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With gratitude to S'tan, who began this epic discussion here, and all those who have contributed to past editions, part 4 of Farewell Charming Olde New York begins.

If you are new to the discussion, catch up with Part 3

There is the expected but still tragic news of the Chelsea Hotel becoming another $800 a night boutique hotel. I'll be back with some links shortly, still shedding tears over this one, as all who ever lived at the Chelsea must be.
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The hotel sector of the city's economy is a kind of mafia. They generate their own statistics and so it never shows the sector doing badly, only that demand for rooms keeps going up. This is the only convenient thing the hotels need to cite as they steadily raise their 'rack rate' rooms, which during peak tourist season now easily average considerably more than $300 a night. The only adversary the hotels really face anymore are their labor unions. I worked a large event last February at the midtown Hilton, the largest hotel in the city. An impending strike by the hotel workers' union was narrowly avoided. The hotel had actually spent $100,000 dollars on pine trees it was going to place around the ground floor of the hotel so guests could not look out to the street when the anticipated strike protests started. What the hotel did with those trees I don't know, since the strike was averted maybe the Hilton family donated them to the LA County Jail.
My friends were so happy with the rates and quality of the Chinatown HolidayInn... now it's getting converted to a luxury hotel just like all the rest. Sheesh!

Hotel rates here are so wacky. The "Howard Johnson Express" on Houston is one of the best deals around.. and it's a stinky deal. It's very bare bones dreary place. When my mom stayed there a while back it was nearly $200 on weekdays and over $200 on weekends. I hear it has gone up since then. If that dump is so expensive then anyplace with atmosphere is really sky high.

I guess the best thing to tell friends is to stick with discount sites. Most of those large hotels are probably full of guests who were discounted either through a tour package, a corporate group rate, or an Internet discount booking. It's all tiered, just like nightclubs.
My mother likes the Washington Square Hotel when she comes to town. It's a scenic walk from our apartment and she adores the small, Art Deco historic feel of the place, though she's the laid-back, undemanding type who would be fine at any decent Motel 6. One of their nicer rooms runs about $350-$450 per night. Not exactly cheap but arguably a bargain in the city's current hotel market. But because it's a small place, rooms are scare so booking well in advance is recommended. I hear it's popular with the parents of NYU students who come to visit their kids.

On one of Mom's future visits I want to investigate the red brick building on Bowery & 4th Street that supposedly is an Eric Goode-designed hotel. It's one of the few new buildings that I actually admire and am curious about. But I'm sure I'll end up balking at the price.
The Gershwin still has some quite reasonable rates. I checked in there for two nights last summer during the 100+ degree heatwave (I had no air conditioning at home). I got an adorable little room with wood flooring, a little wood writing desk, the bed was perfectly comfy, and the bathroom had the old white tiling with an occasional black one dotting the walls. It was $65 per night during the week. I always think of Gershwin as Chelsea's wallflowery little sister.
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You cannot beat the Larchmont for location! I lived there for a month when it was first converted from an SRO to a hotel (1996). Then it was $40. a night.
They upgrade every year, and finally have a good elevator. (I think there's one or two old guys still living there!) They also have full kitchens to share.

The bathrooms are shared, but I have never seen them dirty. Maids are in there all the time.
But don't take a room on the first floor in the winter. The heating was terrible and the windows drafty.

Another great place to stay is the Carlton Arms on East 25th. Every room is painted differently by an artist. There's a famous "Submarine Room" by Brian Damage. On the premier etage the shared bathroom has an incredible mosaic tile, floor to ceiling... It looks like a Kenny Sharf. (by Phillipe Dawkins) They did not have working phones in the rooms, just a buzzer to let you know you have a call in the lobby, but that doesn't matter anymore with cell phones.

They had some old guys living there from the days it was a SRO too. Find them sitting in the lobby with the German tourists.

The rate was $320. a week in 1998.
They made you move out after 25 days so you couldn't become one of the bums.

... it's still there and it's $75 a night now without private bath and $500+ for a week.

Go to 'Rooms' and scroll over the amazing looks...

One of the shared bathrooms on the top floor used to be painted all over with hieroglyphs, like the weird bathroom in "The Tenant," where the inhabitants went to pray...
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Thanks for the tip off S'tan.

