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I've also been walking a lot, and suddenly so many little buildings that I've walked past a thousand times leap out at me looking very much threatened, over on 6th Avenue and everywhere else too. The old ones, even the really run down buildings, always have such personality and they were all very well-built. It's as if at a certain point they didn't know how to build anything truly ugly, and now the opposite seems true. Then there are the things that were never meant to be beautiful or ugly, but just utilitarian, like the place on 9th Avenue and 29th Street where taxis can have their tires fixed, where one tree is growing in the yard with the piles of tires and hand-painted signs, and across the street a little deli called the Terminal Deli is full of old geezers and there are two mounted deer heads on the wall like in Montana. It's such an honest place, no bullshit, regular old coffee and a nice counterman with a pastrami accent. I can hardly believe it's still there now, because those kind of places are going too, I know because I used to go to my local community board meetings which I stopped going to because my health was suffering from sitting there listening. That's where I heard really creepy, creepy, arrogant and shifty city officials (younger than me at this point) talking about getting rid of all those unattractive auto shops and ugly little nothing businesses to beautify that part of "West Chelsea." One actually said they would get rid of them so it wouldn't be so difficult to walk over to the Chelsea Piers. I personally have never had any difficulty getting over to the river because of any of the car repair joints. Over on West 25th Street near 11th, there is a collection of really beautiful old industrial buildings with a couple of nice old brick smokestacks, and in the middle of it, a big dozed out square with a sign bragging about the huge tall completely tasteless, Hongcouver style highrise condo building that will be opening in the Spring, and they're calling it an Arts Community because there will be gallery space in it.

Last month I saw Vancouver after not seeing it for about 20 years and it was gone. What used to be a nice, kind of funky interesting city is now covered in hundreds and hundreds of indentical, ugly, tall glass buildings. That seems to be what people want New York to become and there isn't anything that can be done to stop it it seems. At this point there seems to be no shame attached to the most gross displays of greed and disgregard for laws or culture or anything so it would not surprise me if they try to untie whatever knot keeps Central Park public and cover that with ugly buildings too.
Funny ... years ago an ex-boyfriend of mine and I used to walk about the dilapidated East Village and speculate that if only the city would fix up all the burned out buildings and build on the vacant lots, then NYC would never have a housing crisis again. It was 1992 and we lived on 7th between B & C when it was still crack dealer row and there were more abandoned tenaments than you could count. Now that every square inch of the nabe IS being developed, the housing problem still persists .... only now it's about affordability rather than lack of space.

But despite it all, I still love this town. I love the energy and the drive. Two weeks ago I saw Robert Wilson's latest production at Lincoln Center, something that was only going to run for a limited engagement right here in the Big Apple and nowhere else. It was one of the most devastatingly gorgeous specatacles I've ever seen in my life, and only something this metropolis could deliver to my lap. Tacky condos or no, I'm still addicted. For better or for worse.
I'll hang on until they squeeze me out to be sure. There are indeed lots of good things yet. Just being able to run up to the Met anytime I feel like it, for example. As for 7th between B and C, I once lived on that very block in 1987. What I remember well is that now infamous laundromat where the drug dealers sat. I used to do laundry in it. My windows looked south and out my window I could look down on a big shanty town in a lot on 6th Street and there was always a lot going on down there, and on one of the rooftops nearby, a little man had a whole farm going with chickens and a goat. And just in case one didn't remember what century it was, there were the twin towers sticking up as a reminder.

