There's a fab fabric store on Flatbush... I can't remember the cross street.... full of all sorts of adds and sods....but just a wonderfully insane wacky selection of fabrics. The place is packed of a Saturday with these crazy Jamaican Dancehall queen gyals buying up all sorts of garish prints colors and textures... i think that might be a good next step... must remember exactly the address.. or we should all take a family field trip!
Wooo-hooo! Hey Anna Nicole, hows about u visit the "flat bush" in my panty hose ????

Mmmmm, squinch ovah girl and make room for me on that couch . . . Messy Rosie is gunna show u why she's called MESSY!
I think what Hapi and Lex and Hattie are getting at about what the charm really was based on is very strongly pointed out. When all the places -local places that brought people into contact; the family owned stores or bars, the flavorfully slightly decrepit neighborhood clubs or bargain eateries- vanish then the ways that people were in order to interact in those places, the slightly challenging offnessess that more often had one identifying with the perpetrators of urban commercial behavior codes, schooled one in the ability to connect with streetworn neighborhood strangers, aprised one of the exact tenor of an entryway's potential menace, that kind of steep steep flavor of urbane comportments dwindles out. You're left with people pretending to be outlaws,soap opera stars,or expert consumers but who don't connect with one another, a population of uniformly impermanent normals that repopulate the area with a few standardized attitudes that no longer connect with how to be in this place but rather with how to occupy it or just pass through. The elderly woman in the schmatze who is the only one who has a key to the lock on the cyclone fence around the only empty lot left on this block seems like a public menace or alien to the young people who now walk past laughing at her inscrutable effort to make the lot a junk art gallery.

I'm not romanticizing the street this way. I'm pointing out how much less personable and how much more limited the humanness around here is.

This kind of reminds me of an idea someone told me about how a person's behavior is highly affected by the kind of space they occupy at the time -originally this was put to me about being in a subway car:-think about it, no one in there has a personallity, their minds become like the space of the car totally flavorless, quieted down, a sense-dampening space. You don't get people to act openly or unselfconsciously by giving them a big box store to be in. You don't get people to feel at home in a neighborhood where low rise apartments are being replaced by sterile antiseptic laughably priced rentals that guarantee a rapid turnover of tenants. People become less human in that environment, they aren't encouraged to be human in that environment. Humans are just processed by such spaces.
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That is all very true. It used to be (for a long time, too) that a person coming to New York had to brave the elements and earn acceptance into a neighborhood with solid old habits. Without trying, it seems to me, that chance hazing by the block gave the newcomer a kind of humility and if they stuck around, a desire to belong to that neighborhood, and to learn the right ways to do things in that place. Eventually, you found yourself part of the neighborhood. And each neighborhood meant something, like a lot of little towns with distinctive atmospheres of their own. I know that I always respected those ladies who swept in front of the stoop on E 7th Street a long time ago, and the ones who fed the cats in the lot-gardens all around. And just as I'm starting to count as one of those ladies myself, the lot-gardens are all being crammed with those big boring buildings and those boring people you describe, pouring in for their stints as occupiers. It's not to romanticize it that I write this either, but it was more human, and it was also more possible just to live. Those overpriced rents make for overpriced potatoes, too.
quote:
Those overpriced rents make for overpriced potatoes, too.


I'm probably paranoid, but I hope that my paper mache potato piggy banks that are on sale at Rapture Cafe aren't over priced!

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Found this beautiful Farewell Charming Olde New York quote tonight

quote:
No matter how long you have been here, you are a New Yorker the first time you say, That used to be Munsey's, or That used to be the Tic Toc Lounge.... You are a New Yorker when what was there before is more real and solid than what is here now.


--Colson Whitehead, The Colossus of New York

Quoted on the always-ruling "New York Songlines" site

http://home.nyc.rr.com/jkn/nysonglines/
Chi Chi, thanks for posting that link to songlines! I lost the bookmark ages ago, and no amount of googling brought it back to me (i had forgotten the actual name). Love it.
Hapi Phace wrote:

"Part of "charming" old NY was that there was a certain level of decrepitude to the charm . . . you know the floors slanted, the people working at the joint had something a little off perhaps -- sort of like they were from a Passolini or Fellini film . . . and there was some sort of left over energy from the 1940s gilded-age of NYC that managed to survive after the gilding wore off . . .

