By James Maher
Name: Jamey Poole and Rusty James
Occupation: “Being a New Yorker”
Location: 6th Street and 1st Avenue
Time: 3:45 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 1
I’m from Texas originally. I’ve been in the East Village for 20 years. Art school brought me here. I went to Parsons. I went to school for photography and I work for a photographer now. And life in the city was so intoxicating that I couldn’t leave. I came directly here. It was the only neighborhood I would ever want to live in when I moved here in 1996. It was the history of the place, the creativity, the kind of people it attracted, the whole environment – all of it. There was no question about it.
It was all of downtown. It was very vibrant. Everybody you wanted to know or make friends with or do any kind of creative projects with lived between 23rd Street and Canal and river to river basically. You’d walk outside your door and meet all kinds of cool people, start a band, start a magazine, start a gallery, do an art collective — whatever. It was very concentrated.
Even though I love visiting all my friends in Bushwick or in Jersey or in Astoria, it’s like the creative nucleus has really been blown apart. So it’s hard, you know. If you’re like 22 and you move to the city now, you start a band and your keyboardist lives in Sunset Park, your singer’s in Jersey City, the drummer lives up in Washington Heights. So it’s really hard to have that creative community. I miss that. I’m not [complaining] but I do miss that. I miss having the creative concentration of everybody in one general area. It’s not too easy to go over and have dinner. It’s a whole production.
I mean it’s not like it’s not happening. It is happening. The drag scene in Bushwick is off the chain. It’s really amazing. There’s tons of cool stuff around Bushwick, but that shit is fucking far from where I live. My friend lives in Bushwick and it takes me an hour and a half to get there.
It’s just that the East Village had more time to really blossom. Williamsburg, that whole thing happened within a decade. The immigrants, the artists, the students, the money, that wave happened so quickly — 10 or 15 years in Williamsburg. So nothing took root that well, whereas in the East Village there were decades and decades for that kind of creative spirit, and so you could feel it. You could feel the character of the place, and you don’t feel that in Williamsburg. The artistic time that happened there came and went like that. I still love it. I have tons of friends who live over there and I love hanging out in Williamsburg, but it doesn’t have the deep roots.
I’m going to Asbury Park to the Zombie Walk. I love Asbury Park. The Zombie Walk is really cool. It’s been going on for around 10 years. I went last year for the first time. They start at the convention center, walk down the boardwalk, then on Main Street, and there are all these parties. Asbury Park is where it’s at. It seems a little early to dress up but whatever.
James Maher is a fine art and studio photographer based in the East Village. Find his website here.