Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Out and About in the East Village

In this weekly feature, East Village-based photographer James Maher provides us with a quick snapshot of someone who lives and/or works in the East Village.

By James Maher
Name: Mickey Davis
Occupation: Law Professor, Cleveland-Marshall College of Law
Location: Russ & Daughters
Time: 3:30 pm on Saturday, Oct. 10

I’m a New Yorker, but I’ve lived all over. I grew up in Long Island and then Manhattan, but my parents and grandparents are all from the East Village. I used to come here all the time growing up. I was here every weekend when we weren’t living here. My big date was going to the New York Public Library. It sure didn’t attract the girls but it always made me happy.

I just remember walking with my parents. There was still Little Italy. We’d always go down there to eat. When I was first started coming here it was still kind of a bustling neighborhood and it was productive in everything before it went into decline in the ‘70s. I remember when Katz’s was really a kosher meat place. The hits like Economy Candy are still around. That has always been a fixture and, fortunately, it’s still there.

We moved back to the neighborhood in 1990 and we started a family. When you have kids, you don’t go out too much, so for the first five years we were inside our apartment at night. Then one night I went outside, it was during the middle of the week, and there was a crowd in the street. I went running into my apartment and said, ‘You won’t believe this. It’s like Times Square out there. Something’s happening to the neighborhood.’ I just couldn’t believe it. I spent five years at nighttime in the apartment not realizing that the neighborhood was changing. And of course, one of the reasons we bought here was because it was reasonably priced because it wasn’t the greatest neighborhood. So this turned out to be a good investment and a good home.

I’m a professor of Law and I actually commute to Cleveland, Ohio, twice a week — on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I’ve been doing it for 30 years. My wife is from Europe, and she wouldn’t live anywhere but New York, so we moved back to New York and I loved it and she loved it.

My name is Mickey Davis and I’m going to be running for the Democratic National Convention. I’m going to vote for Bernie Sanders. It starts in the spring. I want to be a convention delegate because I’m afraid they’re going to steal the nomination for Hillary. You just have to run and you have to vote but it’s a very small election, so if just a dozen of your friends vote for you then you probably win, because people don’t vote for that. The problem is that if Bernie Sanders gets a majority of delegates it doesn’t matter because the Democratic Convention has a rule that they can appoint the superdelegates, which are more in number. So no matter who wins, if they want to swing it some other way, they’ll do it. That’s going to create a riot I think.

I was in ’68 in Chicago and I know what it’s like. Riots — there were riots. That was the ‘60s. It was like a year or two years of just demonstrations. My biggest memory is of going by the National Guard, who were all lined up with their guns and they were guys my exact age so they felt exactly the way I did. I remember putting long-stem roses in each of their muzzles. It was kind of a good feeling.

James Maher is a fine art and studio photographer based in the East Village. Find his website here.


Anonymous said...

Bernie Sanders seems to be very popular in the 'hood; every weekend I see his people canvassing Tompkins. Well, Mickey seems to be a well-meaning dude but how can any of these -- I think they like to call themselves -- progressives actually truly believe that if Sanders were elected he'd act on his progressive bona fides? Or have they all forgotten a certain, flashy public relations campaign called Obama? Hope springs eternal ... and dances a jig with its cohort Naivete on all of our graves. It pains me to see such edumacted folk never learnin'.

marjorie said...

Fun interview!! (fwiw: Katz's was never strictly kosher, though -- only "kosher-style."

Anonymous said...

All kinds of awesome. I wish more people would wake up to Bernie. This guy is great. I love real NYers.

Anonymous said...

That happened to me too. Didnt go out much, raising a family. Then, partially liberated, find that it is worse than Soho on a weekend 20 years ago.

Anonymous said...

Great interview but sorry, young white people aren't going to riot over anything. If the nomination gets stolen away, they'll simply go on Twitter to complain about it. Within 24 hours, everyone will have shrugged and moved on.

Goggla said...

Commuting to Ohio twice a week - wow!

Anonymous said...

@7:05, big difference from Obama. Obama was elevated by the Party because they knew he could give a great speech on traditional Democratic values. In fact, it was same speech he'd been giving since high school. (See Frontline's "Decision 2008.") But he was inexperienced enough in Washington that he posed basically no threat to the standing order (which proved to be the case for about 5-6 years until he finally grew into the job and developed some clout). Louis Farrakhan said of Obama, "The brother was SE-lected before he was E-lected" - in other words, he was the Establishment's choice to succeed Bush, as no Republican had a legitimate shot given Bush's massive failure.

Sanders is another story. He has gotten to his current position of being able to contend for the presidency by having integrity while working within the system. He's risen as a candidate for the right reasons, in other words. There's a lot of water under the bridge what with Iraq and the revelations of Wikileaks, Manning, Snowden, etc. Eyes are being opened. This may well be Sanders' time. And as he is constantly saying, it's now or never; either we try to change course or we resign ourselves to more of the status quo, government by corporate board, which simply hasn't been working.