I was thinking about all the change that happens in big sweeps, and how much some people must have suffered as the little old farms disappeared downtown. On Greenwich Street there are two very very old farmhouses. I think they are somehow protected, let's hope so. What they must have seen out those old melted windows.
Hey, the Fulton Fish market is going to Hunts Point so who knows where the flower people on 28th will end up. As for the article S'tan posted about the culture and arts sector of NYC, it is still something that is only looked at on the macro scale by Puff Puff Bloomberg and city government. They will give all sorts of financial and code considerations to things like the Met and the Guggy and Lincoln Center but are totally blind as to where the artists come from who end up having their work presented at those institutions -they overlook the hundreds of small community centers, private dance companies and collective spaces that are the real dwindling engine of culture here. Look what Rudiani did to Charas/El Bohio, which once was the only anchor saving a whole neighborhood around E.9th Street. The city commissioned a study a few years back that found culture was second only to Wall Street in generating revenue in NYC. Culture generates over 11 billion a year for this town. On a national scale compare what the federal government does for culture to what the UK does. The UK spends about 15 dollars per person on art and culture. In the US that figure is actually, would you believe, 15 CENTS per person. The UK, three years ago, had a budget of over 600 million dollars to spend on arts and culture. During that time the US spent 115 million. In the UK there was a category of grants to artists called experimentation and risk that had over 2 million dollars to give away. In the US then and now there exists zilch for any grants to individual artists at all. So as much as local and national government always bat their mouths about all the economic importance of culture to the NYC area that culture is treated much like a whore by them. What government initiatives are currently in practice to promote the well being and viability of a culture sector that would provide incentives and breaks for individual artists or even collectives to want to live and work in NYC? There are no such initiatives.

Culture is people creating. Culture is not money changing hands for event tickets, credit card receipts for paintings in galleries, or fat museum director salaries. The change needed is one of priorities. The benefit isn't sales tax revenues or risiduals from tourists to hotels and restaurants, cabs and souvenier shops. The benefit is a more healthy society.

Old NYC used to be a town densely populated by glorious creative freaks. Now those creative people are like S'tan's whipshack. Due to be demolished on a moment's notice. The day may be comming when the wealthy know-nothings paying $4,000 for a 300 square foot luxury dog kennel will all be staring at themselves in the clubs and galleries, not quite figuring out why their pet artists are no where to be seen. There won't be any styles, fashion tips, buzzwords, or cultural trends to steal here anymore. Vogue will be minning St. Louis. That is the way things seem to be going. And the society will be the creator of its own dessicated culture.

If social and economic conditions crush certain foundational elements of culture out of NYC it will reflect the love/hate, deity/whore outlook on creative people this society has been fighting itself over since it began.
Last edited by seven
You have stated it perfectly seven. It is wonderful yes that these big institutions exist, the Met, the Museums, etc. But being a consumer of art and high end artistic product is NOT the same issue as BEING an artist who has to LIVE in a place without being a slave.

Who will be working for these great institutions, creating product for the future? Who will have the time, energy, leisure and freedom to WORK towards that level of artistic relevance and acceptance? I don't care HOW many trust funds you have, you have to be bloodie HUNGRY to work like that. And NYC is starving the artists.

You don't wake up one morning as an accomplished painter and have a 57th Street gallery. You have to live, sweat it, work in a specific place, and go to the parties and meet the people and engage with your peers. So where are they now.

Vogue magazine can indeeed go mine St. Louis or Santa Fe or anywhere but Manhattan and not Vancouver either it seems. NEW WORLD ORDER! We're all clones in a box.

I rented one of my rooms here to Jessica and Modera who had posted about the space. I just can't take the thought of poor artists dying on the vine. Maybe I am simply extending the torture.

Today's wonderful discovery: there's the new "Rule of Thumb" for realtors. Multiply a rent by 45, and that's how much you should be making to get your new Manhattan apartment. In other words, if I want an apartment in NYC for $2,000., multiply that by 45, and I should show an income of $90K. If I can't, I will be asked for a "guarantor." Now if you somehow find an apartment for $1,200. you still would have to show an income of $47,000. I mean where are these people getting off.

So the big cities are driving the artists out? We can go somewhere else.

Put the word out! Stay away from the big cities, stay in your small hometown and create your culture there, unimpeded by real estate gouging and soulless jobs you must do to pay the rents in this town. May your only impediment be writer's block from too much quiet, or having to drive into town to buy more paint.

Of course if your hometown is NYC... and it pretty much IS my home town! you just have to get used to saying good-bye. It's not going to get better. The real estate bubble is not going to burst.

