gentrification, New York, real estate

Rivington Street

What happened to Rivington Street and how long have I been gone that this street where I cross Delancey has changed so fast from neighborhood mom and pop stores to the chi shi cafe, bar and lounge scene that it now appears to be. And the articles on gentrification in New York must be endless by now, to where the yuppies, or is it young urban professionals, can’t even afford the rent. And does this street reflect the state of New York and the rest of the world when it comes to gentrification and genocide with its population and change of real estate scenery. And I want to say some sort of prayer in memory of for this street in the Lower East Side of that City of New York. As this street looks like a wrecking ball has went through it within the past day or seemingly a week. And every decade in New York seems to have its era when it comes to real estate. And that apartment from 1960 that was $160.00 is now $1,600.00. And the 99. cents stores are now $9.99 cents stores. And there are now skyscrapers where nothing has stood before. And places where farmland once stood, are now concrete jungles. It is no longer the year 1800 anymore. And there seems to be what seems like boat loads of people to accompany this genocide change of scenery in the real estate development scene. And what is genocide anyway? And the only thing constant is change. And is the world overpopulated with that j bell curve thing, to where there are now 6.66 billion people on planet earth and the population is expected to double in the next twenty years or something like that, resulting in urban sprawl and over development. And what is urban sprawl anyway? Is that a whole another blog entry. And so I thought to post this poem:

Long Live the Lower East Side
Long Live The Revolution of the Pseudo Anarchist Hippy Bohemian Squatter Revolutionary Lower East Side In Alphabet City where God Bless America becomes God F.. America and red white and blue becomes red and black and where the capitalist capitalize off the capitalism of the capital.
With your gentrified glorified tenements and artists coffee lounge lounges riddled with the blood of the long lost past that had the horses running through it, the pigs running round it, and the helicopters hoovering over it. The bandshell that stood as a symbol of freedom for all long torn down, lost and forgotten. NO POLICE STATE, NO HOUSING NO PEACE, F.. THE CURFEW, FREE THE LAND, free that park, that park everywhere. Freedom and utopia a thing of the past.
So now in Alphabet City I walk down your streets conformed to the conformity of the conformed and the conformist. Class War Class War on the poor run into the river and running to the river.
Flight of fight, sink or swim. Can you swim or will you die. Your skeletons of the war torn survivors walking the streets, your ghosts and their spirits scattered abroad and the ashes of your people who have come and gone in the struggle, of the struggle, from the struggle and the ashes of your people some dead some alive and some who have survived to shed their blood and skin and to tell the tale and conform to this thing called conformity.
Yeah, first it was them and then it was me. Whose gonna be left when big brother comes. Naked I have come from my mothers womb and naked shall I return thither to the dust where I come from.
Blessed be the name of the Lord.
Long Live the Lower East Side.

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gentrification, squatter

Squatter Films

And there it was taped up on the light pole as I passed by on Avenue C. It is a sign of the past, a sign of resistance that you never see in today’s gentrified, genocided East Village. It read “Squatter Films. Need a Home, Take one!”. It is an ode to the days gone by when these signs were everywhere and squatters were everywhere. There is no squatter scene in this neighborhood anymore. It has been bought out and sold out. This is a sign for everything now lost and forgotten that the Lower East Side neighborhood once stood for. A sign that the neighborhood once fought against. Gentrification and impending Gentrification. It is an ode to the park that once had the horses running through it, the cows running round it, and the helicopters hoovering over it. It is an ode to the bandshell that stood as a symbol of freedom for all long torn down, lost and forgotten. Free that park, that park everywhere. Freedom and utopia a thing of the past. It is a sign that once meant the squatters are your neighbors who will not surrender their lands or homes and who will not disappear or cease to exist. And so this flyer goes on to read: As the dizzying process of rampant speculation and gentrification goes on, we travel back to the days of resistance and a culture of life and struggle here on the Lower East Side. Join us for some home movies about people who needed a home and took one! Squatting is about taking back life, taking back the land in the interests of justice, equality, peace, and love between neighbors, neighbors who share a common need for a home, a human right to a home, made real in the act of seizing one! Join us for a night of cinema which explores Lower East Side history, a legacy of resistance, through direct action, and a celebration of cultural liberation. Various guest speakers will be present. Sliding scale donation at the door. Squatters rights are human rights! Gentrification is Genocide. -Not Dead Yet-
And what does this have to do with a No Police State?

