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Update on the leather-masked man...

According to Andy Towle:

"The leather-clad man who was found adjoined to a metal fence in New York's West Village last week was a mentally-ill homeless man who "spent his last hours drunkenly regaling Village bar patrons with tales that he was a war veteran who wore a mask to hide his scars and glass eye." Police think the death may have been a suicide."

Towleroad Piece
Farewell Village Voice! What a rotten waste of paper THAT has turned into (La Musto excepted)!!! This week's cover story is some nimrod who used to be on American Idol; last week it was the monogamy-seeking gay rugby player. There is very, very little news anymore - did they completely overlook the crane incident (mere blocks from their offices), Flotilla, Quinn's police-state-like proposals for bars/nightclubs, Foley or even the wretched Pirro/Hevesi brouhahas? It's garbage.
I think Nat Hentof was the last real writer of substance. It has long since been an advertising circular. Maybe there just isn't the readership it needs anymore. Anyway, the 'Village' doesn't really mean the Village anymore either if you think about it. Lately I've started to get the sensation of being invisible myself when on the street, like that old Star Trek episode where there are aliens living at a different speed than the earthlings, I'm living in a different dimension and have become intangible to the critters who now populate the territory -one dimensional people who wear advertisements and consume the image of NY without actually living it. Like CBGB's which is now just a ubiquitous t-shirt worn by types of people who would never have gone to the actual place. Your own cultural proclivities haven't become history, but a kind of residue, a dust of spin-off products. The Village is a kind of archeological site whose cultural remnants are excavated as logos. But hey, Pat Fields has a new store on the Bowery. That's the kind of indifference to collapse I like.
Hie, Romy and Foxy just stayed here at Fingernails for a while on their way back East! I heard alot about the bad new changes.

I was horrified to hear they cut down all the trees around Grace Church, Broadway at 10th they are building a new gym there.

She said there were posters saying that the trees had 'lived out their full cycle' or something like that... to justify cutting them down. HOW HIDEOUS.

And that "they" tried to tear down (or have continued to tear down) St. Brigid's Church on Avenue B. Smashing stained glass windows and rolling over pews fom the 1820s with bulldozers. The only people who protested were Catholic in Ireland...?

And now there is a whole new thing being zoned called a "Condo Hotel.." Meaning you own a cubical, that you only live in now and then, that you can then rent out to tourists...?

It sort of sounds like living in an elevator.

So NY real estate continues to proliferate as a money-sucking entity. Is there any place like 'home' there?

Romy is a treasure-house of these kinds of horror stories.

Finally I said, Let's try not to think about all this horrible crap and just gaze at the mountainside. She concurred.
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You should see the monster "LUXURY condo" building they are constructing on 13th St A/1st that stretched up to 14th St. It's HUGE and full of all sorts of obnoxious billboards already on what a "LUXURY" building it will be! Urg... I sort of miss the drug dealers that used to be on my doorstep when i used to come home. Mind u, I miss the days when I would walk home (to Horatio St) from Jackie and litterally stagger around huge meat carcass deliveries and men in blood sodden white coats...

Talking of local rags... does ANYONE read that "L" magazine... i don't know anyone who reads that, I find it a confussing difficult read.
Chi Chi and I were walking Casanova last night past this "LUXURY condo" construction site and these kids (about 4 or 5) were attacking a gay kid coming from Boy's Room with sticks.
Luckily American HE-ro Robert Flowryder came to his rescue and chased the hooligans away!
And the police reaction to this attack:
"Gays should know better".

Robert Flowryder (right), American Hero.


Images (1)
  • flo-dad
Gee the Ninth Precinct has come a long way. Did anyone catch that officer's badge number or have they started using that black tape on their shields again?

From the website:

"The 9th Precinct encompasses the area from East Houston Street to East 14 Street from Broadway to the East River in Manhattan. Our community prides itself on its diversity... Many cultures are also represented in this area making it a true "melting pot." Being a relatively small command allows the police to interact more closely with the community."

Richard Hell's Op-Ed about CBGB closing

...very sweet, saying it was where we were kids, we invented it, and of course we don't wanna see it thrown away. Even if it is moldy and stinks.

Apparently they are taking the ACTUAL interiors of the club and moving them to Vegas??? So no it wouldn't have opened yet... Yeccch!