Well anyhow I'm going to go look at that cool building on 28th Street on Monday. I'll try until the last minute. Que sera sera.
Last edited by S'tan
The latest permutation of this ever-fascinating topic -

On the corner of Tropicana Avenue and Paradise Road, on a vacant patch of desert near the airport, will rise East Village, a retail-office-entertainment complex inspired by Manhattan's strollable streets. The $250 million project is tentatively scheduled to open in 2007.

Playing fast and loose with geographical borders, the development will contain a scale model of the Washington Square arch, a meatpacking district and a diamond district, which, as New Yorkers know, is a good 30 blocks north of the East Village. "It's not an exact replica," Mr. Advent explained, adding that the complex was more an homage to great neighborhoods (which explains the part of the development based on Pike Place Market in Seattle). The name, he said, stems from the location, which is one mile east of the Las Vegas strip, and from the fact that "it really is like a little village."

Voila! East Village as a Vegas theme shopping mall - tragique!
Last edited by Chi Chi
HOORAY! Now every single person on these boards should email the developer and apply for a job doing nothing but being who we are, just hanging out on the 'streets' of the 'East Village' indulging our penchant for outsiderness, extravagant behavior and being able to slip through the cracks (read in to that whatever you like). They are going to need some authentic local color for LasEV.
I hope they leave loads of garbage in the streets like my block and have rats!

BTW that whole noise problem in the press recently where Sutra on First got 'hit' the most just proved that the squeaky wheel gets the oil... and that 311 really does work....not that I agree about just being a cunt of a neighbour and causing trouble.... but when there is loads of garbage etc etc on my block... especially since most of the time its my scumbag landlords issue...and he does nowt about it I am starting to call and call and call... it seems that each time he doesn't clean up they will get a fine... so bravo 311... it does work if u have the energy to call and use it!
Last edited by Anna Nicole
I called 311 almost daily for a month and then off and on again when the particular problem appeared again.....excessive noise from a building construction site directly across the street from me, which has been ongoing for over four years now! Which tells you how bad the contractor is, a seven storey building taking four years to put up?! I even overheard a city building code inspector the other week on the street telling the contractor, "You know there are no currently manufactured windows that will fit those window holes you've made." I had to choke back the laughs. But as for 311, it took them a few weeks but they banished a gigantic fork lift that used to send my hole building into shivers at about 6:45AM each morning. Totally, obviously, a blatant violation of noise standards, not to mention construction sites are alowed to make noise but not over 40 decibels and not before 7:00AM. The not nice thing though is that the city will let this kind of thing go on unless you complain and complain and complain about it. I found one thing that helped though. The first time the contractor was violating the noise statute was when they had a generator as big as a bus in the foundation to pump out standing rain water, the generator was so loud even the workers would stand half way down the block to avoid the deafening sound. I confronted the site manager in the muddy foundation at about 7:30AM and told him if he didn't take that generator out I would get everyone on the whole block to call the city and get him fined. He scoffed at that. So I printed up big fliers in spanish and english with the 311 number and instructions on just how to lodge a complaint about the generator. I posted the fliers around the whole block of 3rd and 2nd Streets and for good effect stuck one on the front door of the contractor's office which happened to be on the corner. The generator was not turned on the next day and the following day it was gone, never to appear again. Make no mistake, contractors and the like will totally take advantage of you and everyone else unless you stick it in their face.
Last edited by seven
East Village as a theme park in Las Vegas, well that says it all. Why doesn't Hilly go there? If he doesn't, some actor playing him will anyhow!

From the NY Times today: Mirroring my struggle all summer... you think you have a decently large enough limit on rent, and the real estate mavens just laugh at you. THE REAL TERRORISTS IN NEW YORK CITY ARE THE REAL ESTATE AGENTS!!!!

I like how she breaks down the types ---

The New York Times
August 21, 2005
Seeking the Holy Grail

MY low point came the day I stood on Charles Street berating a real estate agent I had just met two minutes before. "This is not a town house!" I snarled, looking up at a six-story yellow brick apartment building. "Why did you call this a town house?"

