There's still some time to see the Vanished Spaces exhibit at ABC No Rio, today and tomorrow only. It's a fascinating look at the homegrown artist spaces that once thrived in the East Village and Lower East Side, only to be destroyed, mostly by gentrification.
Here's a sneak peek.
Julius Klein's XOXO was at 19 Second Avenue, across from Mars Bar, from 1990 - 1997.
It was demolished to make room for the massive, sprawling, hollow-eyed Avalon luxury apartment complex. In its space today is Blue Ribbon Fried Chicken, complete with a view of another luxury apartment complex and a TD Bank where Mars Bar used to be.
Gas Station / Space 2B stood on 2nd Street and Avenue B from 1986 - 1995, when it was evicted (thanks to a 900% rent increase) and demolished. Wrote the Times at the time:
"For 10 years, the Gas Station, with its towering sculpture built from discards ranging from a 1970 Plymouth Valiant to department store mannequins to television sets, has been a symbol of the Lower East Side's Bohemian ways and artistic resolve."
It was a gorgeous, haunting sight, a space filled with creativity and chaos. Now it's a Duane Reade.
See these and many more at the Vanishing Spaces show--this is the final week. To get in the mood, watch Rik Little's documentary of No Se No and Rivington School. And to think the neighborhood used to be a stimulating and alive place to be.