As far as "growing up in CBGB's" went, I did my first-ever Domination session there.
I was sitting with Anya and this freak crawled under our table and offered us $20. to stand on his hands with our spiked heels.
I did it twice!
I'd be curious to see the CBGBs Vegas version. Of course it will not be the same but that can actaully work in its favor. I would never dream of hanging out at the Hard Rock Cafe here in NYC, for example. How hideous. But the Hard Rock Casino & Hotel in Vegas is one of my favorite places, filled with lots of hot guys and fun events, like UFC fights and concerts and very hip table dealers. A highlight of my recent trip there was our mini-baccarat dealer, an aging ex-showgirl who shared anecdotes about Vegas in the 70s when the gangsters still ran it.

I think it's brave of Hilly to try and re-invent the brand, after decades of representing one thing in people's minds. I wish the venture success and will check it out the next time I'm in Vegas.
NYC dive music clubs (endangered species in Manhattan) and Vegas resort properties -two verrrry different business cultures. Probably the biggest hurdle Hilly will have if it ever happens will be to work out a deal he will have enough control over. Vegas deals are made out of $1,000 suits, 40 lawyers, 67 secretaries, mountains of paper and verrry long terms of consideration. They'll roll over Hilly like a pair of two ton dice if he doesn't have decent representation. Then, how does some resort present CB's to the resort vacation crowd? As a show revue? Some kind of Disneyfied sanitary punk rock revue with plenty of sprayed on beer redolence and faux-grunge outfits for the staff? How will it ever book and present unheard of and barely heard of pay-to-play bands on the panel truck touring circuit -it won't of course.

I'd like the presidential suite at CB's.
I want a Crystal ammenity in my room upon check in.
I want front row seats, the $450 ones, to the Plasmatics tribute band.
Get a souvenier snap of me in front of the display case showing facsimile samples of all the drugs ever brought through the front door on the Bowery.

Maybe Hilly should just retire on the million dollars of CB's t-shirts that sell each year and call it an epoch!
It's a given that whatever CBs morphs into in Vegas will be nothing like the original spirit of the original venue. But I'm fine with that. If I were Hilly I'd probably retire on the t-shirt proceeds, but if he still wants to kick he should be thinking, "why try to repeat what I've already done? Re-invent!" CBs Vegas could be part of a hotel chain like Hard Rock booking nothing but tribute bands. Or it could be a standalone bar in seedy old downtown Vegas. Or it could literally be a museum piece, like the Liberace museum, holed up in some tiny strip mall with the orginal walls mounted and perfectly preserved alongside a little old lady tour guide with a pink mohawk. You have to judge it on different terms. I guess I'm the odd one out that way ... I was the only to appreciate Roger Daltrey playing Scrooge at Madison Square Garden while all my friends ripped on him! Youth doesn't last forever.
I just don't see how the original primo dirt and stench of CBGB's is going to survive the trip West. For starters there's a dead zone out there in the desert past Kingston Nevada for 90 miles
to Las Vaguest. And as you pass through it your soul is leeched out of you by the money-grubbing animals.
Y'all didn't know that?
Haven't you read your FUCKING HUNTER THOMPSON?

We predict GENERATIONS of Joey Ramone impersonators making a ghastly-enormous living playing that venue.

Before I get old and ugly next year, when my youth fails to last forever hehehehehhe
I want a job in Las Vaguest
doing Angel Stern doing Her First Session over and over and then I will train someone to impersonate Angel Stern and do that First Session over and over and over, and I also want an Anya Impersonator in her infamous black rubber bodysuit, with both of us in a vitrine grinding our stilettos into the guy's hands and snorting and laughing and spilling beer on the guy's head and etc. etc., etc. and I want to be the one to
hire the scads of cute Chinese girls to impersonate Anya...
and in "The CGBG Showcase Revue" there has to be a segue into the ladies' bathroom where Anya takes OFF the black rubber body suit and I wipe her off and powder her down and and and
of course there will be a steady, long, endless flow of potential 'slaves'
wanting to play
The Guy Who Gets The First Session
and all around us/them will swirl the degenerate cast of staged debaucheries
that will be corporate CBGBs
Seven can take tickets and steal from the box office and
we can thus retire filthy rich pigs with no souls who needs one anyway?

