Tuesday, February 23, 2010

After helping ruin the East Village, NYU turns its attention to covering it

With the help of The New York Times, the East Village is officially now a hyperlocal journalism experiment at NYU. Not content to just gobble up real estate all over the neighborhood, decapitate churches and fill the streets with obnoxious students, NYU has now teamed up with The New York Times to gentrify the EV blogosphere. Here's the official release:

NYTimes.com announced today a collaboration with New York University's Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute to create a new Local community news and information Web site covering the East Village in New York City.

The Local East Village site will be developed by N.Y.U.'s journalism faculty and students and is scheduled to launch later this fall. Richard G. Jones, an award-winning veteran journalist and former New York Times reporter, will serve as the editor of the site. Mr. Jones will work with students, faculty and the East Village community to cover the news of everyday life in the neighborhood.

Together with N.Y.U. professors Yvonne Latty and Darragh Worland, Mr. Jones will also manage "The Hyperlocal Newsroom," a course that will allow students to engage in a variety of ways, including reporting and writing for the site. Summer courses will also be available for students of other journalism institutions.

Awesome that the Times thinks enough of the East Village to assign the beat to some NYU grad students who have lived here for a short time. (The Times has two other Local community news sites: one for Maplewood, Millwood and South Orange, N.J., the other in Ft. Greene and Clinton Hill.)

Per Choire Sicha at the Awl: "[M]y third and minor objection is that most of the reporters are going to be young people who actually don't know anything about the history of the area they're reporting on. But that's fine, if they are smart or have time to learn things or have a good editor."

Jay Rosen, who directs NYU's Studio 20 program, has a lengthy explanation of the project here. An excerpt:

Permit to say what I find so fascinating about this project. Man, it has everything in it — everything I’ve been studying since I gave my first talk to newspaper editors in Des Moines, Iowa in 1989. It’s neighborhood journalism; it’s cosmopolitan too. It’s about innovation; it’s about the classic virtues, like shoe leather reporting. It combines the discipline of pro journalism with the participatory spirit of citizen journalism. It’s an ideal way to study the craft, which is to say it’s an entirely practical project. It’s what J-school should be doing: collaborating with the industry on the best ways forward. It’s news, it’s commentary, it’s reviewing, it’s opinion, it’s the forum function, community connection, data provision, blogging — all at once. LEV I said is a start-up, but it’s starting with the strongest news franchise there is: the New York Times.


[T]he thing I really love about it… NYU is a citizen of the East Village, a powerful institution (and huge land owner) within the frame. Our students are part of the community; they live there, or at least a lot of them do. Because we’re located there; we can’t really separate ourselves from our subject. Look, not everyone is going to be thrilled that NYU is doing this with the New York Times. We’ll have to take those problems on, not as classroom abstractions but civil transactions with the people who live and work here. You know what? It’s going to be messy and hard, which is to say real. But what better what is there to learn what journalists are yet good for in 2010?

I have a lot of mixed feelings about all this... too much to try to process at the moment... I wasn't thrilled with the earlier incarnation of this project. (And I'd still like to know what happened to the comments on this article. And how the reporter first heard about the incident.)

In any event, the editor at the NYU site who sent me the news release about the local East Village site? She lives in Brooklyn.

For further reading:
The 'Times' Comes for the East Village with Another Non-Paying Student Paper (The Awl)


Jeremiah Moss said...

seems like a desperate, last-gasp move to make for the Times. can you hear the death rattle? and it is not a good move.

NYU is notorious, hyperlocally, as the reviled enemy of the EV. if they cover what they know best, it'll be pub crawls, frat-house hijinks, shopping, and eating.

thus far, their track record is to steal from other hyperlocal blogs. it's the opposite of "real." EV Grieve is real. Arihood is real. Slum Goddess, etc.

this just feels like another way that NYU is invading and pillaging a neighborhood they've almost completely sucked the life out of.

they need to be stopped. and the EV Blog Mafia can stop them.

EV Grieve said...

My feelings may change later as I process all this.... But currently this whole thing seems really arrogant — much like NYU itself...

Jeremiah Moss said...

true enough. let's see what they can do. maybe they will play well in the collective sandbox. however, they've already displayed a fair amount of hubris and narcissism by disregarding the "hyperlocal journalism" (aka blogging) that already exists here.

simply, the EV is a well-covered neighborhood. you know where there is very little "hyperlocal" coverage? Greenwich Village. why not go somewhere they might actually be needed?

and if i sound threatened, it's because that's the appropriate response to direct threat.

Media glut said...

I hope there is some way this NYU bubble can burst.

EV Grieve said...

I was put off by the boilerplate e-mail that I received from one of the editors yesterday. I know of at least three bloggers who received the exact same e-mail. You can't even personalize it?

It went something like: "Please let me know if you have any advice ... " If you're going to cover the neighborhood, then you need to take the time to learn who is already here... what they cover, their interests, etc. The e-mail struck me as a lame attempt to appease the existing bloggers in the neighborhood. It's like we'll become the facade of St. Ann's on 12th Street (look what we preserved!) and the new Local EV site will be the glassy 26-story dorm behind it.

I'm not sure if I feel threatened necessarily. I'm not a business, and do this out a love of the neighborhood... not to change the face of journalism as we know it before graduating with an advanced degree and moving on...

