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I remember this night so well. I was standing against thepark fence at 7th & A, watching in amazementat the seeming ease at which the metal gate of a health & beauty store in what is now either thenew Odessa or Luster was ripped open. I learned that night that best riot dispersal tool is a sudden and torrential rain storm. That was definately the end of a certain chapter of the east village/alphabetcity history. a week later the park would be closedand those of us living on the park endureda summer of martial law.
Those were ugly times. Seems like a lifetime ago.
I moved to NYC that summer - my first apartment was 99 Avenue B between 6/7. When I first came to see it the park was still occupied and open. When I moved in a few weeks later, it was closed and empty. Everyone wanted to tell me about the riot and subsequent evacuation. More than a few people resented our building as a signifier of the encroacing gentrification. It was a hard to process all of this and be new to the city. Even now when I walk by I have feelings more akin to a dissociative episode than nostalgia. If I'm really honest, I was scared.
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