oh thats right... to sell it to...
I've always been someone who changes jobs all the time... I've always managed to find fun gigs in creative industries paying top dollar... but this time its TOUGH - real tough... am currently looking for a new job and am finding FOR THE FIRST TIME that the creative industry just can't pay people any more... I don't know where the $ is... I am being forced more an more into muggle-world as they are the only folks paying. NYC NEVER was like this EVER. I'm pretty shocked by it all... never have I had to search so long for a new job and never have I really had to diversify out of my regular industry just to pay the rent... It's sad. But, u know me.. if it wasn't for my tyke I would be OUT of NYC fast....really
Anna, the 'creative' industries are drying up as a kind of canary in the mine thing. The general climate for creativity in the US is on one side getting paved over ( a la the CB's discussion here ). Sectors like the recording industry are going through a complete sea change (notice Tower Records on Broadway and 4th going out of business!) with a concurrent explosion of Do It Yourselfers and teeny tiny storefront labels marketing only on the web and through lower than no budget touring - think they got publicists, market researchers or even street teams? The cultural periodicals in print are sort of in the same predicament. In the city creative people have left in unprecedented numbers leaving whole creative sectors to be populated by the new nee-suburban class. Upper tier commercial production design firms will now do music videos for mid or low earning indie bands and actually take a loss. I myself have found it extremely hard just to book a gig for the kind of performance work that thrived only five or six years ago - the whole creative population of the nation is kind of running with their heads down just trying to make it through an increasingly paranoid social and economic environment. And like the classes in general the creative people in the midrange are disappearing increasingly leaving only the very ultracorporate concerns and brand names and the now burgeoning ultra alternative horde that works for expenses. My former employer during the 90's - a 55 year veteran of the commercial music business- had a very frequently mouthed mantra, "Why do they always treat the artist like shit!?" And it is more apt today than in the last 40 years. It is hard to tell where this is all going but it probably will get worse before it gets better.

But don't dispair too much. You have huge experience and a great depth of personal resources to be on the outs for long.
Ugly Buildings

I was thinking recntly about all of the silver and glass boxy buildings going up around Downtown. I wondered what they might look like in 20 years. Were they designed to last? Is that some fancy sort of composite metal that resists staining? Is that glass unbreakable? Well, my question has been partially answered. I walked past the one on Bowery and Bond today and noticed visible dents in the wall on the outer ground floor. I looked up a bit and saw scratches and discoloration. I knocked on the wall and realized that it's just a thin hollow aluminum-like material. I think they'll all turn into dumps sooner than we think.

High end buildings used to be made of marble and other pretty yet strong types of stone. Toaday's architecture is not only boring, it's flimsy!

It's like invasion of the body snatchers / building snatchers..... once were stood a friendly local bodega or row house is now being fast replaced with construction sites and banners proudly proclaiming "Luxury Condos". Styvesent town is a great example. But where do people live. I couldn't afford to move here in the E.V. And, I loathe the people that can.
I honestly don't know where any of the 'arts' communities are going. New Mexico? Even Williamsburg is a characature of itself now.
I wanna join class war and fight the yuppie scum but i think I'm part of it being forced to work in less creative environments just to pay the rent.
I think it's time I moved to chiapas. Seven are u coming with me?
Who can afford to move anywhere these days.
Except maybe back home.
My Dad used to call me "The High Plains Drifter" but I feel more like The High Plains Squatter.

I don't think artists are moving anywhere in particular. Austin?

Miss U. that pic is heart-breaking but I am thrilled to know you can knock the shit over with one well-aimed drunken stilleto kick.
One night F-Major and I did kick a hole in the side of an NYU dorm being built on the Bowery
(across fom the Slide I think it was)
It was literally made out of paper and fibreglas crap.

I keep seeing press on Los Angeles being the astonishingly hip new place for artists. Where you can find a big old studio space and spread out and do welding and stuff like that... I wonder.
Like you used to be able to get a photography studio in Chelsea. Or a place to paint in Soho.
Could there really be real real estate on the cheap, with urban culture and nightlife in the mix?

Round about here on the high mesas there are plenty of artists, as well as artsy-fartsies, but I am still waiting to meet the pack of Kools. I don't think they're at the Hell Hotel with Brown Paul. I have to admit I am not looking that hard. I admit I am into hiding.

