhood, just ended up here and fit in to the vibe. The vibe has changed---Can't STAND it here anymore. Narcissistic izombies have taken over on daddy's dime and it is too crowded.

Leavin' NYC as soon as it is feasible... I never dreamed New York would become an overpriced amusement park.

as someone else just wrote; on to the new.

Spike said...

As long as we stick it out here, we'll always have each other and the neighborhood ain't so bad. Avoid the nights, the real EV is now found during the day, 9-5.

Anonymous said...

EV since 1977. The difference between now and the 1964 article - people aren't slumming here, they're moving (have moved here).

There's always been rich NYers co-opting the cool (Cotton Club). This is different.

Shawn Chittle said...

Moving? Yah right. WE *ARE* THE EAST VILLAGE. Every single cool commenter here is what makes this place so kick-ass compared to other neighborhoods.

People like Crazy Eddie, Marty Wombacher, N.O.T.O.R.I.O.U.S L.I.B.E.R.A.T.I.O.N, Jeremiah, Goggla, and of course Grieve. And others, you know who you are.

That's why I'm still here. Running into them and others on the street is like having a little family here in alphabet land.

It's home. There's no place like it.

John M said...

Things change, that's the way of the world. The last decade has seen an acceleration of change like we've never seen before. Hey, if the kids like what they find here now, I don't begrudge them that. I found what I wanted 25 years ago, too. Just hate to see it go, though it always goes. C'est la vie, cookie puss. I just wish the majority was cooler like a lot of the kids who don't get noticed because they're not the jerks we complain about. Hats off to them. There are a lot of them, they deserve some recognition. Not everybody is a whoo-hoo beholdin' to Nana Bloomie. They work hard, they live as well as they can, they party without putting everybody else out. Hey, that's what us old farts used to do! At least most of the time...

Glenn said...

Forgot to comment about the link to the 1964 article that Grieve posted ...Slugs jazz club, which is pictured toward the bottom of the piece, was in the ground floor of my building, here on 3rd street btw B and C. Bebop trumpeter Lee Morgan was shot to death on stage by his common-law wife there in 1972. It's a Latino cafe now run by some people who live across the street in the Projects.

Anonymous said...

Been here for a long time. Neighborhoods change. That's the story of the city. These too will be the good old days one day soon. Simple as that. I wouldn't live anywhere else.

Anonymous said...

Boo effing hoo. In 10 years there'll be a NEW group decrying how bad the EV has been since 2015!

Get over yourselves. You're not cool, you're not hip, and you're not better than anyone else, including white guys sporting a sweater wrap-around.

You're just another shmoe with a sense of entitlement. When you move to whatever place you end up next you'll probably bitch about that too.

~evilsugar25 said...

Hanging out in EV since late 80s, moved here early 90s. Bought my place on 6th/B in 2005. Like all of us "old"? timers, lamenting what the 'hood has morphed into. I call it "permanent spring break" or "infinite mardi-gras." Every week one of my favorite places closes.

I realize things change/evolve, but this change has been inorganic. There are other places around the country that still have 'hoods like the "old" EV -- Portland, West Philly, The Mission -- but none of them are near my job (hey! That's in the Meatpacking District! I'm 2-for-2!)

Anyway, I've been doing the "I should move to Brooklyn" dance in my head for at least a few years now (exactly *all* of my friends that used to live here have moved to Brooklyn or Queens). But I just can't bring myself to pull the trigger... yet. In fact, just over the last three days I had an e-mail exchange with a realtor witha place in Greenpoint, and when it came down to it.... no. I'm not ready to sublet my place and leave my neighborhood. But as it stands, my neighborhood has pretty much already left me.

BTW: my screen name since I started using the interwebs, EvilSugar, had it's genesis in "E Vil = East Village"... that's how married to this neighborhood I have been. So. That's where I'm at. I think about it every day. But not sure where to go. Yet.

Anonymous said...

Notorious - thank you for your comments. As a native ny'er - I'm effin old too- I have see things changed drastically in last 10 years. I really can't do everyday errands without getting pissed off with these resident tourists around. New York and east village are over but where
can we move to?