"I remember thinking that walking through the streets of NYC was like shuttleing through a giant loom and we were all weaving this beautiful busy fabric . . ."

-------------

How gorgey a description... and it's true. With the cleaning up of New York City, all the charming old decreptiude also got cleaned up... charming decrepit old ladies and queens...

When I was on my last loft-hunt, I had an amazing conversation with an old Jewish guy who owned a building on West 37th. He explained to me the entire genesis of the destruction of the garment industry in New York. Yes Hattie, WTO and the flooding of this country with cheap Chinese goods. You can thank Bush for that.

This old guy would have been happy to rent to me, but he had to rent to the highest bidder in order to pay his taxes. He said it had broken his heart to raise the rent on his old buddies in the building in order to survive, and he was probably going to sell. He didn't want to rent to high-priced lawyers, or banks of servers. He wanted tenants he could relate to.

He predicted all the industrial spaces would go residential condo. Neither of us understood where, or how these people paying $3,000 a month rent for a studio were going to be employed.

But then Romy told me about the destruction of Vancouver, and how these glass towers that replaced little bookstores, shops and two-storey houses were suddenly filled up with mainland Chinese people. We considered that possibly the same thing will happen in NY... only the rich folks moving into NY will be from Middle Eastern nations?

Then I discovered my landlord had sold his building to an Arab/Muslim real estate conglomerate. Now if you walk down West 26th Street between 6th & 7th, the sewing machine repair shops are gone. (There used to be 6 of them.) The fencing school is gone. The Aikido studio is gone. The second-hand clothing store (a great old dame, Lucille) is gone.
Next to my old building a 33-story glass tower has gone up on what was once a little parking lot.
My old building now has no light or air except in the very front and the very back.

And who is living in this tower? Not alot of funky artists. Not even alot of New Yorkers.
Yeah S'tan. All the new glass towers and conversions will fill up with people who never would have wanted to live in Manhattan, especially in areas like W. 26th St. And probably a lot of those units will have very temporary occupants. Consider the tiny little tennament I live in where a maybe 450 sq.ft. studio now goes for $1,300 a month. It means the landlord now gets tennants who stay only for about 6 months and then cash out. Its almost like a pensione. And the proportion of wealthy young foreigners is about 50% when perviously it would have been about %10.

And all those glass towers that have and are going up on 6th Ave. from 23rd to 32nd have erradicated all the large weekend flea markets that used to operate on the parking lots that have been built on. Those markets kept the avenue totally alive on weekends. Now its a harsh wind tunnel with a few pedestrians at best.
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It's past time to start Farewell Charming Old Paris, but at least that city is trying. When I was last there, Marc Jacobs' hideous Louis Vuitton had just infected the corner of Av. Georges V with a "super store," joining the likes of Adidas, Gap, etc. But then the city said no to H&M. It's a start. From today's NYT:

January 31, 2007
Megastores March Up Avenue, and Paris Takes to Barricades

By ELAINE SCIOLINO

PARIS, Jan. 30 "” There was a time when the Champs-Élysées stood for grand living, high style and serendipity. With the Arc de Triomphe on one end and the Tuileries Gardens on the other, you could discover an underground jazz band at midnight and down oysters and Champagne at dawn.

But the road where de Gaulle celebrated France's liberation from the Nazis, the one known as "the most beautiful avenue on earth," has, like Times Square and Oxford Street in London, turned into a commercialized money trap.

Most of the music clubs are gone. Movie theaters are closing. Sometimes, all that seems to be left on the 1.2-mile stretch are the global chain stores that can afford the rent.

And so, in a truly French moment, the Paris city government has begun to push back, proclaiming a crisis of confidence and promising a plan aimed at stopping the "banalization" of the Champs-Élysées. The question is whether it is too late.

The first step was a decision last month to ban the Swedish clothing giant H&M from opening a megastore on the avenue.

The decision is intended to slow the invasion of retail clothing stores and to preserve what is left of the diverse character of the most visited site in France, after the Eiffel Tower.