I do worry that the Local EV site will cherrypick from local bloggers without any credit...much like the mainstream media has already been doing. (Miss Heather has laid out how much the NYPost has been doing this...)

I'm also curious if anyone involved with this project is monitoring what people are saying about it...

Bowery Boogie said...

we received this email as well. hubris is the right word here. their announcement was more an eff-you to the rest of us...

Melanie said...

NY Times has no real NY section anymore--and publishing is pretty dead in the water--The Old Grey Lady is dead!!!!!~I saw some film people at Ray's benefit on Avenue A trying to film it-- now I know what was going on. We are photojournalists and a guess it is good for journalism students to learn as much as they can. After all this is not my first job nor my first profession. I come to my blog with experience and creativity and sensitivity. I recommend NOT to go up to a Crusty just so and film. Don't go down to Ave D just so. You cannot learn this in school. Good Luck to all cause photojournalism rocks.

Barrel said...

I think having students write for a "real" publication when so many adult, established writers are looking for work is horrible. Students are meant to write for student publications.

Perhaps this is a way for the NY Times to save money?? Are the student writers going to be paid or simply get college credit? I hope that no one at the NY Times loses their job because of this decision.

Unlike others, I don't question someone's locality as a barrier to being a topic expert. If you're educated on something, you're educated; it doesn't matter where you live. A good writer should be able to write something intelligent on any topic if he or she does enough research.

Dave Gustav said...

I left this comment on another site that covered the story, but just thought I'd throw the ideas out here too.

It's sad that the NYT has started this habit. Let's call this what it is: an unpaid college internship with a fancy name.

Choire Sicha makes great points, but let's take it to a different place: if the NYT donates money to an educational institution in exchange for content, can they write it off as a charitable donation?

Therefore they're possibly reducing local news to a tax break. Let's hope I'm wrong.


Lisa said...

Gee, I wonder if any of the arrogant little snots reporting on "their" neighborhood will have to leave their cushy wood 'n purple NYU "trolleys" and actually intermingle with the hoi polloi (NOT the ones in the bars they frequent) to report? I could never understand why you would come to NY to go to school and then hermetically seal yourself off from mass transit and the city you're living in by taking those cutesy-poo elitist tarted-up buses - what's the point? (Oh wait, maybe they're in training for their ultimate post-grad move into some hideous, hermetically-sealed off from the city and its people glass cube masquerading as housing.) And what are they gonna report on? The latest bar to flash their fake ID's in? The new boutique pandering to women who wear size 0-2? What on earth could these turds possibly have to tell REAL residents? God, I hate NYU!!!

VH McKenzie said...

"...It’s going to be messy and hard, which is to say real...."

When has an NYU student's experience in the EV ever been messy and/or hard? When they spill their Starbucks latte on their Balenciaga bag?

Instead of creating their own hyperlocal bureau for the NYT, they each ought to farm themselves out to the current blogs as unpaid interns. They would remain seen but not heard (like all good children) and learn from the "real" news reporters already in the EV.

Now THAT would be messy and hard.

WB said...

I'm not sure how I feel about this myself.

The students on this project will have some great resources available to them. One can hope they will do interesting, original reporting. Maybe learn some things about how news will be reported in the future while they're at it.

Having said that, to cover the neighborhood in the "hyperlocal" way that all of our great EV blogs do is a labor of love. First, you're a member of the neighborhood. You care about its history and where it is going. You write about it because you care, you live here, it is your life. Do you naturally get the same results from a partnership of the NY Times and NYU students taking a semester-long class? I'm not sure you do. It would be great if the program aimed to do things that are complementary to the coverage we already have, rather than try to replicate or replace it.

john penley said...

First of all NYU students DO NOT have a connection to our neighborhood other than to gentrify it. Screw NYU and the NY TIMES. I will be organizing a protest at Washington Square Park to protest NYU'S out of control dorm expansion. At this protest We will wipe our asses with the NYT. This is a con job on the NYU students because the NYT is not adding any new reporters. They are getting rid of them and this is a scam to get students to work for free.

editrrix said...

I defer to the existing bloggers, who are doing a great job covering the neighborhood. I live here; I know. The NYU crowd are largely transplants who are clueless what it takes to survive here for any length of time, in this job market, with sky-high rents. Shame on the NYT's for shilling for free content and trying to usurp the writers and bloggers who have been covering the neighborhood well for years.

Anonymous said...

So much petty hate and resentment in these comments. I am neither an NYU newcomer nor a EV fear-blogger, but when I read stuff like this, I side with the former. At least they don't have so much venom in their hearts.

You should know btw that plenty of NYU students are from NYC, for what it's worth. Many, many people from my public NYC HS went to NYU. Like many schools, they give scholarships too. But yes, there are plenty of people who went to the same suburban high schools that you did, but didn't have nearly the same amount of appreciation for Lou Reed that you did. Understandably, this makes them loathesome creatures.

As fas as hyperlocal journalism goes, NYU, the Times and the EV blog mafia can learn a lot from the lodown, to which I have absolutely no relation whatsoever:


They cover actual events with no editorializing. Like, what's going to happen, what happened, and who said what, instead of an endless stream of bitching about other white people that dress differently from you and dared to move here from Ohio 10 years after you did.

