Friday, May 14, 2010

(Updated) Avenue A, 9:13 p.m., May 8

The discussion continues on this post.... Thank you for all the comments... I appreciate the spirited debate.... There are many noteworthy comments... Here's one from Goggla...

I've been thinking about this issue as it's obviously touched a nerve. Aside from the obvious problems cited above, I think this photo is upsetting because it brings to life the selfish attitude that permeates our culture of late. The over-consuming, reckless-spending, live now and screw the consequences behavior that undermined our economy is personified in this picture. This behavior is not just confined to weekend binges in the EV - when you believe it's ok to go into a neighborhood and puke on doorsteps and piss in planters, what prevents you from carrying this general attitude towards the world on a daily basis? It's not my stoop, so I can throw my trash here; it's not my pension fund, so I'll spend the money now and they can worry about it later. I find it hard to believe that a person (or group of people) can behave like animals only two nights a week and be decent, courteous human beings the other five. What we see here on the street corner is a self-gratifying, irresponsible, spoiled and unempathetic picture of a larger social problem.


Barbara L. Hanson said...

Last night, I went to a concert at 29th and 2nd. Took a cab up--$7.50 (at about 8pm). Getting home at 1am? $14! The traffic was backed up insanely on 1st, A, and B. I see the cause in that photo...

Anonymous said...

yuck! this is why I don't leave my EV apartment past 8pm on Friday or Saturday nights, stock up like its a blizzard and stay in away from all the drunk yuppies and tourist drinkers.

Eden Bee said...

That's one drinking container. I'm making a citizen's arrest.

urbanashtangi said...

Yet another group of UES'ers making the neighborhood loud and obnoxious on a weekend night. There HAS to be a way to get them back uptown or to Jersey....

EV Grieve said...


Unfortunately, in this case, the Fashion Police have jurisdiction. Mutiple tickets will be issued for, among other things, wearing white mini skirts before Memorial Day (or any day) and renting tuxes from that one shop by the mall.

Unknown said...

Calling Walt Stillman - time for a Metropolitan remake.

pinhead said...

We need a word for a woman in a miniskirt taking photos of a douche-y guy. Douche-ographer? Douche-groupie? Douche-ophant?

MsDarker said...

this wedding almost barged into Ace Bar, of course...the best man had a whistle. Which I think means he wanted my friend to punch him in the throat...
that's what my friend thought.

After Ace, they went to Mama's.
I tried harder to stay out of their way after that...

Eden Bee said...

They'll all be sporting white shoes after labor day too i bet...goddammit it..

Anonymous said...

anon - you sound like a really sad person.

Jeremiah Moss said...

"stock up like a blizzard" and stay indoors is right.

Lisa said...

Anonymous #2 - Au contraire, Anonymous #1 sounds like a very intelligent and long-time East Villager, one who remembers when this place was an actual neighborhood rather than a playground for drunken sots to act like raging assholes in. Come to think of it, Anon 1sounds a lot like me (30 years in the nabe this June), I too go to ground every weekend rather than have to fight my way through howling revelers acting like it's Times Square on New Year's Eve. You, on the other hand, sound like someone who's been here for a couple of months, thinks they're hot shit, and that it's perfectly fine for the EV to be overrun by Hottentots. You are wrong. Anon 1 is right. Get used to it.

Unknown said...

Anon #2 you sound like an asshole

Anonymous said...

Since when is it sad to stay in on a Saturday night because your block is overrun by drunk-ass idiots? Every single neighbor I have of more than 5 years' tenancy does that.

That said, there really is nothing lovelier than the EV on an early Saturday or Sunday morning. So at least the a-holes are a largely nighttime problem.

Laura Goggin Photography said...

@Anon 10:59 - I agree. Off the street before 9-10pm on Fri and Sat, up early (before noon) in the morning to enjoy the empty streets and singing birds.

Anonymous said...

Most of the comments here are only enlightening in so far as they reveal the prejudices and snobbery of the commenters. What purpose is served by making these petty, ad hominen attacks? The day I become such a curmudgeon that I find myself whining online about people having a harmless good time is the day I recognize that I should move to a different neighborhood, perhaps in Jersey. Tenure in the neighborhood doesn't entitle you to anything more than a smile and a nod in acknowledgement; you've got no special claim to the bars and the streets. Just because there are some who choose to enjoy the company of their friends differently than you do shouldn't make them targets of childish, ignorant attacks like these (and I bet most of you fancy yourselves "tolerant" when it doesn't inconvenience you). If you ask me, these people look like they embody the spirit of the East Village more so than the people responsible for the bellyaching posted here. And I'm willing to bet the owners of the bars they visited were happy to have the business. If the neighborhood were as staid and somber as the commenters here seem to want it to be, it would wither and die.

Anonymous said...

This latest comment is baffling. Setting aside for a moment whether or not drunk revelers are assholes or just "people having a harmless good time" ... how in the hell can transient bar-goers better embody the East Village than the people WHO ACTUALLY LIVE HERE?

And by the way, saying "Move to Jersey if you don't like it" is second in tiredness only to "Go back to Ohio."

Daniel said...

@Anonymous #3 (who may or may not also be Anonymous #1): I beg to differ on a number of points.

"Harmless:" Noisy, rude, and prone to vomiting isn't my idea of "harmless."

"No special claim to the bars:" No I don't; however, when the neighborhood is routinely inundated with noisy, rude people prone to vomiting and having more money than sense, it fosters a particular kind of bar, limiting the diversity of venues and leaving me with no place to go. Is this selfish on my part? Perhaps, but if we don't look out for our own interests, no one else will.

"Embody the spirit of the East Village:" No. There was a time when there was diversity of ethnicity, age, socioeconomic class and sexuality in this neighborhood. More and more, it is the people we see in this picture: rich, young, and white. When a neighborhood is viewed as a stop along the way to a pre-war co-op on the UWS or a white picket fence in Westchester, these residents have no incentive to better the neighborhood. (And for the record, I'm on the young side, but have considered the neighborhood a place for long-term residence since I moved here when I was 27)

"If the neighborhood were as staid and somber:" I don't want "staid and somber," but I certainly don't need another bar catering to asshats with a gross (in ever sense of the word) notion of entitlement. I need places to buy groceries and clothing, places to do my laundry, and places to meet my friends where we all feel comfortable.

