Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Julius' Egg Creams

I'm happy to add an unusual new addition to my ongoing Guide to Egg Creams.

Julius' Bar has recently added the egg cream to their menu. Not your uncle Morty's egg creams, these are spiked with Bailey's, Kahlua, or vanilla vodka. I opted for the vanilla, which seemed more true to the form.

Though my $10 vodka egg cream was made with the correct ingredients--Fox's U-Bet syrup and fountain seltzer--it is obviously not for egg cream purists.

Uncharacteristically served in a Bud Light pint glass, it's all foam and the taste takes some getting used to. After a few sips of this very strong, boozy mix, however, and you'll be too tipsy to taste it anyway.

I recommend it just for the experience of drinking an egg cream at Julius' wonderful bar.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Evolution of a Wall

In May 2009, Mr. Brainwash bombed the Meatpacking District with paste-ups, including these large side-by-side portraits of Madonna and Angelina Jolie.

May 2009, my flickr

Not everybody in the graffiti/street art world cares for Mr. Brainwash. By September, the faces were faded and torn. They were also doodled on, mustached, and dickchickened.

September 2009, my flickr

Brainwash replaced them with fresh faces--this time double Madonnas. By December, the material girls were sprayed with splashes of pink paint and declared "FAKE."

December 2009, my flickr

Today, they serve as the foundation for a chaotic collage--a revolutionary clown, a starling, a quote from Elbow Toe...

And the Brainwash bits were torn to shreds. And then?

Monday, March 29, 2010

*Everyday Chatter

Luxury real-estate developer hires Knitting Factory to "help attract affluent young tenants." [NYT]

Behind the scenes of East Fifth Bliss. [EVG]

No Longer Empty seeks an empty space on the LES. [TLD]

How did I miss "Sewerama"? [FIB]

Reading the history of 171 Ave. A. [Blah]

Get your Cambridge Companion to the literature of NYC. [P&W]

Brooklyn Bowl seeks interns. Bowling alley interns? [GP]

97-year-old Vaudevillian with great name, June Havoc, dies. [NYT]

47's Painted Food

I don't walk on East First Street very often, so it surprised me when, on a recent stroll, I found it has turned into an arm of the Hamptons, filled with precious cafes decorated with distressed wood, shabby-chic benches, and fresh flowers; along with a smattering of gleaming condo buildings.

One new addition is 47 East First. Grieve wrote about it here and when I walked by the Open House, I saw smiling, fresh-faced young couples moseying in and out, inquiring about the marble baths, granite kitchens, etc.

But something, I noticed, was missing. Namely, the painted food of Market Purveyor, Co., Inc., a wholesale meat distributor that used to be, I later realized, in #47.

It still exists in the ghost of Google Maps (above). And in these photos I took over a year ago, knowing these painted sausages and chickens would not last much longer.

I like painted food on storefronts. Especially crudely painted food. It's a dying art. And these rare examples are now gone.

Friday, March 26, 2010

*Everyday Chatter

In Times Square, girls kiss, lick, pet, and stroke wax figure of movie star. How many do you think made a grab for the package? [MTV]

"Times Square is representative of a basic dilemma New York (and many other cities) faced with de-industrialization--namely, what do you do after you stop making things?" [COS]

Remembering when street art was "furtively spreading like some mysterious guerilla-styled phenomenon with the slight air of menace" and without tie-in merch. [FP]

"High-end bikes" get slashed at StuyTown. [STLL]

1986: "a Beverly Hills person’s idea of what conceptual artists were doing in subterranean performance spaces in Manhattan’s East Village." [DK]

On a Village street: "Not an Idol."

Thursday, March 25, 2010

*Everyday Chatter

Since the landlord raised the rent, what's coming to the landmark space once occupied by the Old Homestead's dining room? A chain. Le Pain Quotidien is coming and offering "authenticity":

You've got to love the way the no-cell policy is implemented at Soy Cafe on Greenwich Ave:

Take two glorious rides on the Third Avenue El of the 1950s. [Cyn]

Save our souls--Martha is on the Bowery. [BB]

Life above Cabin Down Below is pretty annoying. [EVG]

Looking back at the Gas House District and its demolition for StuyTown. [Blah]

Bedford Ave. businesses want the trendy food trucks gone. [BP]

Is the Glove Factory loft building also a part-time hostel? [NYS]

Meet the Characters of the Gowanus! [FIB]

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

*Everyday Chatter

Why is Cafe Colonial closing? It's the McNally Effect. [Grub]

Best bars for babies, aka, "some of the best places to raise a glass while you’re raising your kids." Really? [Eater]

Shiny, happy, plastic people. [NYT]

Faux traffic signs in the EV welcome you to Hell and watch out for golfers. [EVG]

Record Store Day is almost upon us. [Stupefaction]

64 E. 7th

As Grieve pointed out, folks are wondering what will go into the former Tokio 7 spot at 64 East 7th St. What used to be there is an interesting story.

