Monday, June 3, 2024

40 years gone! Revisiting a classic New York magazine cover story from 1984

If you had a copy of New York magazine this week in 1984, you likely read Craig Unger's cover story, "The Lower East Side: There Goes the Neighborhood." 

Generations have said, "There goes the neighborhood," or various variations, like "The East Village is dead," and even more specifically, as Ada Calhoun has documented, "St. Marks is dead."

I first mentioned this piece on June 6, 2008, roughly seven months into EVG's existence. (It was the first EVG post that attracted much attention outside some amazing die-hards.) 

The copy below is from the 2008 EVG post. You can read the full article via Curbed here.


The piece begins in the early 1980s with the rotting hulk of the Christodora House on Avenue B at Ninth Street and the young man eager to own it, Harry Skydell. 

Skydell's enthusiasm was indeed mysterious. The sixteen-story building he wanted to buy, on Avenue B facing Tompkins Square Park, was surrounded by burned-out buildings that crawled with pushers and junkies. It was boarded up, ripped out, and flooded...Early in the seventies, the city had put up the Christodora up for auction and nobody bid. 

The building was eventually sold in 1975 for $62,500. (Last I saw, two-bedroom units there—roughly 1,100 square feet—averaged $1.6 million or so.) 

The article discusses the influx of chain stores, art galleries and "chic cafes."

"And real-estate values are exploding" as a result. Said one longtime resident on the changes: "I've lived in my rent-controlled apartment for years and pay $115 a month. I live on the Lower East Side. The young kids who just moved in upstairs and pay $700 a month for the same space — they live in the East Village."

Here are a few images/pages from the cover story... the photo below is on 10th Street, steps west of Avenue B... 


Scuba Diva said...

I like the last pullquote: "Local people will be forced out…they'll be pushed east to the river and given life preservers."

What a visionary; where is he now?

XTC said...

So the EV went from Dante's 7th circle of Hell to an almost civilized, bougie community just outside of it.

EVTS said...

Kinda sad to see Carlo Manfredi at Hairpower. Never forgotten.

Call Me said...

Carlo was a unique EV character. I got the best haircuts from the mid 80's to his sudden passing circa 2004.