"We were losing our sense of balance," said François Lebel, a deputy mayor who administers the part of the city that includes the Champs-Élysées. "Drastic action was needed. We don't have anything against H&M. It just happens to be the first victim."

In a sense, the avenue is a victim of its own success. With rents as high as $1.2 million a year for 1,000 square feet of space, the Champs-Élysées is the most expensive strip of real estate in Europe and the third most expensive in the world, after Fifth Avenue in New York and Causeway Bay in Hong Kong, making it impossible for most small businesses to even consider setting up shop there.

Multinationals have no such problem. Adidas opened its largest store in the world on the Champs-Élysées last fall. Gap, Benetton, Naf Naf, the Disney Store, Nike, Zara, a Virgin Megastore and Sephora occupy major spaces. Car manufacturers including Toyota, Renault and Peugeot have huge showrooms that display flashy prototypes and serve largely as walk-in advertisements. Low-end fast-food chain restaurants like McDonald's and Quick do high-volume business.

And things seem only to be getting more expensive. The opening of luxury showpieces like Cartier in 2003, Louis Vuitton's five-story flagship store in 2005 and the Fouquet's Barrière hotel last year (the least expensive room is nearly $900 a night) have given the avenue new glitter.

Round-the-clock saturation of the street by teams of uniformed and plainclothes police officers "” in buses and cars, on in-line skates and foot "” has made it safer for its up to 500,000 visitors a day. Armies of street cleaners compensate for the scarcity of garbage bins, a grim reminder of the terrorist bombings on the avenue two decades ago.

Only seven movie theaters are left, however, half the number of a dozen years ago. The UGC Triomphe has announced that it will close in the next few months unless its landlord backs down from the rent increase it has demanded.

Jean-Jacques Schpoliansky, the owner of the independent Le Balzac movie theater just off the Champs-Élysées, greets customers seven days a week to give his business a personal touch.

His rent is 15 times what it was in 1973. But the three-screen theater shows "artistic" movies, so the city gives it an annual subsidy of almost $39,000 to help it stay in business. He says he still doesn't break even.

"My grandfather founded the Balzac in 1935," Mr. Schpoliansky said. "This place, the human contact with my customers "” this is my life."

Many other merchants lament that the move to save the avenue has come too late. "High-class Parisians don't want to come to the Champs-Élysées," said Serge Ghnassia, owner of the fur shop Milady, which opened on the Champs-Élysées in 1933. "It's not prestigious; it's not pleasant. The people who come are very common, very ordinary, very cheap. They come for a kebab sandwich and a five-euro T-shirt."

He said he kept the store largely for sentimental reasons, as a sort of shop window to advertise his more upscale stores on the Rue du Faubourg St.-Honoré and in the ski resort of Courchevel.

Underlying some of that resentment is that groups of young people descend on the Champs-Élysées from the working-class immigrant suburbs on weekend nights. The police keep a close watch on them, monitoring their moves.

But some old-timers praise the avenue as a sort of democratic "” and free "” tourist destination for the underprivileged. "The kids coming from the suburbs are coming from the suburbs to look, to see, to escape the places where they live," Mr. Schpoliansky said. "We are a multiethnic country, and that reality is reflected on our street."

The Champs-Élysées was conceived in 1667 as a grand approach to the royal palace at the Tuileries in what were then fields and swampland on the outskirts of Paris. In the 19th century, it was planted with elms, renamed after the Elysian Fields of Greek mythology and lined with hotels, cafes and luxurious private residences.

But the divide between the landmark avenue's mythic image and its gritty commercialism has troubled Parisians for much of the last century.

The prosperity of the 1960s in France attracted airline companies, car dealerships, fast-food restaurants, panhandlers, streetwalkers and badly parked cars. Rents plummeted and many commercial spaces stayed empty.

In 1990, Jacques Chirac, who was then the mayor of Paris, began a $45 million renovation project that broadened sidewalks, planted more trees, eliminated parking lanes and added elegant streetlamps and bus stops.

Some of the older enterprises use creative ways to stay in business. The 24-hour restaurant L'Alsace is on the ground floor of the Maison de l'Alsace, a tourism and promotion bureau financed by the Alsace regional government.