On the other hand, maybe I'm just a snob.

@EV Grieve: the ban on white before Memorial Day only applies to shoes.

Anonymous said...

The spirit of the East Village as I know it (resident since '90) is one of diversity, respect and balance. With the over abundance of bars we've entered a period of extreme imbalance. For those of us who were here before the East Village became a designated party zone the change is not welcome. The party spirit does not add to our neighborhood. Diversity and its accompanying energy does. At this point the over abundance of bars is an overwhelming presence that has tipped the quality of life scales from healthy and vibrant to one sided and self serving.

elkue said...

The only thing that makes me angry anymore are people who pretend they're from my hometown when they're not. I've gotten past the 'imbalance' and party-fication of all my childhood hangouts. Things change.

blueglass said...

i have lived here for over 40 years. and i did, and sometimes still imbibe more than i should. the problem is the new "in your face" how awful can we be attitude of those that now disrupt the lives of those folk that live and/or work here. we did not roam the streets in packs yelling as loud as we could because that's the new hip. we did not puke or pea in building doorways. we could have fun without making life awful for others. this is not a playground. it is a residential neighborhood despite the numer of clubs and bars that surround us. would you act the same way where you live and/or work? if you would, you must have been born in a barn?

Lisa said...

Anonymous – FYI, it's illegal to drink alcohol in public; the dork pouring the brewski down his throat so openly is not, as you stupidly think "embodying the spirit of the East Village" - he's breaking the law. Out of curiosity, how far back does your knowledge of EV history extend? Are you aware that before 1990 or so this was a real neighborhood, with stores and bars for the people who lived and worked here? Do you know about the different immigrant groups who made this place their home long before these interlopers rolled in nightly? Ever hear of the General Slocum disaster and its relationship to the area? Have a clue that this place was vital to the Beat Movement? What about the anarchist riots of the 1980s? Anything at all besides the endlessly proliferating watering holes and their classless habituees? Or do you really think it was put on the map merely to serve as Disneyland East for college kids? As to the contention that these morons are what the EV is "really" about, your ignorance is breathtaking. 30 years ago I helped squat an abandoned tenement; we lived without electricity and running water, took showers in open fire hydrants and gut-rehabbed a junkie-ridden building that otherwise would have been lost to fire or neglect. I worked to rid my street of the drug dealers infesting the block 24/7. I worked to clean up Tompkins Square Park so it could be used by the whole neighborhood, spent 6 years on CB 3, 5 of them as chair of the SLA Committee, fruitlessly trying to stem the tide of bars and restaurants that began overwhelming us 15 years ago, did volunteer work with local groups and in the pediatric AIDS ward at Beth Israel. So please tell me, how is it that cretins who don't live here "embody the spirit of the East Village", yet someone like me, living here for decades and trying to make it a better place, does not? If it weren't for people who came to the EV and loved it the way it was long before it was a hipster’s paradise, NYU never would have invaded us, and mouth breathers like those in this photo would not have even had the guts to come down here. Your assertion that "we've got no special claim to the bars" is interesting - that bars is the first thing you think of tells me where YOUR interests lie. It also further reveals the depths of your ignorance. We don't WANT the bars. We want the shoe repair shops, the bakeries, the little jumble shops, the hardware stores they replaced. This was a vibrant community long before bars and nightclubs overran it and rendered it off-limits to so many people who live here. And while one small group of revelers is of no great import, magnify them by the sheer numbers of sodden frat turds who descend on us almost nightly, and anyone with half an eye and two working brain cells can see we reached a tipping point long ago. So do my feelings make me prejudiced? What, against inebriated cretins who don't care about the neighborhood I cherish, except insofar as it's a place for them to come and act out? You bet. Against know-nothings like you, who feel free to tell me what the EV really is, when you have no friggin' clue? Absolutely. Nope, what those of us who rail against our neighborhood being used as an open bar, vomitorium and playground for brats with fake IDs and daddy's dime in their pockets REALLY are is trying desperately to hold on to what little is left of the place we call home. Through good and bad, thick and thin, we’ve been here, and here we’ll stay. We're not going to Jersey (great suggestion, you parrot), but you should pack your bags, give up your lease, and leave. I can guarantee you we wouldn't miss you for a minute.

Anonymous said...

How many of those drunken revelers sat in a panic watching the upper Avenue A fire today, from the terrifying vantage of out the window or down 14th or A, or helplessly not at home but at their work desks many blocks away reading this blog?

How many of those weekend people, Anon9:17PM, the people you claim now best embody the "spirit of the East Village," do you suppose are in a state of worry over the personal safety and future business of the store owners and residents of that building/corner?

How many of these idiots you champion even know about this fire AT ALL?

It's all fun and games, somber old-school snobs vs. harmless young people, until something terrible happens, eh? Now do you see that a neighborhood is more than a bunch of fcuking bars and a weekend "good time"?

mimi said...

The key to a well-functioning neighborhood is a certain degree of diversity: a balance between residents with high and low income, different sociological profiles, different types of stores and businesses, etc. And respect between those different people and entities. The East Village in general is quite good at keeping that balance, maybe more so than many neighborhoods in Manhattan. But Avenue A is a continuous party by night. I don't see how it could be in anyone's interest to encourage Avenue A becoming a barren stretch full of banks and vacant storefronts by day, and loud bars at night. I don't think the previous posters defending this neighborhood want to get rid of all the bars or prevent anyone from outside the neighborhood from ever coming here. They're just objecting to the neighborhood being trashified by visitors who don't care about it or respect it in the least. It's just so sad to live in a place where the whole world comes to show off their most drunken and obnoxious behavior, like they would never do back at home, and then be told, as a resident, to accept that because this is the new "spirit of the East Village".

BabyDave said...

I would weigh in with something original, but I think Lisa and blueglass have it nailed, with Anonymous 12:29 hitting home, too. Thanks, folks.