Nightlife in New Mexico seems to consist of many mice and rabbits for Binky and Beauregarde to feast on... miles of starshine (the Milky Way)... lunatic DUIs on Blood Alley... a very beautiful 24 hours Chevron Station when you are on empty and 20 more miles to go,
or maybe it's me
with my new purple hair and dark glasses, falling asleep in Whole Foods at closing
in front of the unaffordable bank of white Burgundies, lasciviously re-reading the labels and dreaming of Paris.

I think we need to bring Commandante Marco here from Chiapas! One of those ersatze 'luxury' buildings went up across the street from me. It took the building code violating developers five fucking years to put it up. I nearly collapsed laughin on the sidewalk one day when I overheard the city code inspectors unceremoniously informing the developers that "You know there are no currently manufactured windows that will fit those holes you made for windows don't you." Now when the ultra yuppoid arriviste who occupied the top floor duplex holds a patio party one floor up and directly across the street from me it sounds like it is right inside my own apartment. It is deplorable to see the very young tennants of that building actually skulk out the front door looking ultra self conscious hoping not to attract too much attention. At least still at this point they are the ones who feel like strangers in their own neighborhood.

I think I will probably hang out here as long as possible since I do enjoy overstaying at any kind of humiliation. I am sure at the first healthy sustained dive in the economy the luxury rentals will be verry hard to rent out and the present occupants will actually wake up and see they are total outsiders.
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The architect of those buildings must be inspired by Bronx Zoo
I wonder what the residents of those buildings are expecting to see from that big glass windows??? Especially those live on below 3rd floor. Hey Confused

Originally posted by Miss Understood:
Ugly Buildings

I was thinking recntly about all of the silver and glass boxy buildings going up around Downtown. I wondered what they might look like in 20 years. Were they designed to last? Is that some fancy sort of composite metal that resists staining? Is that glass unbreakable? Well, my question has been partially answered. I walked past the one on Bowery and Bond today and noticed visible dents in the wall on the outer ground floor. I looked up a bit and saw scratches and discoloration. I knocked on the wall and realized that it's just a thin hollow aluminum-like material. I think they'll all turn into dumps sooner than we think.

High end buildings used to be made of marble and other pretty yet strong types of stone. Toaday's architecture is not only boring, it's flimsy!

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I'm reading a fantastic book called New York: An Illustrated History, by Ric Burns and James Sanders. It's the companion to the series you might have seen on PBS. Amazing pictures, but a really good read, too. Came across a poignant quote today
New York is notoriously the largest and least loved of any of our great cities. Why should it be loved as a city? It is never the same city for a dozen years altogether. A man born forty years ago finds nothing, absolutely nothing, of the New York he knew. If he chances to stumble upon a few old houses not yet leveled, he is fortunate. But the landmarks, the objects, which marked the city to him, as a city, are gone.

-- Harper's Monthly, 1856

The more things change...
Got this message in My Space today:
December 19, 2006 -- The former Episcopal church that once housed the sacrilegious Limelight nightclub will be born again - as a retail mini-mall.

Now known as the Avalon nightclub, the legendary 12,000-square-foot venue on Sixth Avenue at West 20th Street will shutter its doors in early 2007.

"The landlord has decided that he doesn't want to go forward with another nightclub," said broker Frank Terzulli, of Winnick Realty Group.

"He's going to cut it up for retail tenants and a restaurant with patio seating."

Terzulli added, "The area is becoming more upscale with high-priced condos and stores, and that will make it more difficult to get permits from the community board" for a nightclub.

Cops have been cracking down on Chelsea nightclubs and their rowdy and sometimes violent patrons since the murder last summer of 18-year-old Jennifer Moore, who was killed after a night of drinking at the Guest House nightspot.

cut and paste the link below for the complete story.
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Tricia Romano calls the club scene differently. According to her expose in this week's Village Voice, bottle service is on the way out and art/culture/intelligensia/sin is on its way back in. Pity I'm so sick of it all. A cup of tea at Rapture is good enough for me.