Saint Mark’s Church
2nd Avenue @ 10th Street
Saturday Night, August 18

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gardens, gentrification

The Roving Garden Party

Here is an interesting event I received in an email today. I thought I’d pass the message along for anyone who happens to be in the neighborhood.

Roving Garden Party!
Saturday, June 16th, 2007, 2:00pm, Center of Tompkins Square Park

Join us to loudly celebrate the gardens saved, lost and endangered in the Lower East Side.
On our second annual Roving Garden Party, follow the Rude Mechanical Orchestra, Church of Stop Shopping Gospel Choir, and Roving Bicycle-Gardens on a parade to visit and celebrate the beautiful gardens that grow in the Lower East Side.
Come with yourself, your friends, family, kids dogs or bike dressed in a garden-themed costume. Party kicks off at 2pm in Tompkins Square Park and continues to various gardens, lost, saved and endangered. We will end at a picnic-party at the Children’s Magical Garden de Carmen Rubio, at the corner of Norfolk and Stanton. More details and participants to be announced. Bring plants, seeds and food to share!
To help plan our second annual Roving Garden Party check back for planning meetings and prop-making workshops TBA or email the Time’s Up! garden committee.
Times Up!

Have a great day.

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Death of a Neighborhood

Another neighborhood dies. Gentrification Genocide, a whole population of people have been wiped out. This is one of those topics I can go on and on rambling endlessly about. What does it mean when the local newspapers start writing about gentrification on a daily basis? I remember in the Lower East Side, now called the East Village in the late 80’s early 90’s that there were squatters living in the abandoned buildings in the neighborhood and there were riots at Tompkins Square park for housing rights, the cry was: Stop warehousing apartments, rehabilitate the abandoned buildings and create housing, and the slogans “Die Yuppie Scum” to ward off the impending gentrification and “No Housing, No Peace!” were to be found on t-shirts and sidewalks everywhere. And now today the cries are: save the gardens, save the dirt, save the sidewalk. Now what does it mean that those very same people the Yuppies, (Young Urban Professionals) are quadrupled up in apartments in order to survive and appealing for help now because they can no longer afford to live in the neighborhoods themselves? New York has now become Disneyfied, one big New York University campus playground and one big chain store strip mall. Now you are either rich or poor and there’s no middle class in between anymore in New York. Did the closing of CBGB’s and other mom and pop stores and businesses before and after it mark the end of it all? I do not mind the streets that used to be infested with dealers and hustlers here in the East Village but the gardens, squats and the cafe and club culture has gotten destroyed with it. The city is for sale and the neighborhoods are changing. I went out to eat in the overwhelmingly populated shi shi East Village the other day and all the conversations at the surrounding tables consisted of “I just purchased my house this and I just signed the contract on my apartment that.” I went to a party later that evening in the West Village on some beautiful rooftop garden and the conversation with guests were much the same, “So where do you live and how much rent do you pay?” Walking down the street past Urban Outfitters department store I see connotations of real estate reflected in fashion, worn, faded, torn jeans and hippy fashions that were once scorned upon now selling for outrageous prices. This being very similar to those wooden porch houses of the poor in the South that were once frowned upon by the wealthy as a slum and the lofts of Soho that were once warehouses and offices that are now a stylish trend promoted by New Urbanists and urban planners as culture preserving measures. And does New York’s housing crisis reflect the rest of the world? Is Urban Warfare/Urban Renewal/Urban Removal/Urban Sprawl and the re invigoration of the inner cities,suburbs and rural areas everywhere in the world now. In there no cheap place to live anywhere anymore? Is the quality of life campaign killing off affordable housing everywhere? Is New York reflecting the changing demographics of America and the population overgrowth and where to build housing when there is nowhere else left to build? In New York in the 60’s I hear the rents were so cheap everyone could afford to move once a month, then in the 70’s landlords torched their buildings and removed people by force, then in the 80’s all the buildings were abandoned, and the 90’s and now, over development. New York, New York, big city of dreams, what’s ahead for the next decade? Long Live the Lower East Side. And what does this have to do with a No Police State? Have a great day.

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