Anonymous said...

I worry about the community by day, hoping the businesses affected by the fire come back quickly (ones I often frequent) and yet I still support the bars/restaurants at night. I live in the neighborhood, I eat in the neighborhood, and I drink in the neighborhood. Yes, Manhattan neighborhoods frequently change. That's part of life here. I think tolerance is a beautiful thing, but often something that is missing on blogs. It's upsetting to see all the hatred and generalizations by people that seem otherwise intelligent.

christopher said...

Saint Lisa: Geez. Get over yourself. You are tiresome. Yeah, I prefer the EV of the early-mid 90s too (that's as far back as I go, go ahead and slam me for being such a stupid idiot newbie) but the world stands still for no one. Work for change of the kind you prefer or to preserve what you love, that is admirable, but save the attitude. I know all about the history of the neighborhood, but unlike you I don't think that makes me a superior being. I also don't fancy myself as the only person who really knows what "the spirit of the EV" is. Since you are so proud of the Beats, I, for one, think drinking in the streets IS Beat! Freedom! Joy! Reveling in the face of all (among them: you!) who would keep you down! I am sure you do not agree.

"Oh, smell the people!' yelled Dean with his face out the window, sniffling. 'Ah, God! Life!'"(Jack Kerouac, On The Road).

You'd be the cranky old lady leaning out the window, yelling "Get off my stoop!!" that Dean rolls his eyes at.

"I detest limitations of any kind, and intend to establish my ass some place where I am a virgin on the police blotter."
-William Burroughs to Allen Ginsberg

(that is for the "...but they are *breaaaaaking* the *lawwwwww*" (I imagine a high-pitched nasally whine) comments.

Law-and-order quality of life zealots should be careful what literary movements they champion.

glamma said...

lisa, what a post. just want to add that the problem is not "partying." there is nothing i enjoy more actually. the problem is that the people we're discussing are one note, and this is the note: rich, white, superficial, ignorant, egotistical, not looking to learn anything, not looking for any new horizons, and not looking to add anything positive. THAT'S the problem. pretty much the opposite of the true, historic spirit of the EV, and certainly not punk rock at all...

Anonymous said...

I love how everyone thinks neighborhoods start with their arrival. Guess what Lisa? If I was Lenape, I'd complain that I hated your "shoe repair shops, the bakeries, the little jumble shops, the hardware stores" and I'd want my trees and deer and elk back!

The neighborhood isn't changing... It already has changed. You can't swim against the current. I grew up in the 1970's in a townhouse on Bank St. I always assumed I grew up in the western part of Greenwich Village. Do I like the fact that my home is now a shopping mall known as the "West Village?" (Looking in your direction Marc Jacobs)... No. But I don't get on my high horse and pontificate about the "good old days." It is what it is. I can either accept it (and stay) or leave...

blueglass said...

christopher - the early 90's you say you miss resulted from the hard work of local folks (me too). we fought hard to reclaim the streets from 24-hour-a-day drug supermarkets, to rid our blocks from junkies and squatters that moved into vacant buildings abandoned by landlords that did not see a future in this community. we fought to reclaim our park so that everybody (got that? everybody!) could enjoy it - together. alcohol is no less a drug of choice and the clueless drunks no better than the junkies they replaced. loud and obnoxious. this is not your personal playground.
interesting that you should quote burroughs "I detest limitations of any kind, and intend to establish my ass some place where I am a virgin on the police blotter."
you set for yourself a wonderful anti-social limit and criticize those that just want to live their lives in their neighborhood. you personify exactly the misfit that everyone wants out of here. take a good look at yourself. negative behavior does not make a person better any more than a diamond cell phone cover does.

Lisa said...

Christopher - You can certainly come to the East Village and have a good time, but since when do idiots have the right to flood into this neighborhood with the sole desire to get as drunk and obnoxious as possible, and subject those of us who live here to their stupidity? It's all very well and good to quote the Beats to me, but in the 1950s the streets of the East Village were teeming with blue collar workers and their families, not privileged white kids from the Midwest who see their time in NY as a chance to run riot without Mommy and Daddy around. I doubt VERY much that Neil Cassady, Kerouac, Ginsberg or Burroughs, who were comfortable around dockworkers, bricklayers and their ilk, would have had much sympathy with or for this recent crop of elites, they probably would have found them as spoiled and detestable as so many of us do. The Beats may have been wild, but they did quite a bit more than just party - do you really see any of these Sex and the City/Carrie clones and Justin Timberlake wannabe's writing the next "On the Road" or "Howl"? And please, don't pull crap on me - I don't consider myself a saint, don't think knowing the history of the neighborhood gives me the ability to walk on water, and never said I knew what constituted the spirit of the East Village. I was responding to Anonymous, who *is* the one who claimed to know what that spirit was, and to the fact that to him/her, this spirit seems to consisted of nothing but getting shitfaced. My point being, there has been and always will be a hell of a lot more to the neighborhood than that. Believe me, I've had plenty of great times in the EV/LES and other places, but didn't feel the need to have a negative impact on the residents while doing so. If being considerate and thoughtful makes me a "cranky old lady", fine. I see it as making me a good neighbor, and I doubt you'd find many people who would think that a problem.

Oh, here's a quote about and by Cassady: "Yet at rare times he was known to express regret over his wild life, especially as it affected his family. At one point (he) took Cox, then 19, aside and told him, "20 years of fast living – there's just not much left, and my kids are all screwed up. Don't do what I have done."

mimi said...

Sure, neighborhoods change and some changes can't be prevented. But no-one says the East Village should be preserved from change and become a museum. The point is that we all still have the capacity to shape this neighborhood to a certain extent. There are a lot of people here who haven't given up on that and who're trying to propose an alternative. if no-one ever swam against the current than every urban landscape would be just McDonald's, Dunkin Donuts and banks.

Lisa said...

Glamma - Thank you!

Blueglass - You are 100% correct. Love the diamond cell phone crack. Wonder which one of the Beats would have carried one of those?