Read it and weep:

Put a Cork in it

Nightclubs are always opening (and closing) in New York, but this mini-surge of fresh venues is built on music and art, not the bling of bottle service, signaling the beginning of a hopeful new era in New York nightlife, one where the artists, musicians, and DJs"”tired of the bottle service boom bullying clubs into a world of materialism and monotony"”take back the night.
This should perhaps go under nightclubs. Or perhaps the nightclubs topic should just move here altogether.

I always look forward to making the rounds this time of year, catching up with old friends and generally just 'living' a little more; I really get caught up in the festiveness of the season, the socializing, the maybe too much drinking..all of which I found at the lovely RAPTURE recently, mmmmmm.

So, feeling in the holiday spirit, and just wanting to throw back some drinks in an interesting crowd, my man and I got all gussied up Tuesday night and headed over to our one reliable--Happy Valley--only to find it closed. Boy have I been out of the loop. There we sat in the cab, already a little tipsy, faces done, outfits on, staring out the window at the big grey door, barred and barren. My first reaction was embarassment. How could I not have known?

I was never what you'd call a regular, but despite mixed feelings about Suzanne and Kenny, I always had a good time there. More than most places over the past year, you could usually count on a good dozen (or two!) turned-out freaks, posing or on the dance floor, to watch and admire.

Talk about all dressed up and no place to go. As the cabbie sighed in his seat, waiting for us to get out, I hurriedly directed him to the east village, thinking, 'surly there's a place, some place, to go.' We got out on Bowery. Beige night. Ick. Peeked in. Ick. We kept walking. And as we walked and the giant new construction at Houston began to dwarf us, I suddenly felt so sad. Like such a stranger, in this, my neighborhood. For while I haven't lived in the EV in several years, I still, like many of us, claim it as mine. But it felt so foreign and forbidding.

You know when you just have your mind set on a particular thing, and it doesn't work out the way you wanted? That can be fatal for me. I was sooo in the mood for revelry. But had no idea where to even begin to look for it. Mainly because, probably, it's just that I'm so much more domestic these days, and I *am* out of the loop, and maybe there really are amazing things going on somewhere. And I just don't know about them. Even still, no matter, my getting older, my (albeit it happy) domesticity, my growing un-relation to New York City suddenly hit me all at once. It was a shock. "I don't want to be one of those sourpusses, always down on the city. That's not ME." But maybe it is. We walked a little further and finally shrugged, and in our party clothes, we hailed the next taxi for home.

Got in and I went online in search of an obit for Happy Valley and found the following piece that I had missed when you posted it under Crackdown Chi Chi. Sort of hit home:

Fly Life
Halloween triggers another hellish series of misfortunes for New York nightlife
by Tricia Romano

November 6th, 2006 4:28 PM

All dressed up, nowhere to go
photo: Tricia Romano

During Halloween week clubgoers got three really nasty tricks, with nary a treat in sight. On Halloween night, Avalon was abruptly shut down around 1 a.m. due to one of the spookiest laws in the city: The club's cabaret license, which allows you to allow dancing, had lapsed. The nightlife nightmare was only beginning: The next day, celebrated nightspot the Roxy was seized by the state due to nonpayment of taxes. And just when you thought it was over, Happy Valley's smile turned upside down when the East 27th Street spot was shuttered as part of a court battle with its landlord.

The latest misfortune to hit Avalon, forever known to clubbers of a certain age as the Limelight, adds to a long line of setbacks for the beleaguered institution"”which rose to fame in the '80s and '90s, when Peter Gatien ruled clubland with an iron fist. Cabaret licenses citywide expired at the end of September, but the club's mid-September temporary closure for nonpayment of taxes prevented director of operations Ricky Mercado and other club employees from getting inside the venue to obtain the documents needed to apply for the cabaret-license renewal. "There was no way to renew, because we couldn't get the original forms out of the book until ten days after they shut us down," he says. "It's a long process." After he could access his books again, Mercado spent the rest of September updating other paperwork before submitting for a cabaret renewal, which was finally received by the Department of Consumer Affairs on Thursday, two days after the shutdown. (It will take up 30 days to be approved.)

