07 January 2008

I Did Some Time On The Lower East Side

from Gothamist:

"New York magazine's cover feature is all about crime in the Big Apple. There are a number of articles, from getting the murder rate to zero (last year it was at the lower in 40-plus years with 494 murders) to those Criminals Gone Wild videos and a look at the violence plaguing Brownsville. But most intriguing is Adam Fisher's personal account of getting mugged in Bushwick.

Fisher moved to Bushwick because it was "the New York I was searching for—a scrappy loft neighborhood full of young bohemians camping in their studios. This was the pre-gentrified New York I wanted to be a part of." Though "bleak, rubble-strewn," Fisher enjoyed the grittiness - until he was mugged and beaten at the Morgan Avenue L subway station. Hit with either a pipe, two-by-four, or butt of a gun, Fisher was robbed of $28, suffered a broken upper jaw and split
lip, and decided to move to San Francisco."
“I’m not quite the same person I was. Blight, graffiti, empty buildings—the signifiers of every artsy New York neighborhood for the last 40 years—have lost the romantic appeal they once held. I carry a knife now, a small utility blade that I picked up at the hardware store. And when friends of mine get nostalgic for the bad old days, when lofts were cheap and New York was edgy, I tell them that it’s all still there, if you know where to look. ”

Funny because a lot of people really don't realise this; a lot of people don't realise how mortified they'd be if only they could see photos of the streets they feel so comfortable on "these days" from years ago - some as little as six or seven years ago, even.

I was a bouncer at a bar on a main L.E.S. drag where years ago the only reason you'd go down that way was to buy heroin, look for a lost friend on heroin or maybe see Huasipungo at ABC.

Once and a while kids would get stuck up down that way in the wee hours after last call because they thought it was the all-new Times-Square-Minnesota-Mall-of-America New York City everywhere they went.

And ladies, I'd hate to be so brash, but there are some places where its still not safe to traipse to the bodega in your little ballerina slippers at 4:30 in the morning. It is not advised.

Always remember it is still New York City. It will never be Minnesota. It will never be Oxford, Nebraska. No matter who the mayor is. So act like you know.

Banks, cafes and boutiques on Avenue C? These guys don't give a fuck.

Don't get me wrong I don't want New York to be a dangerous, awful place. And for as nostalgic as I may be for how it used to be here, I am not longing for the NYC that was portrayed in, say, Crocodile Dundee or something, but at the same time all the NYU transplants from Alton, Kansas need to realise not every street has been gentrified just yet. We've still got a few housing projects to go before they're all collapsed into the East River and we're meeting for brunch on Sunday at the Loisida Bistro. Be patient, kids!

Until then, keep your chin down, keep your hands up and keep those fists balled tight.

Did I miss brunch?

1 comment:

Ruby McNeil said...

true on that...amen...I don't want it to return to what it was with the violence, but maybe this recession will make the nyu kids leave and so rent will become affordable again at least...