Lenape Anonymous - Nowhere did I say I didn't want the neighborhood to change *at* *all*. I certainly don't miss the passed-out junkies in doorways, arms still tied off and needles still hanging out of their veins, or the stolen, stripped and burned cars littering the streets. But why should we cede an entire neighborhood to a horde of Hottentots bent on nothing more than mindless imbibing? And if the Lenape can demand their trees, elk and deer back, then I have just as much right to demand the return of Schlesinger's Hardware, Orchidia Pizza and Kiev.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who's ever traveled outside their neighborhood and can honestly say they've never (EVER!):

-Blocked the sidewalk, with or without realizing it

-Gotten a little (or a lot) tipsy

-Gotten a little rowdier than usual

-Used a louder-than-appropriate voice

-Been uncharacteristically childish or boisterous

-Been celebrating something

-Behaved a little out-of-character

-Been with friends they haven't seen a long time and got overly excited

-Accidentally drank more than they should have and suffered the consequences

-Acted somewhat self-absorbed

Can close their mouths right...about...NOW.

I'm a longtime East Villager and yes, certain people annoy me, and yes, I get frustrated from time to time, but you know what? Getting angry is not going to do anything at all. It hurts you more than it hurts them.

Do you think your dirty looks and passive aggressive mutterings are ruining their night? They're not. They're ruining YOURS.

I don't necessarily agree that such people embody the spirit of the East Village, but I do agree with the commenter's advice to get the fuck over yourselves.

You are living in the most wonderful place in the world. Be grateful that you are healthy and alive and able to enjoy it, even if it's not this perfect serene bio-bubble that exists I-don't-know-where.

You want real problems? You want people infringing on your quality of life? Try not having WATER. Try living among landmines. Gunfire. Warlords. We should all be so lucky to have a couple annoying drunks for a few hours on the weekends as our biggest problem.

christopher said...

Blueglass: Where do I champion "negative behavior"? I do not.

Where do I criticize those who "just want to live their lives"? I do not.

The fact is, I probably agree more than disagree with a lot of Lisa's feelings about the direction the neighborhood has taken. I just found her nasty, unbelievably self-righteous tone unacceptable and ugly. The name-calling, the vast generalizations, the sheer viciousness of it.

And yes, re: the "we fought hard to reclaim the streets" part of your post, I know. Believe me, how... well... I... know. We've all heard it a million, billion, zillion times. Thanks, I owe you, and so do all the loud drunken folks. But give it a rest already. What is the point of continually bringing that up? Do you feel it makes you more right than others re: anything that concerns the neighborhood? Sorry, it does not.

Take a good look at myself? OK, I will overlook the patronizing tone and indulge you. I am hardly a misfit, or an anarchist, as the Burroughs quote may have led you to believe (dislike of limitations doesn't necessarily lead to firebombing City Hall or lynchings, you know. It could just mean enjoying a drink in the street on your wedding day, as is legal in plenty of other countries that have managed to survive that "anti-social" permissiveness somehow. God knows how.) As a matter of fact, I am such a square that the reason St. Lisa's post bothered me so much is that I'm sure if she saw me on the street, she would think I am the "enemy." Because I do not fit her definition of "true-blue EV'er" or whatever. And that pisses me off, because I am a live-and-let-live person who does not deserve that. Like an earlier post said, her attitude flies in the face of the tolerant "spirit of the EV" that she so mourns the passing of.

So according to you, the EV doesn't like "misfits" like me, huh? Guess that makes it no more special than any other neighborhood in the country.

It's too bad that wasn't stated at the top of this thread, because it renders the entire discussion unnecessary!

Unknown said...

I'm with glamma -- It's not so much about *any* drinking, it's about this kind of drinking as a symptom of a total consumerist approach to a real community, as if the east village is here FOR people to drink and trash and leave behind.

And, to several of the other commenters -- "hatred" and "intolerance"? Please. It's not as if "upper middle class white douchebag" is some kind of underclass whose "rights" should be fought for here. Me calling someone an asshole when they do something assholish (and oh, they do, my living room windows are on Avenue A and oh yes, people do overhear the stupid shit you yell at 3AM) is not me being "intolerant" of them -- and if it is, I'm perfectly willing to be "intolerant" of stupidity. As for "harmless" -- I've actually had to call the cops on fistfights that break out on the street. Why were they fighting? Who knows, they're drunk assholes who came down here looking to destroy something.

Bottom line: *people live here.* Understand that you are in someone else's home. Come, give local businesses your money, have fun, but don't think that your bar tab entitles you to be a douche.

Anonymous said...

I would like bluegrass to quantify exactly how he "fought hard to reclaim the streets." Did he organize citizen patrols? Put in time as a police officer or firefighter? Volunteer with community groups? Organize a litter pickup? Confront drug dealers? Go around fighting crime with a cape on his back like a Marvel Comic character?

Or is he claiming credit as well as street cred simply by virtue of having lived there longer than others?

Fun Fact: You can make more of an impact living somewhere a month than you can living there 30 years. Presence is not the same as action, my friend.

Unknown said...

P.S. Full disclosure: I am a white 20something (not especially rich though) who has been living here for two years, so I wouldn't pretend to think that I somehow "embody the spirit of the EV" or whatever either. My point is just that if I am not somehow damned to dickish, entitled behavior by virtue of my youth & privilege, none of the rest of these guys should be allowed any excuses.

Lisa said...

Christopher - I bet you are right and that we do have more in common than not. And the reality is, I judge people not on their appearance, but on their actions. Do you wear dockers and Ralph Lauren shirts and have a military crew cut? No worries, doll, dress and look how you want. And I don't even consider the Moron Army (sorry, I call 'em like I see 'em) "the enemy". But I hardly think it's vicious and self-righteous to expect them to behave themselves a little better and to have some consideration for their surroundings. I guarantee they all consider themselves adults - let them act a little more like it. And BTW, having a drink in the street on one's wedding day, like they do in Europe, is totally harmless. But that bespeaks drinking with maturity and some wisdom, which is not what's on display in that photo - or in most places in the EV/LES.

christopher said...

Blueglass: where do I champion negative behavior? I do not.

Where do I "criticize those that just want to live their lives in their neighborhood"? I do not.