Reminds me of the Ho-Jo's in Times Square where a burger with a soda cost $25.

This strip of the Bowery south of Astor Place to Houston is going to be the new Times Square South, with a boutique hotel recently opening, and still with a big selection of low end restaurants and shops to be bought out by developers. The crush of people on the sidewalk during the weekends is oppressive.
I went on a date on Sat - the geezer took me to Katsa - a morroccan tapas lounge - beautiful place. But filled up with B&T folks by 11pm (it ws a Sat!) But what shocked me more was the location bowery/Prince and how packed it was of a Sat night and how many lil spots there were there. Awful monster 'luxury condo's' but still allot of Bowery bums on the sidewalk - one was classic, in a beach chair with a small color tv playing a video game! - how he hooked that up and where I have no idea but there he was on the sidewalk chillin an playing with his bwoys! Am sure these scenes will soon fade.
My date was apt sitting this HUGE (prob unofficial) loft across the street. That was obviously an old commercial space with this gigantic outdoor play space. I am sure it won't be long till they are evicted to turn it into 'luxury' condo's.
Yeah, south of Houston and north of Delancey is the real battleground. The New Museum is putting its new home there. You get places like Crash Mansion (a self conscious tip to the Bowery?) located not far from one of the last SRO missions for homeless single men. Blocks lined with restaurant equipment wholesalers interspersed with shops catering to DJ's and a smattering of new luxury high rises financed out of Chinatown. This development will eventually march all the way down to Canal and the bridge, as if traffic on the Bowery down there wasn't impossible enough now.
A Crusties' warehouse.
No more disaffected youth panhandling on Ave A. instead of using mom's credit card. They will be offered free lodging at the warehouse which will be replete with complimentary cans of bud in brown sacks, a clothing boutique(everything in olive drab, pre-ripped and soiled), 'cafeteria' outfitted with dumpsters from Odessa and Veselka replenished daily with all the half eaten fare, a tattoo and piercing school where guests can volunteer their flesh for no-cost student assignments, and it is all sponsored by Parkbench the spray on stench of choice for the grungesters. But this is all only if NYU's hotel for students' dogs doesn't get approved by the zoning board.
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I walked by NYU Palladium Dorm on 14th Street the other weekend when it seemed that most of the students were moving.. it was this awful scene of excessive over indulgent parents of these girls who had this obscene abundance of branded goods...all trying to move whilst wearing short mini dresses and hiddeous high heels. I've never seen so much consumerism all in plastic NYU bins being wheeled to mom and dads cars. It was really sad, really pathetic and made me angry. How will any of these kids ever learn anything about themselves with this lack over self discovery this overly cosetted existence and no self reliance or resiliance. sad.
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Anna: Answer(sort of).
In NYU's W.4th St. institutional barracks for the sheltered today a young woman, actually the daughter of two NYU professors, had her face homicide-aly bashed off in her own apartment by her 'boyfriend' who later tried to commit suicide.

The souls of the afluent have so many susceptibilities.

Stepford fates.
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Even Barnes & Noble can't afford the East Village anymore! The Astor Place location, where I confess to have bought a book and magazine or two over the years, is closing as of December, because the rent is too damn high -- even for grotesquely huge, bloated billion-dollar mega-corporation. I knew the Union Square branch was hugely successful, but I assumed Barnes and Noble was like McDonald's or Starbucks: one on every block, regardless of the balance sheet of each individual branch. You know, "branding" and all that shit. My bad.

High Rents Chase Another Book Store Away, This Time a Chain
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I read that article too Lex. I think it said their rent was $1.5 million a year. Why would any self-respectng bloated corporate book company pay that, anyhow?

Someone has got to pass legislation to cap the rental situation in New York. What is someone going to pay for an East Village boite ten years from now? If they even have rentals.
S`tan we need you for mayor.
Otherwise it will be a million a month rent for a studio walk up. Your proposal has been overdue for so long, and it will probably never happen until the two landlords left that split the place between themselves decide not to compete against each other and just rake it in.

Barnes is facing the iron clad ROI factor as the publishing industry has only recovered from a 4 year shrinkage to a position that is profit and expansion flat. So booksellers, on the front line of the industry, can`expect any expansion in even their gross line on the budget. But something like Barnes moving out is the first canary in the mine signal the situation for even commercial real estate has hit an extreme limit. Take a long whif, that`s a hint of decay you smell in the air.
Not to mention, a brand that has previously hired bigoted store personnel who attempted beat T/G customers with bats...