The agent, a sweet-faced young blonde in large sunglasses, gamely took my abuse in front of two colleagues. Her defense was weak. "I didn't lie," she said. "I said it was on a town house block."

"No, you said it was a town house," I practically screamed. "I came all the way down here on my lunch hour to look at a town house floor-through. This is a tenement!"

I was insane. I knew it. But not because my face was beet red and my eyes were bulging - or because I kept saying the words "town house" - but because when the agent asked me if this meant I didn't want to go inside and see the apartment, I said: "No. Of course I'll look at it."

Desperation. I had sunk so low that I was willing to trust anyone who claimed to have the perfect property. I was halfway through a five-week hunt for the holy grail of West Village apartments: a one-bedroom in a town house with a separate kitchen, west of Seventh Avenue between 10th and 13th Streets, for $2,600 or less. (Yeah, my friends rolled their eyes, too, and tended to say I had better start acquainting myself with Brooklyn.)


For several weeks, I had tried the no-broker route, sending out mass e-mail messages and calling all my neighborhood contacts.

But this is New York. Landlords don't go begging for renters. They get a broker to do it for them, then let the renter pay for the privilege - anywhere from one month's rent to 15 percent of a year. Or they raise the rent on a "no fee" apartment to make up for what they paid the broker. The reality is that apartments in Manhattan rarely move without the aid of a professional, and even when a landlord lists a place "by owner," good luck finding the ad before a broker co-opts it.


After two weeks with no success, I succumbed to the siren song of the broker. And let me tell you, I dealt with a lot of them. Dozens, in fact. Some I spoke to only on the phone. Some I met in person. Many were not actually brokers, but mere agents. (Both are licensed, but brokers have logged more hours and have taken a second licensing exam while agents must work under the supervision of a broker.)

Soon it became clear. Brokers and agents are all alike, really. Or can at least be neatly compartmentalized into personality types. So if you're getting ready to search for your perfect apartment, here's a cheat sheet to help you deal with New York's real estate rental professionals - from the good, to the bad, to the downright nasty.

The Bully

Most rental listings don't go on the market until a month before they're available, which means renters can't seriously begin searching until then. So a lot of agents and brokers capitalize on the panic that comes from that 30-day countdown to homelessness. They hit on your worst fears by sneering, "You'll never find anything in that price range" or "Apartments like that just don't come on the market that often."

Bullies are actually easy to spot because they answer questions with questions. "What exactly are you looking for?" they say when you ask about a listing. Gee, I think, I'm looking for something kind of like this ad I called you about. "When do you have to move?" they ask. Oh, I don't know, I'm in no rush.

I encountered a Bully when I answered an ad for a "$2,690/2br - HOT, HOT, HOT WEST VILLAGE STEAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" (Caps lock and exclamation points are very important to the Bully.) "Have you been looking only at no-fee apartments?" he scolded. "That's why you're having a bad experience. No fee apartments are awful."

"But, um, this apartment is no fee," I said.

"That one's rented," he said. "I have a better one on 10th Street. It has a fee."

Ah, the classic bait and switch. Call about one property, and the Bully will tell you either it doesn't fit your criteria or it has already been rented. Then you'll hear about another, better, place, which just happens to require a fee.

Take it from me: the moment a broker answers your question with another question, just hang up. If he's not focused on the ad he listed, he probably doesn't really have that property.

The Confidante

There are times, I have to admit, when an agent's rap was so good that I shut off my scam detector. That's what had happened with the woman on Charles Street. We had talked on the phone and she had listened. Listened - and told me I shouldn't look at the apartment I'd called her about because it wasn't right for someone of my maturity and sophistication. Instead she had the perfect place, on one of my favorite blocks. Yeah, girlfriend!

Then while we waited to meet up with the listing broker, we exchanged gripes about clueless agents. "I got into this business," she said, "because I was dealing with so many brokers who didn't know what they were talking about." My new best friend!

