Friday, January 9, 2009

*Everyday Chatter

After being rescued once, the Cheyenne Diner is back on the market again. Somebody re-save it! Too big to cross the East River, writes Michael Perlman, the Cheyenne is for sale "on the condition that it be transported off the property ASAP, or the diner will be demolished within the next few weeks." Interested? Contact the committee:

The demolition of the Manhattanville section of Harlem is about to begin, as Columbia University gets ready to destroy, destroy, destroy. [QCrap]

Last November I wrote about the closing of Five Roses Pizza. Last week, a daughter of the original owner wrote in to The Villager to correct information. I thought her voice should also be heard here. She writes in her letter: "The fact is that the store’s current owner informed us that she was not going to continue running the store and that she would be closing. Since there was no discussion about future rent, her rent was not increased! She just decided to close." Upon the shop's closure, her family also displayed historic, personal photos in the window, as reported by EV Grieve.


boweryboogie said...

check it out dude. you were mentioned in the week's MIXED USE column in the Villager.

Mark said...

40 years ago, Columbia students literally shut down the university in protest when the school tried to pull a similar stunt in Morningside Park.

Where are today's activists?

Jeremiah Moss said...

thanks boogie! i still hope i'm wrong about the holiday.

Anonymous said...

Mark: Columbia students aren't protesting because we're not going to put our necks on the line for a gas station and a egomaniacal owner of some self-storage facilities.

From my understanding, Columbia has offered fair settlements to the neghborhood's building owners and tenants.

Far more than any other school in the Ivy League, Columbia commits itself to serving its home community: In 2008, 39 percent of its undergradutates identified as minorities, according to its Web site. (Twenty-eight percent of all students -- including graduate, professional and medical -- were minorities.)

Columbia also commits itself to being "need-blind" in its admissions.

Walk around Morningside Heights some time. Note the difference between that area -- which, I would argue -- Columbia has done a decent job at trying to preserve, not only architecturally, but also in terms of street life and a good mix of socio-economic backgrounds -- and compare that to a walk around NYU's home turf.

When it tried to construct seperate doors to enter its recreation facility for the mostly black community members, Columbia made a mistake. Its students fought that mistake.

But let's not conflate a self-storage facility and a filling station with the Civil Rights Movement.

Jeremiah Moss said...

the rhetoric about the gas station and the storage facility is a distraction that's been peddled over and over.

what's really going on here, at the core, is that a private institution is using its ample funds and influence, with support from the city and state, to steal private property from citizens.

even if they were taking a shit-processing plant, it's still government sanctioned theft of private property for another's gain.

please don't get distracted by the myth of "blight." it's a hung jury funded by columbia itself.

Anonymous said...

"40 years ago, Columbia students literally shut down the university in protest when the school tried to pull a similar stunt in Morningside Park.

Where are today's activists?"

They're all at Dive Bar and The Lion's Head getting drunk and trying to get laid. Not that loss of political awareness or desire to be proactive in politics (local or otherwise) is unique to Columbia Students. College students used to face down armed soldiers and cops to have their voices heard and some even gave their lives for it. Nowadays the only higher education institutions where students are willing to take a bullet for what they believe in are the service academies.

Although I must concede that the anonymous Columbia apologist does have it right on one account when he slams NYU. I'm not fan of moral relativity but the actions of both NYU itself and its insufferable party animal students make Columbia and its kids look like saints in comparison. When classes are in session any weekend (and many weekday) nights around NYU and its dorms are absolute horror shows.

Todd HellsKitchen said...

Oh SH!T i thought the Cheyenne was rescued already!

Kat&Corie said...

Though this sounds slightly grim, I enjoyed your link to the suicidal history of the empire state building. Few are bold enough to address something like that in their blog, and it was very interesting. Nice to see you're branching out.

Anonymous said...

At least we have New York preserved in movies. What is gone and forgotten can always be remembered through film.

When money rules everything this is what happens. A cold, desolate, bleak, boring, cloned, soulless atmosphere that is the Manhattan of today, and coming soon to the rest of the boroughs.

New York was always a place for the middle classes, or poor, there was always room for "everybody" here.

Even Harlem is totally gentrified, Take a walk on St Nick in the 120's and teens and it's called "SoHa"
with Gap like stores.

Unfortunately the only people who support this blog are the people disappearing from this city. Why would the yuppies be interested in this? They despise it.

Anonymous said...

Mark, kids today are selfish and don't respect older generations, that's why they don't give a damn about activism, unless it's for their own selfish needs. Kids today are soft as babies asses. Even the so called street kids in the poor neighborhoods, they can't pull their own weight either, everybody has one goal which is why they continuously fail, they all seek MONEY and what they see on MTV. What kind of goal is MONEY? That's not a goal. Think about it.

Anonymous said...

Well, Bob, Mark and Anonymous: I agree with you. Lots of young people seek the "fame" and fortune they fine on reality TV and in the oft-touted, vapid celebrity lifestyle played out every day on the increasingly homogonized streets of New York.