"NYPost-May 17, 2001 -- Three transsexuals have sued Toys "R" Us, claiming they were threatened by bat-wielding workers while shopping for life-size Barbie Dolls last Christmas at the Bensonhurst store.

The three men-turned-women say they went to the Bay Parkway store Dec. 20 when a mob of workers called them "fags," "faggots," "homos," and "disgusting transvestites," and threatened to attack them with bats..."

I believe TrU lost the case, and was held liable by the court.
I am not a supporter of corperate anything and having said that, do any of us not buy from large corperate companies? Or patronize them? I think it is hard to do business in Amerika without rubbing up against some large corperations greedy ass.

And as for homophobes and their bad behavior it is everywhere even in this gay town that I live in.
Bobby I agree and I agree.

Thing is I loathe that my life is caught up in all of this ugly consumerism and globalism. It's really tough to drop out an not be part of it. Really. I totally work (a muggle day job) for 'the man' and so often support these large corporations with my dollar. But that said, when I can I will do my best to pick up a coffee from Rapture than Starbucks. Buy a gift of a gift certificate than more 'stuff' that you don't need. etc.
It's tough. It's also sad.
One thing I noticed in a large department/food store in europe recently was a whole section of the store marked, "Lokal." This section was stocked only with product produced in the local area by local food growers/producers. I thought that was a great feature. If you took that to the extreme there wouldn't be any more transglobal congolomerates dominating any market scene with mass produced schlock.
On they have something called "SchnabelWatch"... the artist Julian Schnabel has built a freaky pink fake Italian palazzo on West 11th and the river... claimed it would be an artists' community, "the rebirth of the salon." Then sold it off to standard boring money-men...

Who then just try to flip it for more millions.

It's not like the rich need to get any bloodie richer.
If he really wants to make it an "artist's salon," he might still move a dozen artists into the place and charge them zero rent. And not even see his bank account go blip.

Here's a nice pic of it... I kind of like how demented it looks.

Come on Julian, give back to the starving artists.
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Here's my short list of deserving artists who need free rent in New York,
in order to stay put and maintain the Zeitgeist -- Julian, prepare for the moving vans.

Foxy and Romy - 2 living spaces and a state-of-the-art Goodie office.
They will dedicate the next Goodie to Julian.

Verbal Abuse Magazine office (share with Goodie.)
We will not dedicate the next VA to Julian.

Chambers for Seven and assorted paramours.
Seven will serve as sardonic Court Jester to curb selfish interests, and will thereby surreptiously channel fundage for all projects
relating to LES culture.

Space for Helin Rhiannon and her enormous dressing-table.
Big enough to house itinerant trannies on the rise in New York.

Rehearsal Chambers and living space for Beaut, Marti and Twinkle.

Artist space for Bernd Naber who is losing his Brooklyn loft.
Need enormous space for gigantic acrylic sculptures.

Space for my server,
Extant since 1995 and always moving.

Flloyd's Penthouse and Dungeon.
Free sessions for life to you-know-who.

Chambers, with adjoining locked cell,
for Rene Ricard -- even if he did smash up JS's Bentley

Ground Floor space for Rapture Cafe, with enhanced performance area

Visiting Artist's quarters (for me, Bobby Miller, Jackie Bigelow, etc.)

Okay that should take care of the empty spaces, and fill the swimming pool too.

This is one of the best ideas I've heard of yet!

I've been viewing that 'palazzo' for the last few weeks when I take a breather from biking on the west side bike path. It does look quite incongruous and kind of stuck in between a group of sheer glass towers right next door. Actually, you can't really get much of a view of the whole thing because the streets there are rather narrow. Part of the city's charm is its dysfunctions and this is just another one albeit one that is far less consequential than most. If Egomeister hand picks his tennants and they are all Bonos that means the neighbors will soon have to cope with gaggles of paparazzi on a daily basis.

The totally fawning puff piece in New York Magazine had a cotton candy taste to it.

I think I would make a great court jester/tauntmaster for the whole block, thanks S'tan.
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