Re: the "we fought hard to reclaim the streets" part of your post: I know. Believe me. How... well... I... know. We've all heard it A million billion zillion times. I owe you for that, as do all the drunken folks. No sarcasm intended. But give it a rest already. What purpose does constantly bringing that up, unsolicited, serve? Does it make you more right when it comes to neighborhood issues? Ask yourself: why did I go into that? It was not relevant unless you feel it makes you more right, gives you power somehow. Otherwise, why offer up that colorful bit of bio?

Take a look at myself? OK, I will overlook that patronizing tone of that request and indulge you. I am hardly a misfit, or an anarchist, as the Burroughs quote may have led you to believe (distaste for limitations doesn't always lead to firebombing City Hall or lynchings you know -- sometimes it can just mean swigging a bottle of champagne in the street on your wedding night, as is legal in plenty of countries that have somehow managed to survive in spite of such "anti-social" and "negative" -- according to city laws, right? -- behavior).

I am sure I agree more than disagree with St. Lisa about the direction the neighborhood has taken. I just found the tone of her post unbelievably self-righteous and ugly. The name-calling, the assumptions, the vast generalizations; as an earlier post stated, it flies in the face of the "spirit of the EV" that she so mourns the passing of.

But back to my Blueglass-assigned self-examination -- I am such a square (or "normal," or ex- "frat-looking" guy, or whatever you want to call it) that one of the reasons her post bothered me so much is that I am sure if she saw me on the street she would assume I am the "enemy" because I do not appear to be a "true-blue EV'er" or whatever. Total high school mentality, really. And as a live-and-let-live person who doesn't deserve that, and who's lived here (in NYC) almost 20 years, it pisses me off.

But, I guess to you I am a misfit nonetheless, within the microcosm of some stuck-in-the-past version of the EV anyway. And I am not wanted. Congratulations, you've just made it clear that the EV is no different from any other neighborhood in the country.

Too bad that wasn't stated earlier in the thread, it would have rendered the entire conversation unnecessary.

Christy said...

"I'm a longtime East Villager and yes, certain people annoy me, and yes, I get frustrated from time to time, but you know what? Getting angry is not going to do anything at all. It hurts you more than it hurts them.

Do you think your dirty looks and passive aggressive mutterings are ruining their night? They're not. They're ruining YOURS. "

I agree, Anon. I live on the border between the EV and LES (the best of both drunken worlds! ha), and yeah, drunken idiots are annoying, but they're no reason to stay in. Make fun of them and move on to your own thing. If they're blocking the sidewalk, walk around them. It confuses me that there are so many people who live in this city that find so many things to be so angry about. Maybe they've lost perspective about how great it is here? I'm okay with sharing my sidewalks with drunken idiots a few nights a week, because there are so many wonderful things happening to balance it out.

FWIW, really rich people aren't partying in droves like people are saying in the LES/EV. The vast majority of the people I encounter on A on the weekends are varying degrees of middle-class. Not that their race or economic status is that important, it seems drunken idiots come in all races and economic status.

RyanAvenueA said...

Wow, I was going to suggest an EV reader meet-up but now I'm a little nervous to add alcohol to all this. I think the neighborhood has plenty of issues, just as it always has. Those fratty kids are in other neighborhoods too. But to be honest, I've been harassed more often by One Arm Larry. At the end of the day these annoyances contribute every bit as much to the character of the neighborhood, like them or not. If there's anything I could bring back from the past, it's a person's ability to be a dignified drunk. That is one thing lost on our generation.

christopher said...

St. Lisa: Wow. Just... wow.

OK, let's look at what you said.

"...since when do idiots have the right to flood into this neighborhood with the sole desire to get as drunk and obnoxious as possible..."

You are kidding right? They have the right. Should we issue "True EV'er" ID cards and limit entry to those in possession of one? Think before you type, for chrissakes.

"do you really see any of these Sex and the City/Carrie clones and Justin Timberlake wannabe's writing the next "On the Road" or "Howl"?"

Oh boy! In a bit of a cultural rut? Guess what? I don't know what they will create, but you are right, probably not stream-of-consciousness poetry. Because culture and art evolves, changes... Last century's painters and novelists are this century's photographers and filmmakers, and so on... Some of the most creative people I know are people you, I am sure, would judge to be incapable of any creative endeavor because of how they look. Or act, for that matter. You think young Ginsburg never annoyed the crap out of "upstanding citizens" such as yourself? You think junkie Burroughs never vomited on the sidewalk? You think anyone outside the cultural elite -- and certainly not the holy-of-holies blue-collar folks -- respected what they were doing? You would have been among the first to run the Beats out on a rail, whether they "felt comfortable" around dockworkers or not.

"...never said I knew what constituted the spirit of the East Village."

Are you sure about that?

"...know-nothings like you, who feel free to tell me what the EV really is, when you have no friggin' clue?"

Clear implication that you DO know what the EV really is.

"Believe me, I've had plenty of great times in the EV/LES"

Refer to post by anonymous 4:08 and get back to me.

"The Beats may have been wild, but they did quite a bit more than just party."

So... you know what everyone who is partying in the EV is doing when they are NOT partying in the EV. That's pretty neat.

Also, at 4:05 you rail about "mindless imbibing." I'm curious... what's the difference between "mindless imbibing" and the sort of imbibing you presumably were indulging in back when you were having "plenty of great times in the EV/LES"? Do you stick your pinky out when tipping back a pint? If you were drunk, it was the same. You are not special, you do not get a pass.

Again from 4:05: "And if the Lenape can demand their trees, elk and deer back, then I have just as much right to demand the return of Schlesinger's Hardware, Orchidia Pizza and Kiev."

Uhhhh... the whole point is that they can't, and you can't.

The Cassady quote doesn't have much to do with this discussion. He's talking about how fast living impacted his family. No one would argue that being a drunk is problematic when one is a father and husband. Try again?

Anonymous said...

Christopher, I think you make some good points.

