Wednesday, May 9, 2007

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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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hate or love Gentrification?

come learn more and discuss gentrification at:

http://www.gentrify.us

Support Ron Paul said...

Speaking of a police state, I think we may have a chance to prevent it

http://supportronpaul.blogspot.com/