Fouquet's, one of the avenue's few remaining belle époque restaurants, resisted a nasty takeover bid years ago and has been officially designated by the city of Paris as a "place of memory" to preserve its position on the avenue.

Louis Vuitton is so popular that its customers (most of them tourists) often have to line up outside for entry.

All that activity has made the unanimous decision by the city's commerce committee to block admission to H&M particularly stunning.

H&M, which already has nine stores in Paris, had hired Jean Nouvel, a leading French architect, to design the 37,000-square-foot space in what once housed offices of Club Med.

The company has suggested that it will appeal.

But the ruling followed a study for the city of Paris last November that found that 39 percent of the avenue's street-front retail space was filled with clothing stores.

"The avenue progressively is losing its exceptional and symbolic character, thus its attractiveness," the study warned, predicting that if the trend continued, the Champs-Élysées would become as tacky as Oxford Street.

That gloomy assessment is not shared by Christophe Pinguet, the director of the Shortcut public relations agency and one of the two dozen remaining residents of the Champs-Élysées. From the terrace of his top-floor apartment, Mr. Pinguet looks out on the Eiffel Tower, the Place de la Concorde and the Arc de Triomphe.

"I know shops nobody knows," he said. "I know the butcher who delivers meat to Jacques Chirac. I know the police who dress like spies. Sure, the Champs-Élysées can be cheap. But it's not a museum. The battle shouldn't be to keep H&M out. It should be to make sure it's fabulous."
Last edited by Michael Madison
Michael,
That is a scarey article! But to tell you the truth, the Champs Elysees has always been somewhat disreputable. It was the very first place in Paris to have a McDonald's restaurant.

And going back yet further, one of its most expensive, elegant buildings, now used as a bank, (dozens of types of marble inside and out, incredibly luxe) was built for a fat, ugly, very sexy courtesan by her extremely rich German patron. It's always been rich and sleazy!!
De Gaulle's parades notwithstanding.

Love, S'tan
This entirely explains why, when I was walking east on Houston from Ludlow (under the scaffolding of the new luxury highrise on the corner) towards the Mercury Lounge last night, I was hit with a wall of cologne odor so thick it was repulsive. It was coming from the crowd half a block away milling in front of the lounge. All totally attired "countryclub", as I spontaneously remarked to my companion. She commented, "East Houston is now East Hamptons."
Oh help that place looks hideous enough but knowing it's in our lovely Chez Es Saada space!!!!

What is this some kind of incipient backlash to Bush-style, preppie crapola?
Someone should open a club next door and call it "VOMITORIUM."

Chez Es Saada was a beautiful PS to the 14th Street Jackie era. I still crave one of those pomegranate cocktails... what were they called?
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Okay, the fifth horseman has just pulled up...Our verbal reading tonight is in the Daily News REAL ESTATE section..
what a shitty place the east village has become. most of us saw this coming when we were the shitty newcommers back in the 70's & 80's.
It's funny, Yesterday I was talking to someone who lives in the building and he was telling me about "The East Village Yacht Club".
I thought it was brilliant!
But he was like, "It's not what you think. It's hideous. They are doing it for real".
I guess I'm retarded.
I thought it was a "Billionaires For Bush" type joke.
I mean "The East Village Yacht Club" is like something we would have done at Jackie as a theme.
Maybe with Davey Ilku as "Thurston Howell III" and "Marti Domination" as "Lovey".

(I don't think it's doing very well BTW.)

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I didn't even know about the East Village Yacht Club until I saw it here!...see, proof that the Motherboards is truly the source for everything nightlife...hideous place, I doubt that the food is any good either. Hopefully the next time we see the logo it will say "established 2007"..."sunk 2007"
What?
You don't want to leave your pet rats there to be discovered by the Health Dept. do you?

Leave a nickle bag of crappy pot in the shitter and call in a drug-dealing complaint...

Or better yet, open a bomber of RAID and watch the yuppie scum scatter from your lawn chair across 1st Street.
All very viable and highly creative options.

A little less severe than the anthrax letter I had in mind.
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