In 1889, the building began serving as the parsonage for St. Mark's Evangelical Lutheran Church, now the Community Synagogue on East 6th Street. Here lived the family of Reverend George Haas. Tragically, Haas' wife and daughter perished in 1904's General Slocum disaster, in the steamboat that Haas chartered to take his congregation on a church picnic. With 1,021 dead, it was known as the worst disaster in New York's history until 9/11.

After the Slocum fire, many Germans left the East Village for Yorkville, unable to bear the sorrows the neighborhood brought to mind.

1904: Haas funeral procession at 64 E. 7th

Sometime in the early 1900s, the newspaper Russky Golos ("Russian Voice") moved in to the first floor of #64. It's possible that this was the first business to occupy what had been purely a residence.

At this point in time, the invaluable New York Songlines sums up #64's history quite nicely, explaining that Russky Golos was "a left-wing newspaper reportedly associated with Soviet intelligence." It was also here in 1920 that suspected terrorist Alexander Brailovsky was found by police after being spotted at a Wall Street bombing that killed 33 people.

Russky Golos, 1930s

Writes Songlines: "Later it was Les Deux Megots coffeehouse ("The Two Cigar Butts"--a pun on the Parisian cafe Les Deux Magots); the poetry reading series here, which included such poets as Allen Ginsberg, Paul Blackburn and Carol Berge, eventually became the Poetry Project at St. Marks-in-the-Bowery. There were also current events speakers, who ranged from Paul Krassner and Tuli Kupferberg to William F. Buckley."

Author Daniel Kane writes about Les Deux Megots in his book All Poets Welcome, saying it was a "poetry scene based on inclusiveness or what might romantically be termed a gathering of the avant-garde tribes."

Bergie Lustig remembers many details of life at Les Deux Megots in her blog memoir Drop In the Bucket. It was the early 1960s and, as Lustig recalls, "Coffee houses were very popular at the time, but not on the Lower East side. Les Deux Megots was the only one of its kind in the area. The Lower East side was still predominantly Jewish and eastern European and blue collar. Various Slavic groups lived alongside Italians and a few 'others' in relative harmony. The shops and restaurants reflected the makeup of the neighborhood."

Songlines continues: "Then it was The Paradox, said to be the world's first macrobiotic restaurant; Yoko Ono and folksinger Loudon Wainwright III both worked here, and Abbie Hoffman described it as 'a neat cheap health joint that will give you a free meal if you help peel shrimp or do the dishes.'"

Paul Krassner recalls one of Yoko Ono's conceptual pieces at The Paradox, "People would climb inside these huge black burlap bags, singly, or with a partner, and then do whatever they wanted, providing a floor show for patrons while they ate their brown rice and sprout salad."

Here's a snippet of a typical scene at The Paradox from the New York Times in 1971:

After Paradox, it became the final home of Books 'N Things, according to the wonderful history Book Row, by Mondlin and Meador. The bookstore opened in 1940 on 4th Avenue and closed in the 1990s on 7th Street. In its many years, it became a landmark destination for book lovers, intellectuals, and radicals.

In 1988, the bookstore proprietor remarked to the Times that the East Village was "still a place where you can be free. For a lot of kids, coming here is way to get away from the choking atmosphere of suburbia." One of her customers described the shop, saying, "The flyers, the posters, the cracking peeling walls--it's a glimpse of Old Amsterdam, of Old New York."

Trotskyites, agitators, bohemian poets, radical macrobioticists, conceptual artists, Allen Ginsberg, Yoko Ono, Abbie Hoffman. This was the history of 64 East 7th Street for 100 years. You might say it encapsulates the way the neighborhood has always changed, and yet the spirit remained the same. Anarchists gave way to punks, lefty Jewish actors made room for queer performance artists, beatniks became hippies.

And then the century came to an end.

#64 was recently sold as a single-family townhouse for $5,700,000. It's being gutted now. My guess is that there won't be a business on the first floor, and it will go back to being part of the residence, as it was in 1889. It won't be housing for a clergyman, either. It will be a luxury, 13-room mansion, and it won't be nearly as interesting as all that came before.

Read about other interesting histories:
35 Cooper Square
169 Bowery
185-191 Bowery
111 2nd Avenue
1551 Broadway
Doyers Street

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

*Everyday Chatter

Billy's Antiques is raided and Billy is taken away in handcuffs by the NYPD--for selling subway signs. This smells like the city wants some juicy property on Houston. So it begins. [NYCB]

In the reality show Brighton Beach, Russki is "the Russian equivalent of ‘guido.’" [NYer]

What if the whole country was Brooklyn? [JMG]

NYU plans to expand--a lot. "In its Washington Square neighborhood, the university will be creating the equivalent in square footage of a little more than the total floor area of the Empire State Building." [NYT] ...And: One of their architects is Grimshaw, creators of the glass-box newsstands.

