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And just three blocks down Second Ave from St. Mark’s Church, the Ukrainian Street Fair — the most non-generic street festival in all of NYC — is on East 7th St. between Second Ave. and Cooper Square. Adorable kids folk-dancing in costume! Pierogies! Goes through the afternoon, don’t miss!
There’s a great article in this week’s Villager on my Model Block project, which will bring environmental upgrades to a block of East 4th Street. Model Block will provide residents and storeowners with new energy-efficient appliances which will reduce energy consumption, electricity use and expenses.
On a recent afternoon, Crusty Row was empty, save for a few parkgoers. Levent Gulsoy, 55, gazed toward the empty row of benches where the travelers used to gather. “That’s not a good sign,” he said. “When one species disappears, others tend to follow.” [NYT]
The Ukrainian Street Fair, the most non-generic street festival in all of NYC, is on East 7th St. between Second Ave. and Cooper Square. East Villagers, don’t miss out!
EV Grieve reports seven storefronts are vacant on the amazing block of East 7th Street between 1st and A, including two in this building where my grandparents lived in 1912, and where my father’s older sister, Aunt Kate — who turns 99 in October — was born.
Here are the rules: when you see that the rarely open garden to the left of St. Mark’s Church is open, you have to go in.
My front door. When I moved in, 12 years ago this July, it was tagged If I am guilty I will pay (a Bob Marley quote). That was soon painted over, and the door was generally pristine throughout the ’00s. Now, the ’90s have come back to East 9th St. — with an Internet twist.
This article would be better if it contained more detailed info about NYU’s plans to destroy the Village and East Village. What it does explain — buried near the end — is scary: NYU plans to “demap” a big chunk of the area south of Washington Square Park, my emphasis:
Last week, for instance, she spent more than two hours in P.S. 41’s auditorium, acting as buffer between neighborhood residents and the lawyers she’d brought along to explain N.Y.U.’s latest land-use proposals, which include demapping stretches of Bleecker, LaGuardia, West 3rd and Mercer Streets, and changing the zoning of areas to the south and east of Washington Square Park. The demapping proposal—which would deliver the land to N.Y.U.—was the first one to elicit hisses from the audience. The presentation was interrupted intermittently thereafter by boos and angry questions.
Make no mistake, they are going to be tearing down homes if they get their way:
At this meeting, the speakers were mostly older, and while some asked questions about the zoning plan, others gave prepared speeches about N.Y.U.’s wrong-headedness. The very last speaker said he lived at 15 Washington Place, and asked if N.Y.U. was going to tear down his building. Hurley replied that 15 Washington Place was “a site identified as one that could be converted.” In other words, yes, maybe.
The sad thing is, NYU did this once before, destroying the area above Houston between Laguardia and Mercer with the help of New York City. As Hurley, the NYU community flack tells it:
She also pointed out, consolingly, that N.Y.U. first took possession of the superblocks as part of a slum-clearing project in the 1950s, but that N.Y.U. was “not the one who bulldozed those blocks.”
She smiled broadly, for maybe the first time that night. “That was Robert Moses.”
Hah, “consolingly” - nice one. Here’s what actually happened, as narrated by Marc Eliot in Death Of A Rebel (a bio of Phil Ochs):
The first warm breeze of spring  brought the announcement by the City of New York that a nine-square-block area of Greenwich Village, from Third Street to Houston, from Mercer to La Guardia, had been condemned. It was seen as no less than peacetime ethnocide by the Italian and German residents, and spelled financial ruin for the neighborhood merchants. The store owners formed a group and obtained legal counsel. After a long, bitter, and confusing fight in the city’s courts, it looked as though the people had won their battle. The condemnation order was thrown out. Relative calm was restored in the community, only to be shattered once again six months later. The city machinery moved quietly, political oil keeping the parts from squeaking. New York obtained a higher-court reversal—the condemnation order became law.
Curiously, it was later discovered, the city paid seven dollars a square foot for the condemned property and sold it at fifteen dollars per to New York University. By then, it was too late to stop the derricks that bit into the generations of Greenwich Village homes and destroyed the century-old neighborhood. The families were relocated, dissipated throughout the five boroughs.
Go look at the ugly, Brutalist towers standing in that area now that replaced the historic section. Do not be charmed by NYU’s community relations flacks whose job is “explaining why and how the school will go forward with its buildings anyway,” ugh. Their goal is to expand the area described above and turn it into their campus, destroying a historic neighborhood in the process. The Cap article quotes NYU as saying they “cannot let space constraints limit its academic ambitions.” No, they can’t, but we can.
(image from EV Grieve)
It would sound strange that I’d think the biggest loss in the East Village would be a Dunkie’s. But the one on Second Ave. between 10th and 11th was one of the nicest neighborhood amenities ever. Where else could you sit on the sidewalk with free wifi, or at a counter by their picture windows in winter, and look out onto one of the oldest buildings in New York City, St. Mark’s Church (built in 1799, and just imagine everything it has seen grow up around it for over two centuries). Dunkin’ Donuts has great coffee, and though the donuts themselves are not on anyone’s health diet, the chain also serves low-cost, low-calorie fare like a turkey sausage egg-white sandwich on whole-grain flatbread. Now the landlord will split the space, and you can be sure that whatever comes in will very likely not include the option to sit on that sidewalk or counter with your laptop, sipping good coffee and eating a cheap, healthy sandwich in the shadow of St. Mark’s Church. Bye, Dunkie’s!
I moved here in July 1999, so as of tomorrow I’ll have technically lived in this apartment during three different decades. I was charmed by the view onto East 9th Street. Nice end to the decade!
Don’t ever let them tell you print is dead. The new Manhattan White Pages are here! (Yes, I’m listed in the phone book.)
Reenacting the Filipino prisoners’ tribute to Michael Jackson at the Dia de los Muertos festival at St. Mark’s Church in the East Village.