The Confidante uses empathy to gain trust. "Oh, you're going through a breakup? How horrible! You've only dealt with sneaky, stupid brokers? I hear you!" This woman was good, but she made one big mistake: she lied. Turns out she couldn't tell a town house from a doghouse.

In the end, the apartment was actually decent. But it wasn't good enough to justify the fee, which couldn't be negotiated down from 15 percent because it was a "co-broke," a deal shared between a listing broker and an agent who brings in a client. And I wasn't about to lay out that kind of money for a girlfriend who had betrayed me.

The Tourist

A Tourist is an agent who's just getting his or her feet wet in a neighborhood and dabbles in its geography, architecture, history and culture. But he hasn't quite learned his way around, which can be frustrating for a local like me. More than one broker I worked with didn't even know how to get to the addresses they were showing me.

[I DEALT with one "agent" who didn't know what "MIDTOWN" meant. She thought West 28th Street was the West VIllage.]

Matthew Mediatore from K&O Realty was a Tourist when I met him. Our first encounter ended without my seeing the property because Matthew had gotten the cross streets wrong and we'd missed the appointment. The next time I saw him, he tried to impress me about a place - which was, mind you, three blocks from where I lived - by telling me "Gwyneth Paltrow lives right over there." Yes, I know. And Liv Tyler lives there, and Sarah Jessica Parker lives there, and Hilary Swank is just up the street. Anything else you want to tell me about my neighborhood?

Over the next few weeks, however, Matthew shed his Tourist status. He made sure he showed me only town houses, not brownstones. (While a native New Yorker means a house when he says "brownstone," brokers use that term for any building sporting real brownstone on the facade. Many of them are actually tenements.)

He also didn't patronize me. Instead he was professional and honest, probably because he had owned a personal training business for 10 years before becoming an agent. Agents with life and work experience interact better with clients, because they already understand the value of working hard at good customer service.

The Scavenger

If the Tourist is a hard worker, the Scavenger is the laziest. The Scavenger trolls newspapers and Web listings, finds an ad for a great place and then relists the place as his or her own. Often, the same apartment will show up five, 10 times in a row, all with different brokers' contact numbers.

[THIS IS WHAT YOU'LL FIND A HUNDERD TIMES if you use Craig's List!!]

It's not their fault, really. Because of the strong sales market, there's a glut of brokers and agents. In fact, New York's Department of State, which administers the real estate licensing exams, recently ended its walk-in test-taking policy in several locations, including New York City, because the lines to get in were snaking around the block.

I met my first Scavenger when I answered a "no fee" ad on the Craigslist Web site for an apartment down the block from me. It was listed for $3,175, but I took a chance that the landlord might come down on the rent for the right tenant.

I never actually met that agent because he sent a co-worker in his place. When we sat down with the landlord, I jumped right in. "Look, I have to be honest - I love it, but it's more than I can afford," I said. "But I hope you'll consider lowering the rent if I promise to take care of ..."

She cut me off. "The price is firm," she said. She turned to the agent and asked him, "What about you? Do you work?"

Puzzled, he answered that he was a broker with a neighborhood agency.

"I don't know who that is," she said. Then she looked at me and smirked. "You could have just looked in The Village Voice," she said.

Suddenly it all made sense. The guy who had put the ad on Craigslist didn't even know this woman; he had just seen her classified ad in The Voice and relisted it. That's when she and I exchanged glances. "Who did you think was going to pay you?" we both asked the agent.

He had no idea, because his colleague had set him up. Needless to say, the landlord never came down on the price, and the next day I picked up The Village Voice. There was the ad, a tiny three-liner, listing the apartment for $2,995 - $180 less than the ad on Craigslist. Perhaps the agent's plan had been to pretend he was getting the landlord to come down on the rent in exchange for the renter's paying the fee.

But listing the property in the first place was unethical, according to the code of ethics of the Real Estate Board of New York, an industry trade association. The code states that "without the prior knowledge or consent of the owner," no member shall "offer, or cause to be offered, such property for sale or lease."

From then on, I looked in the paper myself.