These blogs, let's face it, are the Fox News of anti-gentrification. Lots of yelling and hate and resentment (OMG, the Post stole my story, wahhh)

To those of us who grew up here, the people who come here and know nothing and act cluelessly are annoying. But the only thing that's more annoying are the people who come here, and several years later say stuff like

"I could never understand why you would come to NY to go to school and then hermetically seal yourself off from mass transit and the city you're living in by taking those cutesy-poo elitist tarted-up buses - what's the point?"

Of course sweetie, only you did it right. Everyone else is a tool. Fight the power.

EV Grieve said...

I think the Lo-Down is an excellent site. I've linked to them, and they've linked to me... They've done things the right way. I see their dedication to the neighborhood...

lodownny said...

I found this line from Professor Rosen particularly amusing: "It combines the discipline of pro journalism with the participatory spirit of citizen journalism." You have got to be kidding! I give SUNY and NYU a lot of credit for trying to address the implosion of Mainstream Journalism. Fine, prepare your students for an uncertain future. But would it really kill you to acknowledge and support the adults who are actually reporting day-in-and-day-out in this community?

EV Grieve said...

@ The Lo-Down. Exactly! The arrogance is something else. We're all saved! NYU is here to show us all how citizen journalism is done!

And if you don't know the Lo-Down's co-editors...

Traven is an award-winning filmmaker and theatrical director... Ed was a supervising producer at the Today Show and the executive producer of CNN’s morning program. He has more than 20 years of broadcast experience.

Meanwhile, here's NYU showing up with a bulldozer when a shovel would suffice...

john penley said...

Well to do WHITE kids go to NYU. Go to Bobst library or stand outside one of their dorms and you will see that I am not making this up. The NYU campus looks like South Africa in the old days.NYU is in no way representative of the racial and cultural mix that makes NYC great. There is no way these wealthy white kids can cover the LES that I love.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry about this, people. Everything PROFESSOR Jay Rosen touches eventually turns to pure shit. This must be his 300th "experiment," none of which have been anything but total bombs.

He, and his arrogant little reporterettes, will be shut down about 90 days after launch.

Laura Goggin Photography said...

Wow, this is low...and rather pathetic of the NYT. I'm sure there are enthusiastic students out there who are genuinely interested in 'real' journalism and the EV. However, once their term is done, they're gone. I seriously doubt this will be anything of any real substance or interest to anyone who is not an NYUer. They may cover the latest bands, bar-openings, street fairs and whatnot, but delving into the physical and social history of the neighborhood can't be taught in a classroom and certainly cannot be learned by anyone who is not actually living it.

Andy said...

White people frighten me, people with money frighten me. Change frightens me. New things frighten me. Inept references to apartheid make me feel safe, decrying young people with lots of debt makes me comfortable.

If only everything could be like it was 30 years ago.

Andy said...

My hobbies include decrying gentrification while taking an active role in it.
I also enjoy accusing people of paying hand over fist to live in NYU dorms of not really living in the East Village, since they aren't paying hand over fist for a building without a purple flag on it.
Most of all I like being a hypocrite, in the true spirit of the East Village.

john penley said...

One of the first new highrises to go up on the Bowery was an NYU dorm. Take a look at the Bowery now.Personally I have no fear of rich, white kids who are going to live in the neighborhood for four years and leave. I have seen the damage these transients have already done. Like I said NYU has created an artifical, sterile and culturally insensitive white enclave in what used to be racially and culturally mixed areas and a line has to be drawn somewhere. Enough is too much.Like I said go to NYU or The Palladium dorm and all you see are white kids who gentrify and move on. The last comments before mine are witty, sarcastic and stupid. They in no way address or refute my argument.

Uncle Al said...

You gotta love this, don't get me wrong, I love what has happened where I grew up. It's just that the same complaints that this writer has were voiced when the LES was taking an up tick 25 years ago. So in my lifetime I've seen the people who got in on a deal and scorned everyone else, to the trust fund hipster who were just "too f#%'ing cool" and now the obnoxious NYU student. Just as a note, what I may be criticizing were the minorities that seem to make life miserable for the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

Really interesting comments and I also find it fascinating that this was a brainchild of (NYU Professor and outspoken media critic) Jay Rosen who, on Twitter, thinks (or acts like) he has all the answers. He then moves in on a territory that's already being covered! He told the Daily News recently in an article (I forget the topic) that he wishes there was a hyperlocal blog covering the Washington Sq Park renovation. Then, when I (person who writes such a blog!) wrote to him to say such a blog exists, he responds, "yes, I've seen it. Thanks." Implying he wants more than what I'm doing, I gather. ?

I think Jeremiah made an excellent point that Greenwich Village itself could use a hyperlocal blog. (Not sure that would be a good thing but at least it would be moving in somewhere where such an entity doesn't quite exist.)

Since NYU is technically based IN the Village -- although with their expansion, they truly are everywhere! -- and uses the Washington Square Arch in all their advertising, and considers the Park their campus, that would have been breaking new ground and not proclaiming to offer something different when such a thing exists - and is done quite nicely.