Uncle Waltie said...

Having lived here a very long time to enjoy a relatively affordable rent, the only way I'm leaving is in a box.

Wax said...

People have been saying that "East Village is dead", for what, 3 decades now?

But the truth is, East Village just keeps getting better. Embrace change. The change we are seeing/experiencing right now could maybe contribute to the long list of what makes East Village the most interesting and vibrant hood in New York.

Hey19 said...

@Glenn - Thats a cool piece of trivia/history. Lee Morgan was awesome.

Anonymous said...


Girl said...

Like, get over yourself. Like, the East Village keeps, like, getting more AWESOME and AMAZING! You haters must all be, like, really friggin' old or something to not appreciate how AWESOME and AMAZING it is here!!! Like, talk about a sense of entitlement that you old folks are too lazy to walk around us so we can, like, continue down the sidewalk while texting. It's hard for most of us to string simple sentences together and we need to concentrate! Like, we won't walk into you if you move your lazy asses out of the way! Duh?

RockChick said...

What drivel. And yay everybody who was here and knows better. I moved in in 1968 and have loved the EV ever since. Rent-controlled apartment, 3 railroad rooms for $54.01. I am still in those rooms, much better decorated now, with antiques and many books and paintings, paying $149.92. If I ever win the lottery, I will buy an unrenovated brownstone, preferably on East 10th between 2nd and 3rd Avenues. If not, I am staying right where I am, and any jumped-up johnny-come-lately twerp who wants to bitch at me (out of envy or whatever) can blow me. I intend to be carried out of the East Village feet first.

Anonymous said...

I've lived here 6 years.. you people aren't on the edge of anything if you keep posting comments about how you're deathly afraid of Westville.. come on! Westville! or you post sarcastic things about how a real business can still open up. Maybe the problem is that you old people on stabilization aren't getting laid or don't know how to hustle.. the 70s are over get over it.. people like Penny Arcade these days expect people to give them money for shitty burlesque shows 40 years after they were irrelevant..

Crazy Eddie said...

@Anony 3.20 PM-let me get you, are you saying that a now transformed Murray Hill should be the template for the EV and the rest of Manhattan as well? Also, my comment on Westville was self-deprecating by the way but I guess your narcissistic little brain couldn’t figure that out.

KairosKim said...

late to the party...
the thing is, having been living here, having lived many loves, lost lovely lives, and raised up one beautiful child
every spring I re-meet 5 or 6 people (who been months or years since) and my heart grows, my heart knows, this is, if not the center of the universe at least
the center of mine
and I give
thanks to goddess goddess Allah-desia
for this
good fortune
I'm definitely leaving this place someday, definitely someday
but until
then home
is home is

Anonymous said...

If I were rent controlled, I wouldn't be bitching about people who can afford the rent choosing to move into the EV. It's their money. They can do with it whatever the fuck they want to. Sure, I hate to see older residents forced out because of rising housing prices, but that's contemporary economics for you. The neighborhood has seen prices shoot up but it's still affordable for young professionals not making a mint. Accordingly and not so surprisingly they're moving in.

So yes as a younger resident it annoys me to hear the constant bemoaning of the EV around here, especially from residents who pay $400 for the apartment I pay $1500 for. Areas change. They have thousands of year. My grandmother grew up on the lower east side. She doesn't come back, expect it to be unchanged, and bitch about gentrification though.

LvV said...

Anon 7:59, since you had a LES grandmother, I assume you know the the difference between stabilized and controlled. I'm stabilized, my apt is about 200 sq feet, and I don't even have a tub (grumble), yet I pay a good chunk o'change more than you do in rent. I'm grateful, but my point is that $1500 a month is fab -- thank your lucky stars.

Please don't deign to people what you think is legitimate to bitch about.

Anonymous said...