When I first started reading this post, like most everyone else, I felt contempt for those pictured here: they seem to be the epitome (and probably are) of the annoying, thoughtless bands of asshole, group-think morons that roam through the EV on Friday and Saturday nights. Sure, that sucks. All of us who live here have been annoyed by these people. They monopolize everything from bars to the sidewalk to your eardrums. But then I started reading everyone's disgustingly entitled responses, and I gotta say, most of you aren't looking much better, patting each other on your backs for being inclusive and accepting while spewing vitriol.

I realize that it is ridiculous for me to chastise chastisement, but you should all look objectively at your own entitlement. I respect those who have been here a long time, those who have worked to clean up the area and built a community. That is just plain respectable, it is. But don’t kid yourselves, there is nothing inherently worthy or good in living in the same area for any amount of time, short or long. Many have done a great job at making this a desirable place; so great, in fact, that now it’s expensive and has too many social venues, and a bunch of rich kids that want to come in on the weekends and throw around their money. This is nobody’s fault, it’s just how neighborhoods change. And don’t kid yourselves, it’s how all neighborhoods change.

So yes, a lot of the outside attention on the EV is annoying, and it may not be inevitable as I would contend, but please, for the sake of people’s perception of the neighborhood (including some of us who live here quietly and respectfully), stop screaming about your street credentials and neighborhood IQ and making everyone else else the bad guy.

You’re losing the argument for your own side.

Unknown said...


Your comments do not matter. I will still continue to spend the equivalent of your months rent when I party however I'd like to with my friends.


Anonymous said...

All people are entitled to complain about the state of their neighborhood. To me its ridiculous, the lengths people will go to rationalize drunk & annoying behavior. Do what you please, enjoy, get drunk and carry on all you want, it is your right as an American I suppose... but stop trying to intellectualize this issue. Drunkenness is annoying and disruptive, and too much of it in one neighborhood is cause for concern, it's quite simple.

Anonymous said...

I have lived in the East Village for several years, and I have no problem with noise, drinking, etc. BUT I absolutely hate being out in the neighborhood on a weekend night. It's like an extension of a huge fucking frat party. There's always guys fighting with each other, girlfriends sobbing, yelling at their boyfriends - make-up WRECKED. It's just a joke. If you can't handle having a drink, or 50- THEN STOP DRINKING.

Lisa said...

OK Chris, I tried to make nice, but you chose to ignore that and slant my words to fit your conception of me. So since you think I'm nothing but a flaming asshole - sod off, buddy. There, happy now?


Laura Goggin Photography said...

I've been thinking about this issue as it's obviously touched a nerve. Aside from the obvious problems cited above, I think this photo is upsetting because it brings to life the selfish attitude that permeates our culture of late. The over-consuming, reckless-spending, live now and screw the consequences behavior that undermined our economy is personified in this picture. This behavior is not just confined to weekend binges in the EV - when you believe it's ok to go into a neighborhood and puke on doorsteps and piss in planters, what prevents you from carrying this general attitude towards the world on a daily basis? It's not my stoop, so I can throw my trash here; it's not my pension fund, so I'll spend the money now and they can worry about it later. I find it hard to believe that a person (or group of people) can behave like animals only two nights a week and be decent, courteous human beings the other five. What we see here on the street corner is a self-gratifying, irresponsible, spoiled and unempathetic picture of a larger social problem. Are these the people we can look forward to being doctors, judges, research scientists, teachers and parents? That's what I find frightening.

Kendra said...

30 years ago I helped squat an abandoned tenement; we lived without electricity and running water, took showers in open fire hydrants and gut-rehabbed a junkie-ridden building that otherwise would have been lost to fire or neglect.


you occupied a building illegally, kicked out those less fortunate (or as you call them "junkies") and didn't pay rent or taxes.

how is this helping the neighborhood again?

EV Grieve said...


Well said.

Lisa said...

Kendra - Ah, you know the truth, don't you, and without ever having actually met or even spoken to me. How wise you are!

Here's the reality, babe. In 1980 a bunch of us got taken in a real estate scam by a man named Milton Longe, who arranged with the city to buy five abandoned buildings that were in rem for back taxes; before their paperwork was done he listed them for rent with the promise they'd be totally rehabbed. He rented apartments repeatedly, scammed a bunch of young kids who thought he was legit out of rent and security, and disappeared. Some of us, before we realized we'd been had, actually moved in and began working on the buildings, because he'd promised us rent reductions if we worked on our own spaces. After he disappeared and we realized the ruse, we formed a tenant's association and started meeting with the city, asking to either be put onto their rent rolls (but then they would have had to pay to bring the building up to code and in those days they had no money, so they declined that request) or into their Tenant's Interim Lease program, which they had set up in the 1970s in an attempt to attract people willing to live in some of the thousands of abandoned buildings on their rent rolls, fix them up and buy them at some point if they fulfilled all the requirements. We were accepted into the program, and immediately began paying taxes and utilities (water, electric). We made many attempts to bring the junkies (which is exactly what they were, why would I have been so specific if it were otherwise?) into our group, asking them to come to tenant meetings so they could hear what we were trying to do, promising if they worked on the building like we all had to they would benefit themselves and better their living situation (if you would like to come and read the 30 year old archived minutes of our tenant meetings where we repeatedly discussed it, please let me know.) But they weren't interested, and at some point, since in those days there were hundreds of empty buildings in the area, they drifted off and found living spaces elsewhere. I used to see Russell, the main guy, for many years afterward, and we always stopped and had friendly conversations. We did not throw them out - again, they left of their own accord - nor did we stiff the city and "steal" the building; rather, we bought it in 1988 at the end of our TIL lease, and have run it ever since as a low-income co-op.

I don't know if you were around then, but if you were not, you won't remember the many fires set in abandoned buildings, either by landlords in an attempt to get insurance or through basic vandalism. Several buildings on my block alone were lost to repeated torchings, and there's no reason to think mine would not have suffered a similar fate had it not been being lived in and worked on. Your hostility is unwarranted, and based solely on your presumption that I was some yuppie gentrifier, instead of a young, naive kid who saw the genuine beauty of an abandoned 100 year old tenement and vowed to help save it and bring it back as a viable living space. Over the years my building has provided safe haven and shelter for senior citizens, families, people of different ethnic origins and economic backgrounds; had we not saved it, it might have been burned, torn down and/or bought by a developer for market rate housing. Would that have made you happier?