If they are going to do something like this, at least do something different. Even the idea builds on a model that already exists. They won't be able to capture the "heart" of what makes true "citizen journalism" WORK - it's because it's not 'just a job' or just a credit. It's done, and it works, because people CARE and have some interest or stake in their topic.

Yes, that could be *expanded* into some journalism model, but it's not like 'just add water.' It would require more thought to add a UNIQUE element to it, not just copying what's already being done, and stating because "we're professional journalists, now it'll be done right." I don't think so.

WSP Blog

Anonymous said...

Interesting. But it seems to me like this comment thread itself is a pretty good demonstration of why the NYT thinks they need to start a different form of local blog, rather than work with existing bloggers.
There's just way too much opinion and emotion in the existing local blogosphere for a traditional institution like the Times, not to mention way, way too much bitterness and vitriol. I'm not saying that there isn't a place and a purpose for opinionated whining, but hopefully there's still a place for calm, reasoned, report-the-facts journalism.

Jeremiah Moss said...

good points back at you, Cat. and i was thinking of you there, that you might be the only blogger in Greenwich Village that covers, in your case, a piece of the area. is that so? am i making an oversight?

on another note, i don't think we can generalize about "all" NYU students. however, this project does seem to reflect a pervasive attitude of solipsism at NYU--it shows an utter lack of self-awareness or introspection regarding its impact on the community that it enters. very imperialistic, really.

i hope they're reading these comments. but will anything actually penetrate?

glamma said...

they should be forced to read "selling the lower east side" from cover to cover before one word is printed.

Anonymous said...

John Penley,

Does it occur to you that in order for people to move to NY and become members of a community, they need to first, you know, move to NY? I know many New Yorkers who became New Yorkers by first attending NYU. So yes, many who come to college here stay for only 4 years. Many don't. This is the nature of colleges. Should NY not have colleges?

You offer absolutely no facts in your assertion that "NYU is in no way representative of the racial and cultural mix" blah blah blah. NYU looks like apartheid South Africa you say. Let's check out some facts.


Wowie zowie, NYU's undergrad body is 30% Asian! How interesting. And given lower Manhattan's high Asian American population, I'd have to say that your statement that NYU *is in no way representative* is plainly false.

I already knew that, because many of my Asian high school friends who grew up in Chinatown attended NYU. They were not wealthy. It's called loans - you probably have some too, unless *you* grew up rich.

But of course, we all see what we want to see. When you are a self-loathing overprivileged white person who is racked with guilt over who he is, then all you see is other overprivileged white people. And you hate them, I guess? Because they remind you of yourself? Okay, let's get off the couch.

Reality is of course more subtle.

Yes, NYU is not very representative of NYC when it comes to blacks and hispanics. Their racial breakdown looks a lot like that of Stuyvesant or Bronx Science, actually. Same goes for pretty much any somewhat selective educational institution. This is not NYU's cross to bear alone.

There are many things to dislike about NYU's real estate policies, but please, stop blindly ranting about the sheltered, evil white students who share a "pervasive attitude of solipsicism" (Jeremiah is always good for a po-mo post-structuralist quote - now there's someone who sounds like he went to grad school!)

EV Grieve said...

Also, I meant to make this point much earlier... There already is a local community news and information newspaper/Web site covering the East Village — The Villager.

Seems to me that they've been doing a nice job of covering the East Village community and documenting everyday life in the neighborhood for many, many years. They may not have the combined resources of NYU/NYT, but they do a damn good job...

Jeremiah Moss said...

hey, who's knocking grad school now?

Anonymous said...

Ha, well, for starters, going to school for like, 25 years, is not very "real" nor "authentic." Plus NYU has a lot of grad schools, so you are immediately suspect for fraternizing with the enemy.

Jeremiah Moss said...

how is a post-graduate education unreal? i also don't think these are all-or-nothing situations. someone could attend NYU, or teach there, or send their kids there, and still be critical of the institution, its policies and actions. just like you can be an american and criticize the government. right? obviously, you get this--as you said, "reality is more subtle."

john penley said...

Anonymous/ Why don't you post the stats on Black and Latino students at NYU ? I think you made my argument for me. You say NYU is 30 percent Asian well what is the breakdown on the rest ? Like I said NYU does not seem to care about admitting Black and Latino students.You also once again ignore my argument that NYU does not reflect the racial and cultural diversity of the Lower East and New York City.The LES has a large and proud Puerto Rican population which is being pushed out by NYU students. Could you please put up the stats on how many Puerto Ricans attend NYU now and over the years.If you got a degree from NYU I think you wasted a lot of money and unfortunately reflect NYU's failure to diversify it's student population. I put my name on my comments. Why don't you ? Do you work for NYU or The Times ?

East Village Feed said...

Call me naive, but seems like an awful lot of negative chatter about a well-intentioned program with a considerable amount of resources to do something good for the East Village.

I'm not an NYU student - but if I was involved in the program, I'd feel pretty intimidated right now.

There are many, many blogs in the East Village that already cover the 'beat' pretty well - my concern isn't what they'll displace or disrupt, but what will they add?

My two cents. Meanwhile - I'm bookmarking it and crossing my fingers: http://eastvillage.thelocal.nytimes.com

Richard said...