@ crazy eddie.. i didn't read your specific comment on Westville, just there is a lot of anger against Westville in general among people over 40, even among old people I know in the neighborhood who do not read ev grieve and do not have computers. 2nd... How would there be a plan for the neighborhood? It's not even worth discussing.. people are just going to move here.. it's less planned out than controlled by prices in relation to other neighborhoods, convenience, and supply and demand.. this stuff all changes.... for millennials, the 1960s, punk, and counterculture is completely all just a look and has no real meaning.. maybe it still does in Berlin, Portland or these places I've heard about, but this is long gone from the EV/LES and america in general and isn't coming back..

Anonymous said...

I entirely loathe the "new" new york. It's incredible how selfish,rude, ignorant sex and the city wannabees have taken over, the stroller brigade wtih their tank like hummer strollers mowing you down, the self-entitled st. louis transplants, it makes my stomach turn just walking down the street.

but what is the Fucking Alternative to this? America lost it's freakin' mind on 9/11. The whole country has lost it's freedoms and its collective mind.

America itself is a fucking nightmare. And look at the rest of the World. The entire planet has fucking gone bonkers. It makes me want to live on an island and just sit until I wither away and die.

Harley Flanagan said...

Remember when the "East village" was called the L.E.S
Back in the day before there were yuppies on Ave A
I miss NYC the way it used to be
I really do come from a time that has come and gone
I'm like the last real Cro-mag walking the earth I don't belong to this place anymore I don't take pride in this city anymore you don't have to have balls or heart to walk these streets anymore you just need money LOL
RGA Is the only thing that keeps me here and that is a place I do take pride in being part of

And further more

I'm not a part of New York Hardcore New York Hardcore is a part of me
Im Not a part of your scene your scene is part of my legacy
I represent Old New York and NYHC you new jacks are still immitating my past how long is that Bullshit really gonna last Lol
I was Hardcore before most of you were swimming around in your daddys nuts I was holding it down and you know that's what's up
keep pretending the Cro-mags still exist keep pretending you frauds are legit while you cover my songs your still so on the Dick Lol
All the motherfuckers that talk shit about me are people I don't respect anyway and the people i roll with everyday are people I respect like Renzo Gracie so go ahead John Bloodclot get some more hair plugs and new jacks get more tattoos on your neck lol at the end of the day you still Don't Mean Shit
yes I am Oldcschool that's right
Fight To Win
Family first Jiu-Jitsu for Life Hardcore till I Die
To whom it may concern next time your mouths open talking shit
Put a Dick in it and shut the fuck up
And to all my real true friends
Peace Love and Respect


LvV said...

OMFG, Harley is finally here! Yes! I'm giggling like a schoolgirl.

Harley, Rachel B. and I went to school together, she was my best friend .. do you know if she is OK?

Anonymous said...

Walked by Mars Bar and saw the "EV is dead" splattered on the wall, googled the ubiquitous phrase, and now here I am, although really late to the party (??will this even be posted??). Seems like a lot of people have a long history in the area, with a wide range of emotions and reactions: nostalgic, resentful, resolute, fatalistic. Didn't really understand why the EV is dead, but maybe understand a bit more now. This is a bit of a story + rant, but a new, outside perspective of someone who lives nearby, but won't spend much time there:

I recently had the misfortune of accompanying my girlfriend to her high school friends' double-bday-bash happy hour at a horrible, indistinguishable establishment called Professor Thoms'. I won't tell you where they're all originally from, for fear it will bias you, but it's Connecticut. I only agreed to go because I understood it to be a small, relaxed gathering in a back room. Instead of course it was packed to capacity, music too loud to hear my own screaming. Occasionally I'd glance down and see the bright all-you-can-drink-until-11:30 wristband I purchased. Fine for Vegas or a Carnival cruise I guess, or perhaps for a frat-tastic bar trying to cover it's ass while facilitating underage drinking. Anyways I prevailed upon my girlfriend to leave, called a friend, ducked into Decibel, which was noticeably lacking in its own namesake, and downed 2 sake bottles to settle the nerves. Salvaged the night nicely, all while still in the EV.

