Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Atlas to UPS

Back in May, the Atlas Barber School was forced out of its Astor Place location due to hiked rent after training barbers and offering cheap haircuts since 1948.



What's taking its place? A UPS store. Another national chain takes the place of a small, historic local business in the East Village.



Around the corner, at 51 Astor Place, the Death Star towers, dark and hulking. Has it already begun sucking the life force from our neighborhood? What will be its ultimate impact?



22 comments:

Caleo said...

We all know the answer to your question. The onslaught will continue unabated.
To quote Nick Zedd :"accepting the ugliness of gentrification and becoming more isolated as the city became a party to which I wasn’t invited."
I was disinvited from the party around 2003, although you could see the new guests arriving before that.
When I moved here in 1988, I immediately felt as though I belonged, as if I was meant to be here, had always been here.
Now, I'm the stranger in my own home, surrounded by the type of people and pseudo culture I was trying to get away from. And It's not going to get better any time soon. Maybe not in my lifetime.

Goggla said...

@Caleo - I have the same feeling. We need to form a commune. ;)

nygrump said...

I'm becoming familiar with the UN's Agenda 21 - according to an interview on WBAI, they have a covert presence in 100's of towns and part of their agenda is to replace mom'n'pop with transnationally owned companies.

esquared™ said...

On the destruction of mom 'n' pops stores, chainification, and suburbanization of NYC, and the willingness of its new residents for conformity -- I'd like to paraphrase a 'profound thought' from Muriel Barberry's Elegance of the Hedgehog: These new residents never look beyond their assumptions and, what's worse, they have given up trying to meet others; they just meet themselves. They don't recognize each other because other people have become their permanent mirrors. If they actually realized this, if they were to become aware of the fact that they are only ever looking at themselves in the other person, they'd go crazy. People lining up for brunch, Shake Shack, Apple products, etc. -- they are telling themselves their own life story and consuming at their own flavor. When people walk and text, they are contemplating their own reflection. Bloomberg homogenizing the city and banning things such as the 16ozs+. soda, he is ranting about his own reflection. Thus, they don't respect the past or the old or the unique individual, for when they walk by them, all they see is a void, because they are not from their world.

Anonymous said...

@esquared, I love that I'm still contemplating it, this is what I hate when people say, "before, there was nothing here" meaning we who already lived here, poor people, immigrants, people of color, etc did not exist now that there are other white twenty somethings there is "something" here, and then they just ignore each other anyway

onemorefoldedsunset said...

Yes, esquared! I want to live in a city populated by different types of people, where there's a random & beautiful variety, & where you have tangential, random encounters with people of all kinds, ages, income levels. And where your neighbors are sometimes like you, but just as often very different indeed. Where there's space for misfits, eccentrics & dreamers. Without that a city is half-dead.
But these are old dreams ...

Marty Wombacher said...

@Caleo: I felt the same exact way when I moved to NYC in 1993. In 2012, I lost my job, took a long look around me and moved back to Peoria. Peoria gets slammed all the time, but it's 99% hipster free and I'm liking it here. I had a blast in New York, but the shine definitely wore off for me in the last few years I was there. I still miss all my good friends there though, I wish them well and look forward to a return visit this summer. One funny thing I've noticed, Peoria doesn't have any 7-11's!

Anonymous said...

@ JANUARY 16, 2013 AT 4:05 PM

Yes. Well said. The East Village (that is, LES) did not begin and end with the rock/punk/Warhol/Reed/Harry/Byrne phase etc, although that was certainly a creative high point. The neighborhood has quite a history before that, and much of that is the history of waves of immigration, with remnants still visible. Also consider that at one time St Mark's Place was considered a street for upscale residence. So what's the real, authentic, East Village? A hybrid of all of that perhaps: low and high, every income level, every ethnicity, every style of music, art, culture...

- East Villager

Andre L. said...

Something that many fellow commentators seem to miss is that demands, tastes and the structure of economy shifts with time.

I'm not dismissing all complaints, but many on this blog adopt an attitude (on their comments, I don't know how they behave on their lives out them) of that grown-up adult who longs for his/her lost youth days and whines how about music/hairstyle/TV series/memes/everything was better "back in the day".

It is ironically cliché.

I bet if Internet existed in the 1960s, you'd read many people born in the 1910s and 1920s whining about how irrecognizable their city had become.

Let's take the case of barber shops: there have been tectonic shifts on how males in particular groom themselves. For a starter, facial hair is mostly out of fashion. But even if that wasn't the case, we have a plethora of home apparatus (electric shavers and the likes) that most males with facial hair use on their own homes, instead of losing time to patronize a barber shop.

These barber shops lost most of their function of social gathering places for often unsanitary service. They can't charge equivalent prices of they heydays. So they get booted out. No big deal, in my opinion.

I bet horse carriage-related shops were once very popular in Manhattan. And when the majority of population wore hats, probably there was a large number of establishments catering for that.

There is nothing wrong with change, actually there is much wrong with places that stick on time and become fossilized museums of attitudes, building façades, demographics and what else.

