The Lower East Side: It really sucks
I don't know if you locals noticed that it was Biblically raining for the past 40 days and 40 nights or so? But on one such day last week, my friend Jess was heading to her freelance gig in Midtown when she got into one of those awkward little "oops, how do we get by each other, our umbrellas are in everyone's way" crowded sidewalk dances. The stranger this happened with proceeded a few steps away from her, then turned around and quite deliberately kicked her in the shin, which was already bruised from a fall on the subway steps. Everybody else continued about their business. Jess describes herself as looking either like a little girl (I agree) or a cat lady (not as obvious), so this lunatic kicked someone who looks like she's 12.
Something similar is going on in a cooler part of town: I'm talkin' downtown. Corporations, which as Jess mentioned act like psychotic people, as demonstrated in the film The Corporation, are kicking the little guy. I know: shocking, right?
First, in addition to all the other recent rock venue closings (CBGB, Sin-e, the Continental, et al), we're now looking at the closing of the avant/experimental music venue Tonic, thanks to ultra-jacked up rents they can't handle anymore. (But you know who can handle those rents? More high-rise apartments for rich jerks.) An outraged coalition has formed to fight this, and on Saturday, they staged a protest.
As Rebecca Moore wrote in a letter on the group's site, "This is not culture formed by 'popular opinion' or by true market value: This is about developers running everything and everyone that is not wealthy out of this town."
Mmmmm hmmm! Preach on, sister!
In related news, there was also a recent benefit for the 4th St. Coop which will surely be crushed by the newest chapter of the Whole Foods monolith nearby. (Is Whole Foods owned by Wal-Mart yet, by the way?)
I've been kicking around the Lower East Side area fairly regularly for a decade or so, but it's only in the past year that its once low-slung skyline has started to get unrecognizable with glimmering high rises and boutique hotels.
So it goes.