Mercado, a longtime nightclub operator who used to own Speeed and Opaline, took over Avalon's operations four months ago. He says the paperwork snafu was made more complicated because the club technically has two addresses: 47 West 20th Street and 660 Sixth Avenue, both ofwhich appear on different licenses and permits. But even though the club had no cabaret license, says lawyer Robert Bookman"”who represents both Avalon and the New York Nightlife Association"”the police didn't legally have the right to close the club that night. The proper procedure, he says, would have been to issue a summons and hold a hearing to determine whether or not the club was in violation: "It's called due process." NYPD assistant chief and spokesman Michael Collins says that police were within rights to shut Avalon down because the club was "dangerously overcrowded." But Susanne Bartsch, who was cohosting the Halloween party with Kenny Kenny, says they had not yet clicked over 1,200 entrees"”well under the club's 1,557 capacity.

Outside Avalon that night, a line of police officers stood at the front doors while dejected revelers poured out of the venue, frantically dialing friends on cell phones to find their next destination. They may have eventually gone to Motherfucker's Halloween party at the Roxy, which the next day suffered the fate Avalon did in September"”a shutdown triggered by nonpayment of taxes.

David Casey, director of the upcoming movie about Motherfucker, learned of the closure when he went to retrieve some film equipment Thursday and found the place plastered with "seized" signs. The Roxy has been fighting financial problems for the past year"”filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in December 2005 and arranging payment plans to dig out of the hole but, according to a club insider, soon falling behind again. Numerous sources say the club has to cough up $300,000 to the state before reopening. (Owner Gene Denino and manager Jason McCarthy did not return repeated calls for comment.) Meanwhile, former employee Scott Aguiar, who'd promoted a Friday night party at the Roxy, says he and his team were "forced to move" to Webster Hall in the meantime, though he says Denino hopes to reopen by this Friday.

Though Avalon has since reopened, the Halloween incident calls into question the new partnership between city officials and clubs touted at September's nightlife summit, which had evidently succeeded particularly in opening new lines of communication between club owners and police. As Bookman pointed out, the paperwork for Avalon was as incomplete at 2 in the afternoon as it was at 2 a.m. Why arrive to settle the dispute at the height of the club's Halloween party? It's just the kind of action that club owners have continually complained about.

Bartsch was distressed about the treatment she personally endured. When she went outside to meet her husband, David Barton, who arrived to help her close out the night, the police would not let her back in. Despite her repeated attempts to explain that she was a promoter and that her personal belongings were locked inside, they refused to allow her reentry. (She eventually snuck back in a half-hour later). "He was so disgusting," says a despondent Bartsch of the officer who denied her entry. "The policeman was willing to send me into the night without a handbag, without money, without keys." She pointed out the hypocrisy of these actions, considering that the city has been in such an uproar over women wandering the streets alone in the aftermath of Jennifer Moore's murder this summer, which took place after Moore was clubbing on West 27th Street. "They say they are trying to protect people, but it symbolizes how unreasonable they are," she says. "They are just out to get the clubs."

Mercado agrees: "It's just like they are saying, 'Nightclubs"”get the fuck out of New York City.'"

Bartsch"”like another promoter, John Blair"”got hit with a double whammy: Her party at Happy Valley is over now too. Blair, in the oddest and cruelest sequence of events, recently moved his Sunday-night gay bash from Spirit (closed under the Nuisance Abatement law) to Avalon (temporarily shuttered over a cabaret license) to Happy Valley (closed in a landlord dispute). So he now finds himself without a home. Again. In this game of musical chairs, the chairs are disappearing fast.

Happy Valley is the latest to lose the struggle between real estate interests and clubgoing interests. According to a source, the East 27th Street landlord is selling condos in the building but is having a hard time moving units because prospective buyers saw that their future lobby is currently a club. Bartsch released an e-mail statement over the weekend announcing the demise of both her party and the club itself: "The owners of the club lost the lease in a court battle with the landlord."

However, when reached by the Voice, co-owner Joe Vicari says, "We cannot comment on, confirm, or deny any of this at this time."

The Roxy, which has been around for more than 20 years, also sits on land that's increasing in real estate value by the day. It's perfectly perched in the up-and-coming West Chelsea area, where developers are aching to put in condos and high-rises. "The community doesn't want it anymore," Aguiar says of the Roxy. "Nobody wants an eyesore of a nightclub there."