Lisa said...

Oh and one PS, Kendra - Every time someone in my building sells their apartment, 40% of the purchase price goes into the city coffers. So we continue to do our bit to help.

blueglass said...

this is amazing. such vitroil over the right to party all night - and to totally disregard the disruption that brings to the lives of those that live here, (excluding the students that enjoy the big party).
many long time residents moved here because it was the only neighborhood we could afford. we didn't enjoy the junkies, garbage and landlord abandonment. this was once an affordable slum.
and to you, annonymous, yes, we formed block associations, held block meetings, marched, wrote, did whatever we had to so that we could live here somewhat peacefully and raise families without being worried about the drug infused shootings on our blocks. this in a time prior to twitter and the internet. so lose your attitude.
we worked hard to live here. and as a result of our work landlords saw the worth of the neighborhood and tried to evict long term tenants because their rent was low, in order to rent to new-comers (like you?) that could afford to spend a month's rent on partying. what a method to calculate one's worth. bring on those diamond cell phone covers! the point of all of this is that this was once a neighborhood not a yuppie playground. we lived here, and worked here. we knew each other and tried to help each other and to respect our differences, not shove them in the face (or ears) of those that had different values.
when your wealth becomes the measure of your character my view is that your character is worthless.
i don't think i've ever written so much on any subject, but this one is close to my heart.

Anonymous said...

A lot of good points have already been made, but I’ll add a few things:

Many of these arguments are red herrings. Did I miss the post in which someone advocated for more vomiting and peeing in the streets? Why waste so many words on it? Most everyone here would agree that public puking is unwanted, but I’ve lived here long enough to know that it’s hardly pervasive, and the vast majority of people who go out here keep their dinner and their excrement in their proper places. The few times that it does happen are not a basis for hurling classless insults at the people in this photo or others who go out in the EV.

As was said above, your carping reveals an underlying bitterness and prejudice that’s disturbing. Even when someone pukes or pees in the streets, what basis do you have for blaming that on any particular class of people? Do you stop and ask the vomiter if he’s a long-time resident or a “tourist”? Do you inquire as to his salary to find out if he’s “rich”? Or do you just make these assumptions based on what you want to believe?

As for diversity, again, I don’t recall any of the commenters being opposed to this. Congratulations! You’ve skillfully rebutted arguments that no one has actually made.

Why even raise diversity here? I fail to see how it’s relevant to whether these particular individuals, or anyone else for that matter, are welcome in the neighborhood. Do you propose excluding them because they’re white? Or do you think that these people are somehow responsible for driving diversity out of the neighborhood (perhaps they engage in discriminatory puking and peeing)?

I simply don’t understand the hostility. There are legitimate concerns related to the neighborhood, such as development, gentrification, etc. But people drinking on street corners – even rich, white ones from the Midwest – should be far down on your list of problems. Taking out your anger at those people, particularly in a hateful, bitter way, is not constructive.

As for whether the people in this photo “embody the spirit of” the EV, I see two things here that weigh in their favor. The first is camaraderie. These are obviously friends enjoying each other’s company. The second is creativity. I don’t think this is a wedding. It sounds from the posts like someone (with a whistle) was leading these people from one bar to another on a schedule. It sounds like a pub crawl. It’s certainly unlike any wedding I’ve ever been to. I think these people got dressed up just to go on a pub crawl in the EV. And, if so, good for them – someone’s mixing things up a bit. In any event, whatever they’re doing is certainly much closer to the spirit of the EV than posting angry, resentful comments on a blog.

Finally, there’s some revisionist history taking place here, and I want to correct it. The problems you’re ranting against in this post have existed for decades, except they were much worse back in the day. For example, the 1988 Tompkins Square riots were a response to a curfew that was implemented precisely because of the non-stop partying in the park. According to Philip LaLumia, a community board member, “They hung out in the park all night with drinking and music galore. They called it music; we called it noise.” ( So for those who yearn for the golden days of yesteryear, you might reconsider. A guy drinking a beer on a street corner is tame compared to what used to happen here.

Also, Blueglass said, “[T]he point of all of this is that this was once a neighborhood not a yuppie playground.” But for those of you who imagine that you’re on the vanguard of some noble revolt against yuppie infiltration, you’re a few years too late. In 1988, the Tompkins Square protesters were already using “Die Yuppie Scum” as a battle cry.

Lisa said...

The reality is, no one's opinion has been changed by what they read, wrote or responded to here. Those who find nothing wrong in the streets being overrun with partying hipsters will never convince those of us who abhor them that they're a boon to the neighborhood, and vice versa. But I would like to thank Grieve, who let us vent and rant and spew, and who patiently put up what are probably some of the longest comments he's ever gotten, in what is probably one of the longest threads on this blog. Grieve, you provide a valuable service and outlet, and I think we are all grateful. Thank you.

EV Grieve said...

Thanks, Lisa... This is a fascinating thread... I've enjoyed all the comments. Even from the people who are wrong! (Kidding!) I appreciate everyone taking the time to be part of the discussion... I like the passion.

Unknown said...

Lisa- I think you're confusing/conflating hipsters and yuppies here into one all purpose "other" that doesn't belong in the neighborhood. The great thing about this neighborhood to me is that EVERYBODY belongs.

Unknown said...

prob shouldn't have capitalized the "everybody" in that last post- just reread it and it prob came across as too antagonistic. I don't mean to stir up anything, just note that we're all in this together.

blueglass said...

i wasn't going to write any more about this but goggla was right out there, on the top of the page, and oh so right.
thank you goggla.
well stated.

