Sunday, June 17, 2012

Week in Grieview

[East 10th Street and Fourth Avenue]

Starbucks confirmed for 219 First Ave. (Tuesday)

Mysterious plywood arrives at the Mystery Lot (Friday)

Yogurt Crazy is coming (Monday)

The big dig starts at 74-84 Third Ave. (Monday)

One of the nicer homes in the East Village finally sold after four years (Tuesday)

Live in Bret Easton Ellis' old place (Thursday)

Nice Guy Edie's closes today (Thursday)

And our post Wednesday about moving away from the East Village yielded 71 comments... including this one:

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.

JUNE 13, 2012 12:59 PM


John M said...

That's a pretty good run-down on the entire issue. Well done. I agree that the early 90s really were the best time because of the balance that we had here. The reputation of the bad old days kept a lot of people away, the reality being much different by then, and the whoo-hoo crowd went to the Upper West Side bar strip, not here. It was the best of times in my years here, and I've been telling people that for a long time. Glad I was here for it.

Shawn Chittle said...

I'd like to give this person a huge hug. Thank you for writing a fantastic essay and telling it just like it is.

LvV said...

The Anonymous comment is fantastic. I just have one small caveat:

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.

I think a lot of young people born in the generation described do have an artistic/outsider sensibility just like the rest of us, and are indeed attracted to city living, but they simply can't afford to move here anymore. It sucks for us, but is probably going to make places like Pittsburgh and Detroit very exciting.

More's the pity. Thanks again for nothing, Bloomturd.

Anonymous said...

Good essay. I am happy to report that there are still dreamers and thinkers and artistic people in our midst. They are young people who understand Peace and Love. Thank God. Look to them for inspiration..because a lot of the older yuppie/yunnies have sold out in one way or another. The young has always been our future.
Melanie Neichin
East Village Corner

BabyDave said...

Very nicely put. I remember having a conversation along those lines at least 10 or 15 years ago. Even then, it seemed as though people who had moved into downtown -- this conversation was dealing specifically with Little Italy, but it applied to the East Village as well -- in the late 1970's in their early 20's were fascinated with the heritage of the neighborhoods and very much wanted to fit in, even as they were carrying on lifestyles that may have been less than traditional compared with those of more established residents. Nowadays, the sense of empowerment -- and the relatively extreme wealth! --among arrivistes is frightening.