Far be it for me to tell anybody that they can't gripe about whatever is bothering them, but I am truly puzzled by the tack that a lot of the comments have taken against this project.

No, not the well-worn 'privileged NYU students gentrifying the East Village' meme. I am talking about the anti-competitive attitude that says that, because other blogs exist that cover the East Village/Lower East Side, therefore it is not permitted for NYU/NYT to enter the market.

If the various local blogs that have assembled here in this comment thread are so much more in tune with the true nature of the area and the attitude of its 'real' residents, then I suppose that the market will reject the superficial coverage of NYT/NYU and continue to embrace your superior content, right?

So what do you have to worry about? Or is this just another opportunity to whinge about Big Purple?

EV Grieve said...

I've exchanged e-mails tonight with several of the editors who will be working on the Local EV... As I told them, I went to journalism school 100 years ago, and I would have been really excited to have this opportunity ... Anyway, I've worked hard on EVG the last three years, watching it go from 5 hits a week to 4,000 a day. Then I hear about this project with the unlimited resources of NYU and The Times to come plowing into the neighborhood. So my initial reaction last night was that of the mom-and-pop grocer who suddenly finds a three-level Whole Foods opening next door. I appreciated the exchange with the student journalists... I'm sure I'll have more to say on all this another time.

Anonymous said...

I bet some combination of these things happen in the first weeks of the NYU/NYT site opening:

1. A handy blogroll features current EV bloggers.

2. Sweet profiles of the EV bloggers. (Bonus points if they are written in the second person and/or include the words "old hand".)

3. One or more current EV bloggers gets to be a guest blogger.

If I was Rosen, I'm make sure to co-opt the current scene asap to lessen the possibility of messiness in the future.

Also, it's worth noting that NYU is such a big behind the scenes player in EV politics that a responsible EV site is going to end up biting, or atleast exposing, the hand that feeds it. That ain't gonna happen. I'm sure there are better sandboxes for Rosen and Co. to play in. Why not pick one where there's less inherent conflict of interest?

Anonymous said...

Nice thread, if a little overheated. Anyway, it would have been really easy for someone to just do some Googling: http://admissions.nyu.edu/explore.nyu/fast.facts.html

NYU's undergraduate population (based on Fall 2009) is 4% black, 8% Hispanic, 30% Asian, 44% white, and 15% multiracial/other/not reported. I rounded those numbers and combined some categories.

The number one state where NYU students come from is New York.

Jeremiah Moss said...

Grieve's analogy about being the mom-and-pop grocer when a Whole Foods moves in hits the nail on the head, and answers the questions about competition.

this is not friendly, even-playing-field competition we're talking about. when i started my blog, there were only 1 or 2 EV/LES bloggers on the radar. now there are many. we all communicate and cooperate with each other. and do our best not to step on toes.

for NYU/NYT it's guerrilla marketing. it's the Home Depot that opens on the same street as two thriving mom-and-pop hardware stores--this is why they're NOT going to a neighborhood with a lack of blogs, and where "hyperlocal" writing is needed.

someone in charge no doubt said, "Hey, the EV has an already thriving blog readership. Let's exploit that."

Anonymous said...


No, I'm not aware of any Greenwich Village blogs that cover GV in the way the EV is covered. I think it would be fun! I would love to have the time and energy (and money) to do that! :) NYU/NYT certainly could. And it might be sort of interesting. I don't think the Village could be further gentrified and they've already done much of their damage and are moving into other areas now. So... !

I would imagine the reason there isn't a GV blog is that, it seems to me, the Village is very much now either old-timers or 'new' timers - who are either NYU students or the yuppie/wall street/finance type, neither probably inclined to start a neighborhood blog. I'm sure there's someone lurking there who would and maybe will eventually.

I realize some of the comments take issue with generalizations and I appreciate that. It is something to keep in mind. It's unfortunate at this point that NYU has not done much, either via the administration or some of the students, to garner much trust or empathy.

I agree with you also here:

"for NYU/NYT it's guerrilla marketing. it's the Home Depot that opens on the same street as two thriving mom-and-pop hardware stores--this is why they're NOT going to a neighborhood with a lack of blogs, and where "hyperlocal" writing is needed."

Do you think Rosen was even aware of the existing EV blogs? You'd think so but he acts like he's all about 'new ideas' and then moves in here as if he's doing something "new" without any acknowledgment of what exists. He did link to this discussion which was brought to his attention on Twitter.

Didn't the Times start out this "model" in Maplewood (NJ) and Fort Greene last year and abandon one of those "Locals"? Those are now aligned with CUNY J-School I believe. How is that even different than that? The more you look at this, the more perplexing it is!

WSP Blog.

Anonymous said...


I was just ribbing you on the graduate education bit. Of course it's possible to attend NYU etc, and be critical of its actions. Fight the power from within, etc. Witness the awesome NYU protest from not too long ago, where the activists refused to surrender their kleen kanteens, accusing NYU of drinking "corporate water"


Anyway, I kid. I am just always amused by the rather awkward fact that all the anti-gentrification bloggers tend to be very well educated white people who moved here themselves, and thus are textbook examples of first of even second wave gentrification (assuming that your hated "yunnies" represent the third)

Anonymous said...