Jeremiah Moss said...

great thread for sure.

i think about this question a lot: What's the difference between having a bunch of drunk, rowdy yuppies and hipsters today vs. having a bunch of drunk, rowdy punks and hippies of yesterday?

i'm not sure of the answer, but i do think it has to do with numbers--and not the behaviors themselves. we all know punks were pissing and puking on the sidewalks in the 80s.

today, however, we have unbearable overcrowding in the EV, especially on the weekends. and more bars and restaurants than ever before.

if the occasional yuppie, hipster, or whoever was taking a crap on the sidewalk--as i used to see homeless men do in the EV--it would not be an issue.

but they are doing it today by the hundreds (maybe not the crapping, but pissing and puking and screaming, screaming, screaming their heads off), not just once in a while, but every weekend night, and many times on the weeknights.

and also, and this is harder to put one's finger on, but those punks and psychotics who used to hang around? they got out of the way on sidewalks. they made room. they had a weird kind of respect.

sorry, but it's true--the people who come to the EV today don't get that. they are tuned out. even the old schizophrenics were more aware of their surroundings than these people.

RyanAvenueA said...

While appreciating Goggla's point, I can't help but still see this as a picture of a guy drinking a beer. Is he an asshole? I don't know, maybe. I went to a black tie wedding and then went drinking by my apt, so maybe some of you thought I looked like an asshole too. But just for kicks, head over to Bob's site and compare those pictures to the one that kicked off this yackfest. (especially any of them under the shed at Ray's.) It's an interesting juxtaposition.

HippieChick said...

Lisa, you're brilliant and right on! No wonder the ignorant newbies don't understand what you're saying. I've lived here since 1968, and I've seen all the changes (good and bad) that you enumerate.

I too stay home on Friday and Saturday nights; who wants to see the drunk-infested sidewalks and listen to the braying of inconsiderate young jackasses who think it's cool to wander hooting up and down the streets while we're trying to sleep? Not I.

As a hippie back in the day, I can say that we mostly stayed indoors getting high. We didn't go out prowling the streets (mostly because we were so stoned we couldn't stand), and we knew how to behave in public, which these self-entitled, rude, ill-educated young louts don't.

I've actually used a water pistol rifle to drench some of these morons sitting on my stoop at 3 or 4 am yelling and playing music. Too bad the NYPD frowns on using a real one: THAT would send them back to where they live pretty quick...

Anonymous said...

I hate drunks as much as the next girl -- believe me, I live on one of the worst blocks of Avenue A for drunken, entitled jackassery -- but "too bad the NYPD frowns on using a real [gun]: THAT would send them back to where they live pretty quick" -- are you kidding me?! I'll assume you were just kidding because that is crazy talk. And you call yourself a hippie!

Fratty drunks ARE different than other drunks -- notice no one ever complains about the very popular Phoenix or Planet Rose -- and of course I often wish I could punch the douchey-screamy ones to get 'em to stop "WOOOO!"ing at 2 am. But after Taz of Forbidden City was shot last summer, the LAST thing anyone needs in the 'hood is violence of any kind. C'mon now.

~evilsugar25 said...

there's nothing more to add to the many well-stated thoughts and feelings here.

except maybe this: "woooooo!!!!" what is up with that?

i have never, ever, no matter how drunk, high or happy i was walking down the streets with my friends, felt the need to "WOOOOOOO!" at the top of my lungs, especially at 3am, outside people's windows. i just don't get it. it's so rude.


Jill said...

I spent my whole rant on this subject on another comment (epic, I've heard).

After reading the discussion here, with so many great points, I'm inspired to know how many people really do care about where they live. I'm so happy to see comments from new arrivals who do care to live in a neighborhood rather than a drunken frat party - thank you and WELCOME!

Neighborhoods change, it's true, of course they do. But what this photo reminds us is that it's not really the neighborhood that has changed, it's the attitude of this generation of young adults that has changed, and where we see it the most is on the streets at night.

Kids in their 20's really do have a different outlook on life and way of expressing themselves than we did at that age, say 20-30 years ago.

Someone here said it - we never went out that much, we stayed home getting high. The reason we did that was that we didn't have the money to go out so often. These kids (sorry to call them kids, I don't mean it as an insult, just a descriptor compared to me) seem to have so much money. It seems endless, and they are too young to have earned it so fast and so seemingly easily.

I know I feel a little jealous that they seem to be able to party nonstop in such a large way, all the time. The well doesn't seem to dry up.

We were never able to do that. The kids with all the money were far more rare, and they stayed near their homes on the UES or five towns Long Island, doing things like strangling their girlfriends in the park and then laughing about it on a VHS tape. We called them preppies. I never really knew one. They stayed in their ghetto.

Going out to bars was maybe a once a week thing, and even then we planned on how we were going to stretch it out by drinking at home first so we could more easily nurse that spendy cocktail. Other nights we stayed home and friends came over, or found ways to entertain ourselves like rum & Mcdonalds cokes in Central Park for an exotic vacation experience, poetry readings with $1 admission and $1 beers from the bodega and so on.

Of course we were loud and puked and had made out inappropriately and got kicked out of bars and wandered around. But it was so much more LIMITED. There weren't entire neighborhoods filled with us. We didn't jam the streets with taxis (are you kidding, I don't think I took a taxi without my parents until I was 30) and there weren't enough of us to block sidewalks continually. Bouncers were for keeping out the riff raff and ugly people, not making sure the sidewalk was quiet.

So here we are, saying our kids have it all wrong, they are spoiled rotten and selfish and don't appreciate all we've done for them. Our parents thought the same thing accusing us of doing too many drugs, having too much sex, not appreciating all they did for us.

To this day my mother still tells me to comb my hair and wonders why I don't move into a real apartment, you know, the kind with light switches and closets.

Anonymous said...

It's funny that this was posted. I have lived in the EV for 3 years, and been a patron for longer.....

And I was just thinking to myself last night...... gosh is it just me or has the EV suddenly turned into the meat packing district? I mean it seems like there was a strong change.

I feel like this past year with the changes on the bowery among other has turned into a doucebag playground. Downtown in general has been destroyed over the past couple years. I mean I really think the new Limelight Mall says it all.

Not to be a hater. I love my dive bars, and I love to party with the best of 'em but a lot of these people are just plain boring and obnoxious.

~evilsugar25 said...

Summer of 2010 in the East Village... get ready for the DOUCHEPOCALYPSE