So I totally commiserate with those who put up with the "whoo hoo'er" antics on a regular basis, but in reality they're everywhere in the country and all ages / generations.. you only see the young yuppy variety here, because the garden variety idiot has-been can't get the swank job that will pay him to live here and bother all residents of reasonable mind and disposition, old and new. Gotta love my CT girlfriend though, she thinks the LES is 'edgy,' and draws near and clutches my arm whenever shady types walk by! We live in Nolita, which I find pretty damn pretentious and overpriced, but the ever-fashionable gf likes it. Happy wife happy life. Maybe she's a spoiled yuppy who indiscriminately "likes things that other people say are good." but that's not much worse than a contrarian 'individual' with a persecution complex liking things that other people say are bad, ie. the blighted NY neighborhoods of forgotten decades. Is that today's 'hipster'? someone striving to be unique, different, special... someone more artistic and spiritual than the rest of us ordinary conformist suits? There's all kinds of egocentrism, and it's not surprising that such a person would desperately cling to some sad, faded memory of the EV, like a grizzled old junkyard dog, jealously guarding its own stale-piss-drenched turf.

I respect the history of the neighborhood, even though I'm almost oblivious to it. I'll probably never feel like a 'real new yorker,' if that's even something someone can be or become anymore, despite the fact that a lot of new transplants are annoyingly fond of declaring themselves to be one. I guess I'll just be a gentrifying, corporate slave overpaying for a supertrendy neighborhood in a Ben Shaoul building. That is, at least until I can move back out west and do something significant with my life there. But in the meantime I won't be a collar-popping, self-entitled douchebag riling up the old schoolers, but nor will I be this guy: (poignant clip from Portlandia):

Anonymous said...

I've stayed in NYC but have not lived here many times over the past 20 years. Last year, my husband and I decided to take job offers and relocate and give it a go. We're in Brooklyn, in what was sold to us as an old-school "family style" building, but it's actually chock-full of fratty hipster types who scream and yell and slam their doors and blast Journey karaoke. The developers raze the small businesses and replace them with pretentious wine bars (well drinks available for the low price of $15 a glass).

Our rent is stabilized but our lease says it is legal to push it up to almost 4K for a mediocre building in a part of Brooklyn where the woo-hoo people fill grocery bags with blood and vomit and drop them on the sidewalk – and we got lucky, since this is market rent at many places just a half-mile to the east of us. It's now cheaper to live in many parts of Manhattan than anywhere in the northern half of Brooklyn. There are proportionally fewer frat "dudes" in this part of town since it's too gritty for them, but still, enough to make it annoying, and things are changing fast.

They're marching west with their shitty techno and Dave Matthews Band records and lousy manners and the hygiene you'd expect after having Mommy wipe your ass for 25 years, and the reality is sobering. They will stand in line behind me at the deli and get angry at the deli guy for not kissing their ass and remembering their order and sneer at me getting the sandwich I always get without even having to ask because I say please, thank you, and "how are you today George?" and they won't hesitate to tell me "I guess you couldn't MAKE IT, I GUESS YOU'RE NOT A REAL NEW YORKER. LIKE YAH, LIKE ME!"

Since the frat contingent has violated the noise ordinance multiple times (and trashed the building, filthied up the hall, ripped the risers off the stairs, and attempted to burn down the roof with their grills and swimming pools full of Pabst), we are leaving August 1. We won't be back. I see no reason to live in NYC now. It feels like a giant strip mall, and I can do my job anywhere in the country, a nation dotted with cities that have been similarly strip-malled out. If I want to attend a poetry reading, punk show, museum exhibit, etc. I can do that anywhere else in the country while paying a third less rent for three times as much space.

It used to be that NYC was something special, something worth sacrificing for. I could feel it everytime I stayed here. Now, living here is all grind, all the time, with no reward. Bless you who see something special and continue to stay. If I could pay less for a place, I would too. But after being trapped in a gross building with woo-hoos for a year, we're going country. It's an easy life with paychecks that go far, tranquility and plenty more than spare chance to fill up those IRAs so we can retire early. I have Ramones and Johnny Thunders recordings to enjoy, and it's much more fun to enjoy them when you have time to enjoy your life.

Anonymous said...