Jeremiah Moss said...

i think i need to read this Hedgehog book: "to be poor, ugly and, moreover, intelligent condemns one, in our society, to a dark and disillusioned life, a condition one ought to accept at an early age."

laura said...

my great grandparents, couldnt wait to get out of there, that was in the early 1900s. they all moved upstate, would never admit they lived on 9th& B, as it was short lived, very lower class, & filled w/russians. my father was born in the LES, in 1918 & the building is still stands. they moved to brooklyn. my mothers father & his 3 brothers lived @ 525 grand st. building still there. they were sheet metal workers @ 17/18/20yrs old. they didnt complain that the people werent cool near columbia st, or wore the wrong style jeans. there also was a migration which killed that area later in the 1950s, brought drugs, crime. thats why i cant relate to some of this blog, crap is crap. i myself was happy to leave as well, after a year & a half in a 5 flight walk up w/polish neighbors. btw, there were mansions on 2nd ave, they were torn down to build apt buildings. ok now you have a UPS, could be worse.

Uncle Waltie said...

When I moved here in 1970, I'm sure I displaced people who'd been living here long before me. Maybe now it's my turn to be displaced...

Anonymous said...

Andre you are oblivious.

We are losing EVERYTHING!

Our history, our future and our very soul.

Within ten years NYC will be a suburbanized mall. A place for chainstores and tourists.

This is not the lament of the old days " I remember when..."

This is wholesale hypergentrification

A land grab by major corporations and developers.

And it is a tragedy.

NYC is dead.

Anonymous said...

You elected Bloomberg 3 times, and now your complaining!

laura said...

anon (8:25)- you said it right. we are not against change, or a new demographic. its that we dont want "anywhere usa" to take over. yes, andre L (8:54) made some some good points, but i dont agree about building facades. we cant distroy all of the history.

rick mcginnis said...

"You elected Bloomberg 3 times, and now your complaining!"

Indeed.

Frankly, though, isn't the trajectory of gentrification well-established. First the prosperous neighbourhood, then the decline, then the revival as small, unique, creative businesses seize the opportunity provided by cheap commercial rents and a local clientele who avail themselves of the cheap residential rents. Media hype, rent increases, influx of upscale bars and restaurants that last as long as their first lease, then the colonization by well-financed chains. If you couldn't see that happening in the East Village, etc., years ago, then you had been ignoring history.

Look - 7/11 wouldn't want to be there if they didn't see a market. Ask yourself - who among your neighbours wants the seben-leben? Why would you want to frustrate them? And what alternative can you offer?

laura said...

if the 7/11's thrive in the EV, we have nothing more to discuss- that is the demographic. i would only go in that kind of place in an emegancy. if i need bottled water on a hot day, AND there wasnt a bodega w/in 1/2 block i would enter. hopefully the there would be water UN refridgerated. yes, once someone did stop there w/me, (in a car in another country), yes they had a small water room temp. i wonder if they do in NYC? 7/11 is a vile place. its 2nd to walmart, i give it a leg up as its smaller. get in get out. (OUT is the buzz word here).

Anonymous said...

Real New Yorkers didn''t vote for the emperor, the Midwesterner transplants did. They only had to be here 1 yr. to be eligible to vote and they of course selected the one who would enable and tend to their narcissistic and infantile needs. And once they tire or can no longer afford the expensive suburb that they transformed, they are now back to their own hometown suburbia. And us New Yorkers are stuck with the emperor for four more years and this suburbanized soulless city.

Anonymous said...

Bloomberg and Giuliani: two of the least cultured oafs around (Yankee games and horse shows don't count), leading one of the world's premier cultural capitals, for two decades. What do you think would happen? And yes, real NYers did vote for them, unthinking of the cultural consequences, of course. So clearly it's not all the fault of clueless 22-year-olds from Iowa City or wherever. As some others said, alas, it's the way of the world.

Anonymous said...

Bloomberg reminds me of Queen of Versailles.

Plus, he bought the election.

The New Yorkers who voted for him are the white and/or the riches.

Anonymous said...

Andre L.--
I assure you it's got nothing to do with pining for one's youth.

I sometimes find myself pining for the Village, East and West, as it was long *before * I was born. For one simple reason: The neighborhood, it's texture, its rents and its intellectual energy supported and welcomed struggling artists, writers, actors, and creative people of every age.

It's a different lament when someone from the 1920's wishes for their favorite watering hole or barber shop, after seeing it replaced in the 1960's---because the 60's place is still locally owned, has a one of a kind personality and the interaction with patrons is alive. It's still NYC.

Instead what's happened to us is that Starbucks has replaced the Rienzi's that nurtured Kerouac, Aldo's has replaced the Italian leather shops on 8th street and our local pharmacies which were once owned by people who lived upstairs from them and had fixtures from the turn of the century that represented local craftsmanship, has been replaced by CVS on every block. Faceless and alienated.

The 1920's guys weren't complaining that NY had become like Cleveland. Which it is now on track for being. With you rationalizing the race to blandsville, all along the way.

laura said...

anon 7:41 that was beautifully said. change has always been embraced in NYC. but those changes were unique to nyc, interesting. unfortuantly this is world wide, entire cultures are being alienated. food craftmanship tradition atmosphere creativity.