Dear Jon Penley,

I linked to NYU's stat page. Thus I was in no way concealing the black/latino statistics. I only cited the Asian statistic in my post because it was all I needed to refute your facially false "NYU is *in no way* representative" of its surrounding areas claim. Clearly, in some way, it is representative.

Not only that, but I specifically mentioned the underrepresentation of black/latinos at NYU:

"Yes, NYU is not very representative of NYC when it comes to blacks and hispanics. Their racial breakdown looks a lot like that of Stuyvesant or Bronx Science, actually. Same goes for pretty much any somewhat selective educational institution. This is not NYU's cross to bear alone."

Somebody already put up the full stats above me, so I won't bother reposting. I just assumed everyone would click the link.

So okay, the LES (not actually where NYU is centered, but okay) has a large and "proud" (relevance?) Puerto Rican population. NYU has a far smaller percentage of Latinos. Conclusion: NYU has racist admission policies.

Let's see, what are some logic flaws here? Too many to count, but let's try.

Do you know what percentage of NYU's *applicant pool* is Latino? How many of these proud Puerto Ricans are actually applying to NYU (which I suspect is a prerequisite for acceptance and subsequent attendance.) No, of course you don't know. Easier to say that NYU is racist.

NYC's specialized public high schools (Stuy, BxSci) have a very similar percentage of blacks/latinos. Admission is based solely on a blindly administered multiple choice test of math and english (and no questions about regattas either.) Do these schools have racist admissions policies because only 5% of their class winds up Latino? You probably think so.

In reality, of course, NYC has a special program for *only underrepresented minority* 8th graders (that means no asians, obviously) where if you didn't quite make the mark (within a certain margin of the score cut-off) you get tutored all summer, and still get to attend one of these schools, even when your white/asian counterparts with identical scores didn't get in. The black/latino % of students in these schools would be even lower without this program.

Of course, NYU and most other private colleges have very similar programs. GPA and SAT are basically what you need to get into college, but when it comes to underrepresented minorities, these schools will always give an underrepped minority candidate a bump. Only public universities in Cali and Michigan no longer do this, because their state supreme courts have ruled it unconstitutional. That almost all other colleges do this is a well known and acknowledged fact.

So if I were to play devil's advocate, I would actually say yes, NYU does have racist admissions policies, but not in the way you think. Personally, I don't believe this, and think affirmative action is largely justified, but you sir, have no clue how academia works.

Perhaps "society" is racist or whatever, but not university admissions policies.

I did not get any of my degrees from NYU. Yet if I had, you claim that "I wasted a lot of money and unfortunately reflect NYU's failure to diversify it's student population." WTF? What are you implying? For all you know, I am transgender Cherokee on a full ride. But of course, if I hold opinions contrary to yours, I must be a well-off white person. Kind of how Clarence Thomas and Condi Rice aren't "really" black, right?

Anonymous said...

Which leads me to my last pet peeve. People love to call others out for posting on the internet anonymously, and it's the ultimate cop-out. I try not to leave a trail on the internet because I have a very unique name (hmm maybe not as WASPy as you suspect I am) Who cares what my name is? How does that affect the substance of my argument? Especially hilarious is when people point to their using their names as some sort of virtue, like a feather in their cap. So brave! My god, an anti-gentrification activist using his real name on an anti-gentrification blog! Aren't you afraid they're going to come for you in the night? Those Iranian protesters have nothing on you.

For the record, I do not work for NYT or NYU, nor do I have any connection to journalism, academia or real estate for that matter. I just get annoyed by baseless accusations of racism from people who I share my neighborhood with.

Jeremiah Moss said...

Anon 11:38, i'm with you on "the rather awkward fact that all the anti-gentrification bloggers tend to be very well educated white people who moved here themselves."

it is awkward. i feel awkward about it daily. i don't know the answer for it, but i do think there is something to intention and balance.

maybe 20 years ago we had balance. i'm not sure. but i know we don't today.

esquared™ said...

sorry for being late on this, but isn't the east villager already doing what the nyu/nyt is trying to do? i.e., covering a neighborhood they don't live in (or have only been here a few months), albeit with good writing credentials. in addition, not only will this new nyu/nyt "hyperlocal" blog be gentrifying the ev bloggers that already exist, it'll also be gentrifying that said blog who had already exploited the real ev blogs?
(now parse that, and see how meta that is.)

Anonymous said...

Jeremiah, I appreciate the fact that you recognize this paradox. It's interesting that you talk about 20 years ago being a balance. People who rail against gentrification always tend to see their ideal mix, that is when *they* moved there, as the perfect equilibrium of the neighborhood. That makes sense of course - when you are the marginal resident, the one that just arrived, the scales were clearly just tipped in the favor of you being there, and for you, everything is just the way it should be (that is, plenty of grittiness with juuuuuust a pinch of "Stuff White People Like.") Of course, to people already there, the "balance" may already be in the past. When you read what people wrote in the early 80's, back in the Christadora conversion days, it's remarkable how similar it sounds to what people say today. You might as well change the date, and post it on your blog verbatim.

The very idea of a "balance" itself is kind of problematic, as a grad student might say. I mean, to look back at these lower Manhattan neighborhoods and not to conclude that they are constantly in flux would be seriously misreading history, right? When was there ever a balance?