Avalon has it still tougher. As a landmarked space, it is nearly impossible to modify"” while the interior can be altered, the outside of the building has to be preserved. And even then, prospective buyers are hesitant to deal with the legalities of such a landmarked space. "The place will either be abandoned and deteriorate, or it'll be a nightclub," Blair says. "That's the truth of the matter."
Last edited by Michael Madison
Madgely that is so well written and mournful.
No you are not hallucinating nor growing bitter.
New York has changed forever.

I totally enjoyed the recent article by Guy Trebay in the NY Times, which I will not post here in entireity, only to say that Debbie is quoted as referring to downtown and the East Village as looking like a "penal colony."

For entire article,
Google on NY Times:

December 21, 2006
The Low Life and High Life, Hand in Hand

"....There are plenty who maintain that the streets of New York continue to serve as a rich source of design

Perhaps that is so. Yet a person could be forgiven for questioning whether Lou Reed would be moved to write "Walk on the Wild Side" by the Bugaboo platoons massed in Washington Square or whether the designer
Stephen Sprouse's fabled graffiti collection would ever have happened had Dondi and his fellow Wild Style writers not gotten there first.

"The economy has changed, and the downtown values, with rent control and cheaper housing, gone," Deborah Harry, the lead singer of Blondie, lamented not long ago. "What's
happened with the growth of N.Y.U. into the East Village is the whole student look has taken over," added the singer, whose disheveled punk Marilyn look evolved from a yeasty downtown scene where Dumpster and
thrift shop pickings were still rich, and where old clothes had not yet been rebranded as vintage and sold at Bloomingdale's. "Downtown is starting to look bland, like a penal colony," Ms. Harry said. "To me that's one of the worst things that have happened in New York."

Is it willful to lament the loss of the style that drag queens, hookers, hustlers and pimps once brought to
big cities? It probably is. Yet, as the long-delayed film, "Factory Girl" finally makes it to select theaters
late this year, it seems reasonable to point out that the look of both the real (biologically speaking) and
pretend girls at Andy Warhol's Factory was largely the invention of speed-addled transvestites with ash-blond dye jobs and 25-cent lipstick from subway vending machines.

And the gaudy 1980's styles now undergoing a loving revival among fashion types in London and Paris owe a
substantial debt to the hookers who once worked a stretch of Eighth Avenue known as the Minnesota Strip.

As little survives of that place and time as of Kabukicho, the district in Tokyo that Mr. Watanabe recorded just before its love hotels and hostess bars were plowed under to make way for high-end real estate. The
drag queen geishas, the rockabilly rent boys are gone from Kabukicho. So, too, are the Times Square sex
workers whose damaged poignancy was preserved by the photographer Joyce Baronio in her classic book "42nd Street Studio." The notorious gay theaters are gone. The hustlers and prostitutes rarely bother with the
streets. Why should they? In an age of online hookups, who needs to merchandise the goods with curb appeal?
With the relentless demolishing of the low buildings of New York and all the LUXURY (which has come to mean nothing but "expensive") I find the opening of the Rapture Cafe on Avenue A hugely uplifting. At the opening party on December 13th, that feeling was palpable in the crowd. A lot of us are sort of grandfathered in by what's left of the rent stabilization laws and while we're still here, I think it is so important that we make the effort to come together as much as we can, and that place is exactly what we need. I tend to be more and more of a hermit but I'm going to make myself go and hang around that damn bookstore. I know New York has always been in flux, but everyone can see that the current demolish and build thing is the biggest one any of us have ever seen, and there is a difference between this one and anything before, which is that this is really the first time that practically all of the demolishing is done to make way for more rich people and very little else, even in what were always poor neighborhoods. And since most of the new buildings really do look flimsy and poorly built, it also reflects an underlying hopelessness in general. Nothing is intended to last, it seems. There were always rich and poor in New York, and there was beauty every where. Just walk on the Lower East Side or the East Village and look at what were always low income houses, and over so many doors and windows are the most beautiful terracotta faces. In photographs from the 30s taken in those neighborhoods, you see all of the working class people on their stoops, under the gazes of those same terracotta faces, and most of those buildings had no history of being meant for anyone with means to live in. The new "luxury" buildings don't have even a whiff of anything comparable. We must stick together and perhaps decide where the hell to go once the laws finally change and we're all squeezed out. Any among us who actually do own their places probably won't want to stay when that happens anyway.
Well you won't catch me living in one of those overpriced glass Leggo houses, despite my moniker!

