Monday, February 26, 2007

Mainstream media on the destruction of Williamsburg: at Verb Cafe, "It's like lunchtime at Oberlin College."

Matt sends us a link to this incredibly solid article on the death of Williamsburg--from the Washington Post. When I got out of B-burg three years ago, it was like the glowing embers of condoization had just reached new supplies of air and fuel. What the article doesn't point out is that the condo boom was fueled by (if not started by) Hasidim and Poles (etc) trying to make a buck off the newfound hipness of their ghetto.

I loved the Verb Cafe comment; when I doodled there I could always find a seat. But my dad would liken any neighborhood where people go out of the loft in pajamas all weekend to the "fake world" of college. I would have to agree with him there.

The Village and Williamsburg have proven that New York is not invincible. When the coolest neighborhoods are sanitized and turned into playgrounds for the super-rich, I fear for my home. I fear even more for the talented and intelligent youth who now have nowhere cool to hang out--the village lasted decades before being turned into condos. Billyburg only lasted five years.

We gave what Dan Meade calls the "Upper Frat Side" the cold shoulder for decades (even while he and I went to high school there). But now the rich frat boys are coming down from their towers and colonizing more of the city. What neighborhood will they price us out of next? How will a smart kid who's not rich experience the city if there's nothing to experience?

And when and if I return from exile, how will I go about living in a real neighborhood? College Point just started looking really good.

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I'll continue to ponder the role of the artist in reviving and ruining cities. This article makes that process seem even more obvious.

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1 Comments:

Blogger djm said...

ever see Metropolis (1927) or read The Time Machine (1895)?

this shit has been going since before our parents were born. the poor will live underground and make the shinning cities work while eating the flesh of baby post-yuppies

we should move to detroit and buy up property now. or has the 8 mile reinvention started already?

10:42 PM  

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