Sometimes, yes, places become richer and more exclusive. One time, the upper east side was farmland. At what point was "the balance" lost? Other times, it works in the other direction. There's always movement.

My only point is, the arrival of certain front line gentrifiers in the 70s/80s made it a certainty that soon, other, less adventurous souls would follow. At some point, you came along. You (or people like you, in the aggregate) were I'm sure unwelcome to the people who thought things had progressed far enough. And now the people after you are unwelcome to you.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that maybe a little context can smooth down the edges a little, and reduce some of the "othering" that's going on between what are essentially different versions of the same creature.

Sure, there are plenty of annoying newcomers, but weren't there some real assholes among the people who moved here in the 80s? They dressed differently, I'll give you that.

Jeremiah Moss said...

Anon (I wish you picked a nickname so I'd know if you were the same Anon or a different Anon, but nonetheless...), you make good points. I agree there is a sense of "when I arrived, it was ideal." For sure this has to do with youth, as well.

These things get entangled in race and class issues, which are, in some way, red herrings. Of course, if we go back to the East Village of the early 1900s, we see a community of middle-class Germans. They left en masse after the tragedy of the General Slocum disaster and were replaced by other groups of European whites. The Puerto Rican population didn't arrive in any significantly changing way until the 1950s. Etc., etc. Yes, always in flux.

I guess I go back to this idea of intention and power. Do you come to the East Village, or other neighborhood, with the intention to blend (as gently as possible) into the existing fabric? Or to invest in a post-gentrification future you hope will pay off? Do you see a home where you fit? Or a playground you can exploit?

What happened in recent years, and we saw this over and over in blog commentary and other places, was an influx of people who intentionally aimed to destroy and dismantle the existing fabric of the community.

We read comments and overheard conversations like "dump all the poor people in the East River" and "tear down the tenements" and "those mom-and-pops should all be put out of business and bulldozed."

This intention, this sociopathic sentiment, goes WAY beyond the usual flux of gentrifications and de-gentrifications. And that is what we have lived with for the past decade.

EV Grieve said...

@ esquared...

NYU will be relaunching that site, folding it into the Local EV...

Melanie said...

Fellow Bloggers---Keep Up The Good Work.
I love you all.
You care--you're cool and informed and passionate about what you do. You are creative and unmoveable in your plights.
Photojournalists yeah!!!

EV Grieve said...

Thanks, Melanie!

We all enjoy your work in the neighborhood too! You have a great eye!

esquared™ said...

oh, right, grieve. should have read your post more thoroughly.

anyhoo, yeah, they never credited arihood for that story. i tried to comment (twice)on that site inquiring how they got that story and why they didn't credit bob for that, but it never made it to the comment section. they did post an editor's note (which is no longer in their site) stating that they got the story from someone's tweet (they crowdource their stories from ev bloggers and tweets). i wish i had taken a screenshot of that denial). also, i may have a screenshot of my 2nd comment --figuring it'd never make it. i'll try to look for it).

so, if this is the type of "journalism" nyu/nyt is trying to launch, then no thank you. but my prediction is that it'd still be successful, since it'd be read by the out-of-evillagers idealizing or perceiving the ev based on what they had seen on satc and such -- much like the ones who get their history or facts of the ev from reading tony. the real evillagers are the ones who are in the minority here (regardless of race or class). and it is always the minority that is pushed out by the gentrification. in summary, the nyu/nyt "hyperlocal site" will only cater to the more affluent base of evillagers (the nyu kids/yuppies/yunnies/whatnot), appealing mostly to more affluent ev migrants and visitors.

EV Grieve said...

Thanks, Esquared. I wanted to know what happened to those comments and the editor's note as well. That post was scrubbed clean. I swear there were at three comments there... because I know someone who left a comment. Bad form.

Anonymous said...

I kind of don't get what all the hub bub is about. You guys obviously don't do this for money. You do it for the love of the game. So what does it matter that someone else will be blogging about the Village too? If you have a superior product, people will still read you. If not, well, then, we should all be happy that someone is producing something better than what is being produced currently.

It's like, you're a painter and you are really upset that some other guy who happens to be rich, is also going to paint something.

Anonymous said...

Dear esquared,

Regarding your contention that the NYU/NYT site will only cater to the "more affluent base of evillagers" - do you seriously think that Puerto Ricans from Ave D or old Ukranian grandmas (if there are any left) are reading these blogs that currently exist?

Sorry, but this stuff is all FUBU - for newly arrived white people, by (relatively) newly arrived white people. Sure, these people are united by their hate for all things NYU/Corporate/Starbucks, but let's not get too delusional about who the readers of these blogs are.

Anonymous said...


Same Anon here. I appreciate your thoughtful responses. I am a frequent critic of yours, but you are good at staying above the fray, which is rare on the internet.

I think your comment:

We read comments and overheard conversations like "dump all the poor people in the East River" and "tear down the tenements" and "those mom-and-pops should all be put out of business and bulldozed."

Is a bit of a straw man. I'm sure some people said these things. But it's not the 19 year olds who take the purple trolleys and dare to prefer Pinkberry over Ray's belgian fries. All the hate goes towards people that haven't done anything wrong except for not conform with your consumer choices.