I've tried to find my outlet in other sources of creative inspiration NYC still offers, namely the finest theatre in the world, art openings, occasional concerts, the Metropolitan Opera and the once-in-a-while "parlor games" of family gatherings, like the opening of Rapture. I would not get any of those things in, say, Denver, where I grew up or for that matter in 99% of the cities in this country. What I used to derive from a night at Jackie 60 or Boy Bar or the Pyramid I now seek in season tickets to the Brooklyn Academy of Music, for example (the upcoming season featuring Ian McKellum as King Lear!!!!!!!!!) Undoubtedly part of this change is due to the homogenization of our blessed town, but in all honesty part of it is just me. The clubland of yesteryear will always be with me. But I lived that dream, and now I dream of other things, like a writing career and a summer place in the south of France. And as much as I got from the freakiness and performances and "living art" of NYC nightlife, a substantial part of my agenda back then was also about imbibing and scoring fresh trade. Even if I were single again tomorrow I doubt that I could go back to that approach. If there's one or two bars I like to go to now and then, that's good enough for me. So it's not for myself that I feel bitter ... it's the kids coming here now, seeking dirty, exciting, out-of-this world experiences who will come here and find ...... what?
Oy gavelt! Was at P & S Fabrics on Broadway near Franklin to get some findings that one just can't find anywhere else . . . and they had those banners hanging all over the place: Going Out of Business, Liquidating*, etc.

This fabric store had EVERYTHING - fake monkey fur, beads, grommet setters, everything . . . it was an incredible resource. How much stretchy sequin fabric have I bought there?

Closed on Saturdays, this place was an old school New York Yiddish store . . . the guys who worked there forever, never batted an prayer shawl when a bleached-haired, finger-nail painted, eye-liner-residued, draggoon (moi)marched up to the counter with an arm full of pink flouresent fun fur. P&S is ike Yentyl meets Dragzilla, and a customer is a customer.

I forget which stitch-withch drag queen first reccomended it to me. Ethyl or Agosto or maybe Madame . . . but 2 out of 3 of those legends are gone now too.

But now with P&S's demise, I don't know where I'll go when I need some thingamajib. I never needed another place; they had everything. I wonder where Messy Carly Simon is going to go to by her camel-hair cloth now? Oh dear!

Speaking of charming old NYC, did anyone see the article on Holiday Coctail Lounge in the Times on Sunday, City Section. That place is pickled . . . and will last as long as the owner does (but it will be a Chipolte Mexican before long).

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 have been trying to put my finger on it.

I started thinking that NYC today is all hurry and hussle, but no NYC has always been hurry & hussle - but what I realized was that the finesse is missing. There used to be a dance to the the hurry an hussle when one was weaving one's way down a busy sidewalk.

The horror stories that barrrell down the sidewalk today - four abreast- don't get the dance . . . 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 . . .

but when you take thousands upon thousands of SUV drivers, bring them to the city -- one can't expect them to make nice as pedestrians. They are graceless energy hogs running over whatever gets in their damn way. Oy vey.

* Note To Sweetie: No, "Liquidating" does not mean peeing on the guy who buys your dinner.

xo Haps
As that Asian queen who used to run that boutique on Grove Street in the West Village would say, "Hattie, I'm in the rag biz!"

NYC was all about the rag biz from bolts of fabric to the finished item... and all those places are going or gone. That used to be one of the wonderful things about Manhattan-- clothing was cheap, "I can get it for you wholesale." Now all the cheap wholesalers are leaving, so expect the prices to rise. Thank you WTO!

Yes, Hapi... no finesse!

Here is an example:

When the old Jewish or Italian shopkeepers would give you your change, they would put the coinage in the palm of your hand first and then the bills. This insured that you wouldn't spill the coins all over the place, and also so that you would get the hell out of the way so they could make another sale.

Now observe how it's done today... the bills and a receipt are thrown into your hand first and then the change is tossed haphazardly on top so it is sure to slide right off the bills and spill on the floor. No finesse. No care. And why should they care anyway? They don't own the store. The Jewish and Italian shopkeepers are long gone and Sam Wall or his brother owns the joint. If you don't believe me, clock it next few times you go shopping!

No finesse.
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