That said, let's certainly allow for some exceptions to the supposed rule. Not all students are at the bar, getting drunk and trying to get laid. I'm the original "Anonymous" poster -- the Columbia apologist -- on this thread. I'm a grad student who will be nearly $100,000 in debt by the time he graduates in May. (And that's all on my shoulders: No parents or trust funds to help pay it off.) I'm not pursuing an MBA, or an MD or a JD, so I'll never make big money. But I do hope to change the world -- even if it's only a small corner of the world.

I'm certainly not the only person at Columbia -- or NYU, or CUNY or even the community college down the street -- who hopes he can contribute something to this sad, old world.

So before you paint everyone with such a broad brush -- paint strokes that are, no doubt, based on what you see on television and the outrageous outliers, such as the puking Midwestern sorority girls along St. Mark's Place -- please know that some of us still know what matters.

There's not a lot of hope left around these parts. But there is hope.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous - your comment reinforces my distaste for the major private higher education institutions in the city. I think the idea of a 100K liberal arts education or anything short of an MD or JD is robbery. I am sympathetic and saddened by your situation: I have no such feelings about Columbia's. These institutions are raping our culture with enforcing eminent domain and chronic debt. Like the financial industry, this system desperately needs to be overhauled. - BN

Mark said...

I merely posed a question, and got the answer I was seeking:

"we're not going to put our necks on the line for a gas station and a egomaniacal owner of some self-storage facilities".

we all make our choices, don't we? just what do students put their necks on the line for anyway, these days?

as someone who has attended school or lived in Manhattan since 1969, my observation was not based on "what (I) see on television..." but on my life in the city I've loved and lost.

BTW, the plans, "back doors" and all, for the Morningside Heights gym had been approved for almost a decade prior to the event I mentioned. One of the great arguments of the day was in regards to the august institution's theft of public park land from the people it was intended for.

has much really changed? is it alright to steal someone's property, gas station or not, egomaniac or not, just because you can?

Anonymous said...

No one is "stealing" anyone's property, Mark.

It is ridiculous -- and insulting -- to conflate the Civil Rights Movement with a self-storage facility. (I do have some sympathy for the family that runs the filling station, but I hope they'll be set up with a new filling station in a different area.)

Eminent domain is the law of the land, as you know. As you also know, the Supreme Court ruled recently eminent domain could be used for private property.

Do you really believe the owner of the self-storage facility cares deeply about the neighborhood? You don't believe he's simply mothballing buildings to hold on to them until he can get big dough from private developers (which, eventually, would happen).

I'll stand with you to protest the neighborhood-killing private developments going up along the Bowery. I'll rail against the drunken 20-somethings who come to my neighborhood with no respect for its past -- or its present or future. I'll do my best to support true neighborhood institutions. I'll spend extra to seek American-made clothes. I'll stay up into the wee hours of the night learning about those who came before me. I'll make friends with the woman in the rent-controlled apartment above me. I'll savor New York because it's the only place where I feel alive. But I'll also be aware -- truly aware -- that it's not a Shangri-la for the people who live a few steps from me -- people who scrape to get by, and people who are increasingly disrespected and ignored by newcomers to the neighborhood (and by the city government itself).

But I sure as hell will not stand up for a self-storage facility owner who can afford to plow millions of dollars into a quixotic legal fight. For what? To improve anyones' lives? No. Simply to line his pockets with future winnings from the real estate lottery.

Mark, I've read your blog, and I'm with you on a lot of things, but I'm not going to reflexively stand up against the Columbia development simply because its a big institution vs. The Little Guy. The self-storage baron has been miscast as The Little Guy. And he's not worthy of my protest.

That's why I won't stand against him. It's *not* because I've "made my choice" to ignore what's going on right in front of my eyes.

Have you?

Anonymous said...

to the Columbia student above...take Mr. Spraygen ( sic) owner of Tuck It Away storage out of the picture for a moment and realize that it is truly a large institution against the Little Guy, he just happens to have the money to be visible and cause a delay or else this plan would have been pushed through a long time ago. I have walked with some of those "little guy" protesters in Manhattanville and sometimes all they get are ignorant stares or the attitude of " I belong here more than you because I make more money." Eminent domain isn't always the law of the land, New York happens to have some of the worst policies in the country.
If no one stands up and says that something isn't right than nothing will be accomplished. Jeremiah, you are right that the gas station and storage unit have deflected against the true meaning. The same thing happened with the owner of The Record Shack on 125th when they locked Mr. Shange out of his store and people were saying " No one cares about a record store."

I moved into the area over four years ago and my salary, though not great is alot better off than many of those who live in the area, they are typecast as being "lazy" having their hands out for "freebies" and other things. It is not always because of ignorance that someone makes an income that falls below the poverty line..everyone deserves a right to have a home and a chance to make something of themselves and when a private entity says in so many words "you don't count, go elsewhere." and does all that it can to push its agenda through, its very disturbing.

Anonymous said...

The cynical Columbia secret bosses be messing with Obama the way they do with their cynical Bill of Rights and all their cynical superstition based initiatives. Every time something good be going on at Columbia they tried to stop it. This is why Columbia be needing to lose in Manhattanville just like they did in Morningside Park in 1968.

Anonymous said...

Columbia should move upstate becase it cynically supports supertition and freedom of bigotry by backing Hillary vs Obama, Bloomberg vs Thompson and Cuomo vs Paterson. They should stop walking all over us.