Friday, December 19, 2008

Jane Protest on Bowery

Last night, a handful of residents from the Jane Hotel, formerly the Riverview, stood outside the Bowery Hotel to fight against harassment and eviction. In their small but sturdy ranks, while Bowery swells sneered and scoffed at them, as cops threatened to arrest them, they quietly held up signs and passed out fliers that said: "Eric Goode and Sean MacPherson, You may own a fancy hotel, but... You are still slumlords!!! Shame on you!"

They will be protesting again tonight at 7:00 outside the Waverly Inn (see report) and they welcome you to join them.

Goode and MacPherson are the entrepreneurs behind the Waverly Inn, Maritime Hotel, and Bowery Hotel. They bought the 211-room Jane Hotel in January 2008 and immediately began eviction proceedings. First went the transients, the protesters told me, including elderly, physically and mentally disabled, poor, and otherwise less-than-fortunate New Yorkers who made their home at the SRO.

"I asked the hotel staff what was going on," one protester said. "I mean, these guys I knew for 10 years, and they said, 'We can't say anything about it or we'll be fired.' But we knew what was happening. People were being preyed upon."

The permanent tenants, some paying as much as $1,000 a month for a room without a bathroom or kitchen, began to go next. But some have stayed to fight. Today, there are 38 people in the tenants' association, but many are afraid to stand up for themselves. Only 5 showed for the protest last night--mostly artists and musicians. They said, "We know we'll be harassed for this."

One woman showed me a book of photos of hallways under construction with crumbling walls, exposed wires, rats, open jugs of toxic chemicals. "This is how we've been living for the past year. With them banging on our heads all day and night. And do you know what they do? These snooty people tell us, 'Shhh...we have guests.' They tell us to shush!"

Much like the hotels Chelsea and Breslin, the Riverview attracted a clientele of artists and eccentrics, the people who once thrived in New York City. The hotel was originally built in 1908 as The Seaman's Institute for the purpose of housing seamen and later, briefly, gave refuge to the survivors of The Titanic. It is a landmarked building.

In the Observer, the proprietor of Socialista, the hotel's trendy basement club, looked forward to the current renovation, saying, “That hotel has so much potential... They’re going to bring a great crowd to the neighborhood."

The tenants from last night's protest see it much differently. Said one, "It used to be a good place to live. Nothing fancy. Just friendly. Now it's full of assholes. They come in and out of Socialista, screaming 'fucking faggot' at people and peeing on our door."


Anonymous said...

So sad to see this fixture of the waterfront, last home of countless stevedores, go the way of everything else that mattered and lay down at the feet of the almighty dollar. Anyone old enough to remember NY Hardcore will no doubt remember the "Rock Hotel" shows at the Jane. NY Today sucks a*s, d*ck and b*lls but not in a good way.

Anonymous said...

J, I was sad to read this. For years, I lived near it. Am glad I'm far away from what once was a wonderful neighborhood. The Waverly Inn and the Beatrice Inn are now feeding troughs for celebrities? What is in the parking lot across from the hotel now?

Larvik said...

Not sure if one has to be "old enough" to remember NYHC, as it still exists to this day. In fact I am going to see Absolution and Vision at the Knitting Factory this weekend. There are many venues in NYC (alot of them in Brooklyn and many not legal) that have hardcore shows. But all that said, yes I remember the Rock Hotel shows. Saw the cro-mags there....maybe Youth Of Today as well.

Anonymous said...

maybe Manhattangeleno should change his comment to make it more relevant to David's tin ear.

"Anyone old enough to remember NY Hardcore will no doubt remember the "Rock Hotel" shows at the Jane. Thankfully we've all grown up & realized that NYHC is just some blatantly bad music made by wannabe thugs."

Anonymous said...

Anonymous - well it's pretty clear that you know fuck all about what you are talking about. While some hardcore is played by wannabe thugs and actual thugs the overwhelming percentage of bands and people involved in the scene are thoughtful, politically and socially engaged, caring people that are involved in a true sub culture that celebrates DIY culture, individuality,independence, and overall awareness of the world around them. I don't expect you to get this as you seem to have "grown up" now and prefer to paint with a very broad brush something that means alot to many people, and maybe yourself at one point. In short, get a clue please.

Marjorie said...

I think I took a photo of the Riverview that you are talking about and put it on my blog several months ago. You can see it here:
(see it with a cut and paste)
It's the hotel on the right, no?

Anonymous said...

NY is dead. It's been dead since 911.
For some reason people from rural areas and west coast towns moved here and tried to change it after 911. they all suck.

Marjorie said...

Sorry that link did not enter completely... here it is:
Try a cut and paste to see it.

Anonymous said...

I've always felt the same way!