Tuesday, January 30, 2007


astor place 2007
Originally uploaded by madabandon.

This building now occupies the space where a parking lot once was, next to the old Carl Fisher building across from the cube at Astor Place. It looks ridiculous, this glass behemoth, slick and corporate in the heart of what once was a thriving counter-cultural community. Sadly, the East Village is like most of Manhattan now, populated by finance-industry types and trustafarians, with Duane Reades and Starbucks on every other corner, and expensive restaurants to feed the well-heeled clientele.

In the "Styles" section of the Sunday NEW YORK TIMES there is a piece about a Brooklyn artist and his purchase of a $25,000 watch, and how much joy it gives him. I wanted to scream when I read it. Since when does an artist care about such things? Since when does an artist have $25,000 for A WATCH???? And another article, in Friday's paper, documented the difficulties owners of country homes have trying to repair their SubZero refrigerators and Viking stoves. Poor things.

New York City as I know it, the city that I felt drawn to since childhood, is disappearing. Yes, we are happy that crime is down and that the streets are clean. But the only ones enjoying it are the wealthy. Since when do you meet any young artists? There is nowhere for them to live. I don't want to spend the rest of my life in such a place. I came here for the community of artists that didn't exist in Chicago, or Philadelphia, or the other places I'd considered living.

Ironically, the head of our school held a meeting yesterday in which he announced the board of trustees' commitment to substantially raising faculty compensation and benefits. While this is welcome news, the kind of people that made my school so great--not bankers or lawyers or CEOs--will no longer be here, and I don't want to be teaching the overindulged children of the bloated money generation. My values would be lost on them.

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