The Veteran

It was a newspaper ad that caught my eye: "G.Vill 1BR $2,150; Private 20x22 backyard, Bright EIK, Full Sep Bth. Grt Nabe. Avail IMM."

West Village, eat-in kitchen and private backyard at that price? Too good to be true. I called the number and spoke to Michael Marino, the sole proprietor of Marino Real Estate in TriBeCa, and found out the place was several blocks south on Hudson - still in the Village, but below my geographic cutoff line. I decided to see it anyway.

The apartment was great. It had a nonworking fireplace, a good-sized bedroom, closets galore, a new bathroom, and it really did have a backyard, complete with flowering roses. And Michael knew just how to handle me. Laid-back, soft-spoken, he didn't push me with the hard sell. He just showed me the place and we chatted for a while. After 22 years in the business, he knew the deal would either happen or it wouldn't.

His ad, it turns out, had appeared only in the paper, not online. Michael said he's old-fashioned and thinks people who are looking for an apartment will check the paper first, so it's not worth paying extra to put the ad online. Once I started reading the classifieds in print, I realized that a lot of Veterans followed this logic, and that I'd been missing quite a few listings by searching only online.

Mary A. Vetri, a senior vice president at William B. May on Hudson Street, is herself a 17-year veteran. "Rentals are my bread and butter," she says. To her, even the smallest studio rental could add a client to the Rolodex who someday will bring back a multimillion-dollar sale. For that reason, the Veteran rarely lies or even goes for the hard sell, because he or she wants to establish a lasting relationship.

Case in point: when I asked Michael if the apartment was in a town house, he said: "Oh, I don't know. Maybe it could have been a town house at one point." Turned out it was, built in 1842. But Michael was probably the only broker I dealt with who didn't jump at the chance to tell me that.

The Genuinely Nice Person

Though I knew I was interested in the Hudson Street apartment, I actually put Michael off for as long as I could while I made sure there wasn't anything better in my immediate neighborhood. In a last-minute surge of phone calls to real estate companies, I came across a true broker rarity: the Genuinely Nice Person.

Tim Taylor works for Citi Habitats, which doesn't always have the best reputation among apartment hunters. But Tim was attentive the first moment I called him. I took a chance and was honest, letting him know that I had an apartment lined up but wanted to keep searching for another week.

Telling Tim I had a place already was a risk - he could have just stopped calling. But the Genuinely Nice Person doesn't work that way. Tim told me about every listing he found that I might have liked, even going so far as to break a broker's taboo and give me building addresses so I could save us both time with a preliminary walk-by.

To be honest, I don't know how they make any money. The Genuinely Nice Person seems to spend an inordinate amount of time searching listings on behalf of clients who may or may not ever pay him. Tim and I met only once, at a really nice two-bedroom on 12th Street, but he spent a good week working on my behalf, including over a holiday weekend. When I rejected the apartment because it required too much money up front, he just said: "I'm so sorry. I didn't know. They should have put the two-months' security in their listing. I'm really very sorry about that."

A broker apologizing? Unheard of. What a nice guy.

In the end, I signed the lease on the Hudson Street apartment and Michael and I negotiated the fee: more than a month's rent, but less than 15 percent. I think I got a pretty good deal."
Last edited by S'tan
I think Daddy mentioned this before but I read today that the Roxy will close next year. Not really surprised but it's the only real big club left with some history to it. I havn't been there in ages, but it was one of the first clubs I went to when I moved to New York in 1992. Lee Chappel's Locomotion parties on Saturday nights were sooo much fun back in the early 1990's , I don't care for the all male thing on Saturday nights now(totally boring and very dull) but I really like the space and the chandalier room and of course roller skating! Soon there will be nothing left!
Where will all those chomping-at-the-bit muscle queens go on Saturday night? Probably Avalon (ex-Limelight), if John Blair has anything to say about it. It was never my scene but I had some good times there over the years, including roller skating, just like in junior high. Closing the Roxy feels kind of like closing Macy's ... I don't shop there that often but it's an institution I don't want to go away.
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