Show me someone who "wants to throw all the poor people in the river" and I will stand with you in condemning them. People who haven't actually done anything wrong except be young, not from here and wanting to have fun, well, I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.

Let's at least put it this way - NYU is a huge property owner and thus pays tons of taxes to the city. These kids pay large amounts of tuition to NYU. The city then uses this money to fund services for the less fortunate. So I don't think we are dealing with mindless, clueless parasite/destroyers here. It's more complicated.

EV Grieve said...

There are plenty of great stories to tell in the East Village... and I'm sure the Local EV will do a good job of finding and telling some of them... I'm guessing the new site will be feature focused, and covering things that wouldn't necessarily be of interest to me.

Here are some headlines from the short-lived NYU blog the east villager from this past fall... (this is serving as the template for the Local...)

East Village Rabbi Jazzes It Up

Celebrity Chihuahuas Live in the East Village!

Underground Beer Pong in the East Village

Local Sushi Restaurants Serve An Endangered Fish

Andrew Tyndall said...

I'm guessing the new site will be feature focused...

Rosen is promising something else: "We're pretty sure that hard core politics--especially land use--is the bedrock here."

An NYU/NYT Website focusing on East Village real estate! Talk about a minefield.

EV Grieve said...

@ Andrew. A minefield, indeed.

And NYU is the largest landowner around ... will the Local EV be critical of their own institution? What kind of editorial freedom will they have?

Anonymous said...

This is Daniella aka Our Lady of Perpetual PMS. I didn't feel comfortable signing in w/my gmail password to comment, that's all. Certain things have a reputation for a reason. NYU certainly does have a reputation for being a rich, white, elitist school. NYU was one of the schools I looked into when I applied to college, and it was ridiculously expensive comparatively. I definitely do not come from money. I don't know what that makes me? Lower-middle class? While we're at, I'm Italian-American. So am I still one of these dreaded apparently soulless honkeys that seem to be the scourge of these comments? I don't feel ashamed to be white. But I digress. I went to the college that could give me a really good arts education. A SUNY school that was not only way cheaper than NYU, but gave me a lot of scholarship money too. Not only could someone like myself never afford to go to NYU, but it's so rare someone gets enough scholarship money to attend a university like this, full time, for as long as it takes to complete their degree. Some of us don't want to spend our adult lives paying off college debt, and NYU is not a practical school if you don't have a rich background and can pay upfront. NYU absolutely has a certain image. And its never ending property expansions help remind us greater NYC is becoming an exclusive enclave for the rich.
Just the other night I spoke to my roommate, a blogger, and said: "It's time."
My roommate has an additional neighborhood blog that he hasn't had much time to work on, that I am finally going to start contributing to. It's for our neighborhood, Little Italy, though of course will encompass things Chinatown, LES, & NoLita. We are part of the LES afterall. And did you know that NoLita IS Little Italy? It actually means "Northern Little Italy", not "North of Little Italy." Am I opposed to new businesses? No. Do think that endless new bars and swanky restaurants, and copycat upscale boutiques are newsworthy? Not so much. Yes, I want interesting news content, investigative journalism, off beat events, moving photos, artsy photos, commentary from characters, food finds, cultural events, historical context, etc. Yes we'll do some ethnocentric angles from Italy also. These are the things I know and like, and I can't help that. Do any of the judgemental anonymous commenters want to assess whether I'm worthy to blog about them? And please, no Jersey Shore references. I do have some credibility I can pull out of my pocket and show you if it wil shut you up.
A lot of recent newcomers move here for COMPLETELY different reasons than they did in the past. And it honestly just does not to seem like a blog covering the East Village beat will have as much credibility as a longer-term resident. Also YUNNIES do scare me. They feel coddled in the knowledge that NYC has now been touted as the safest big city in the USA, and they can experience all the comfort and convenience of the chain store mall stores and "restaurants" they grew up with. They really don't seem care about class war, the elderly native, or the shuttering of small businesses in favor of big chains. If anyone is interested, we'll be trying to get this more functional: http://piccolitalia.blogspot.com
And hey if we don't all voice our discontent?
"That which you will not resist and mobilize to stop, you will learn or be forced to accept." from The World Can't Wait

EV Grieve said...

Hi Daniella,

Thanks for sharing. I look forward to your work at http://piccolitalia.blogspot.com.

You make many excellent points. For starters, I agree that "a lot of recent newcomers move here for COMPLETELY different reasons than they did in the past."

As a small example, a fledgling middle-manager type moved into my building. A native of Northern California, he worked in Midtown and decided to live here "because of the bar scene." He had no interest in the neighborhood and what it had to offer outside 2-1 happy hours.

However, this isn't always an age thing. I've talked with several NYU students -- one of whom will be writing for the Local EV -- and they love the East Village and understand and respect its storied past and want to be part of something special and the neighborhood that exists now. I felt that way when I arrived here too. (Uh, I didn't go to NYU...) I'm sure some longtime residents probably thought I was just another new kid in the neighborhood here to ruin things.

Uh, I forget my point now... I'm veering away from what Daniella was saying... I guess I wanted to make it clear that I didn't think that being young automatically made you a yunnie. Still, newcomers with good intentions seem to be in short supply these days.

Anonymous said...

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