I was born and raised in the East Village. I pretty much lived at the Boys Club on Ave A as a kid. I remember getting hot toasted bakery bread for coins on Ave C with my buddies. It's where I had my first kiss. Where I first got beat up. Where I first fell in love. I consider Tompkins Square Park my heart.

Whenever I've moved away from NYC, I always come, immediately, to the EV and grab a slice of pizza to settle myself. I've lived in every borough of NYC except Staten Island, love on the west coast, in the south, in Asia and traveled all over Europe, and still I come back to EV to find my center. The fact that this blog even exists warms my heart.

Now for the bad. While hanging out one recent Sunday morning with a lady friend, we decided to walk through the EV and it was amazing. I thought, 'why the hell aren't I moving back here?' It felt like a community. It was so colorful. Diverse. INTERESTING. But then, months later, I went to meet a friend in the EV at night and it was like the nastiest, most cliche version of a small, podunk college town bar strip I could imagine. Someone in this thread said it earlier, the good EV exists 9-5, after that, it gets pretty lame. They were right. I honestly want to move back, whether I find a good deal or have to pay through the nose, but the thought of the 'entire EV' being taken over every night by drunk college kids/new to the work force people isn't attractive. I dealt with that experience living in Greenwich Village near NYU and let me tell you, it wasn't worth the awesome location.

I've lived in artist friendly parts of Brooklyn, but honestly, if I'm going to live someplace where it takes an hour to get to Manhattan for business, I feel like I might as well live in Philly (1hr train ride away, too) and save thousands of dollars on rent (or buy cheaper). I love Brooklyn, but I sampled the wares plenty and for me, Manhattan is still the main reason to consider dealing with the challenges of living in New York City. (Not even going to talk about Queens. Know it well. Lived there. Hate it. Yes, Astoria has gotten kind of nice, but still, Queens is the desert, no thanks.)

I'm just back after several years living outside of the U.S. and I must say that NYC has 'really' changed. It seems safer, cleaner and it's definitely attracting more people because of it. I don't begrudge them the new NYC, and no, I don't wish for the 'glory days' of more crime and danger in the interest of lower rents which lead to more interesting people. I get it. Things change. You must adapt. Still, what made NYC special seems to be attainable in many other cities now as the U.S. has sort of culturally homogenized somehow, so I have one eye on places like L.A. (yes, I hate it too, but cheaper living and good if you find your crowd), Vancouver, Portland, Seattle and even Berlin. If I had two kids and a wife maybe I'd feel different, but as it stands, I still like to know I'm around interesting/diverse people, and NYC today isn't leaning so much in that direction.

I can't see any good reason to move to EV now, and that breaks my heart, because I still love it so much, despite the changes. I may change my mind. The city may change. So who knows. But I would ask that if you're reading the comments of others lamenting the loss of culture in the EV, please consider their comments and read some history before dismissing them as merely disgruntled old schoolers who hate change. The EV really was an oasis for NYC's cultural heartbeat for a long time, nothing in Williamsburg/Flatbush et al has come close.

-Skelly Master

john penley said...

Ha Ha the neighborhood is so boring and sterile and white except for Ave. D only those who like that kind of lifestyle remain. Like someone once said the neighborhood went from black and brown to white and now its whiter than white. I moved to the LES a long time ago because I grew up in the segregated South and I hated it now the East Village has become somewhat like the segregated South and it gets more and more like it every year. Screw that I left as many know and would never go back even if I could afford it.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Perfect analogy.

A New Yorker said...

Been there, lived there, loved it there from 1978-1993. Moved out after my apartment went on fir for the 3rd time to East 27th street. Still miss the EV and these new kids have no culture or sense of history. I am glad I was able to perceive and enjoy the richness if the community.
By the way, my Italian immigrant grandparents had their first home on West 28rh street in Manhattan around 1915 and later on lived in Williamsburg. At that time it was a tight immigrant community and now it is Hollywood East.
I think these dopey kids should go back where they came from. They have no culture and no sense of history. And they couldn't care less. I don't know what they are doing here, and I don't think they know either. They have no sense of community and are transients with money, nothing more.