Will another church become another condo? [BB]

More glass and robots for Elizabeth Street. [EVG]

MOMA declares they have acquired the @ sign for their collection. [MOMA] via Consumed

Uncovering a lost tiki restaurant in Queens. [LC]

Monday, March 22, 2010

*Everyday Chatter

At Partners & Spade, where they sell "conceptual products" like a Harlem beach bag and exclusive $500 axes to Manhattanites, the window display asks East Village burglars to "please return our laptops and iPods to the 9th precinct." Thank you very much:

A brawl erupts on Avenue A. [NMNL]

Guss' Pickles leaves Orchard Street. [BB]

Meet Brooklyn's new poet laureate. [NYT]

More fratastic hijinks for the EV. [EVG]

Discovering an old theater in Washington Heights. [GLF]

The high crime of putting your feet on an empty subway seat. [NYT]

See Patti Smith and Jonathan Lethem in conversation. [Pen]

The old doorways of South Street Seaport. [GVDP]

Another Saturday night of thumbing noses at CB3 stipulations. [Blah]

Friday, March 19, 2010

*Everyday Chatter

Shows like this make me wish I had cable, just so I could enjoy hating it. [Curbed]

With High Line views, a historic rowhouse grows a $37,500-a-month rooftop tumor--and one blogger is not happy. [AT]

Have your bookshelves, and your brain, analyzed by the New Yorker magazine. [BBench]

Step inside Ideal Hosiery. [Boogie]

John Strong's Freak Museum--home of pickled freaks--gets an unprecedented 3-year lease at Coney. [ATZ]

Peeling paint at the 2nd Ave F station reveals a pair of ancient wheatpaste stickers from Adam Cost:

Look back at the ruins of the East River bandshell. [EVG]

Remembering the old Central Park zoo. [FP]

Ray gets his identity back from the U.S. government. [NMNL]

What to do with Hipster? [CR]

Gowanus Whole Foods site turns into a lake. [FIB]

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Jack Gets Tagged

I haven't really checked in much with One Jackson Square since armed guards took up posts in the park outside its doors. So thanks to the tipster who took the following photos at the undulating condo.

One Jackson has gotten its first tags.

Readers might recall the condo's billboard catch-phrase, "The Spirit of Greenwich Village Is Alive and Well." The anonymous tagger begs to differ, saying the condo is, "Destroying the Village."

The solution?

"Eat the Rich
Feed the Poor."

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

*Everyday Chatter

Help Mosaic Man get to PBS. Vote today. [EVG]

Marzipan lambs stuck with crucifixes and flags. [LC]

Enjoy a Passover "Nosh and Stroll." [TLD]

It's also a good time to take a tour of Crown Heights, complete with matzoh factory.

Two Hirams: Taped up around the East Village:

Harlem's gutted 125th slow to become corporate mall. [Curbed]

The story of Kensington Stables. [Gothamist]

Irish bars watch the changing of their neighborhoods. [CR]

A leprechaun in Yonkers. [P&W]

Gay and Irish? Forget those homophobic Hibernian paraders, Julius' Bar has some specials today:

Before the Village 7

Often, those of us who enjoy urban archaeology discover a building that used to be a movie theater, or we search out the ghosts of old cinemas. What happens when it's the other way around?

Before the Loews Village 7 stood on the corner of 11th St. and 3rd Ave. (before the Village Pour House was across the street, giving refuge to East Village pub-crawling frat-kids), there was this odd and lovely structure:

NY Times, via Microfilm

It was demolished in 1989 and, according an article in the New York Times, it was built in 1869 for the headquarters of the New York City Department of Public Charities and Corrections.

Wrote the Times, "The building was designed by James Renwick, of Renwick & Sands, already famous for his design of Grace Church of 1843 and St. Patrick's Cathedral of 1858... [It has] a typically ebullient, Parisian mansard roof. But the body of the structure, although richly ornamented, also has something of the restlessness of the neo-Grec style. It had chamfered pilasters that interrupted the wall plane, and there was visual conflict between the irregular, horizontal banding and vertical elements."

It was converted into a barn/garage in 1917, with its mansard roof taken off. It stood for a total of 120 years before being replaced by the Loews.

The only other photo I could find of it comes from the NYPL's Digital Gallery. Here's the view looking east on 11th toward 3rd. It's the little parking garage to the right of Webster Hall's very ornate marquee--and its "ebullient, Parisian mansard roof" has already been removed:


Tuesday, March 16, 2010

*Everyday Chatter

Somebody's running around town in a horse-drawn Hummer. [ANY]

When hipster foodies use food stamps for gourmet grub, people get angry. [Salon]

Meanwhile, one local lady sees her dream of weighing 1,000 pounds fizzle. [Gothamist]

The Voice asks us all to stop using the word "hipster." [VV]

Go inside New York’s “women only” Barbizon Hotel [VF]

Getting some lentils at Dual Specialty. [Blah]

Squat the Condos--most timely name for a band--stickers the EV:

Monday, March 15, 2010

*Everyday Chatter

Ginormous and disgusting bed bug billboard goes up in Times Square--directly over the Flash Dancers gentleman's club. There are so many "special" souvenirs you can take home from your trip to NYC. Tourists beware!

from Wirehead's flickr

Take a walking tour of Astoria with author Sam Lipsyte. [FW]

Scary, outsized glass tower for 1st Ave and 5th halted. [EVG]

Chasing the city's ghost signs. [FNY]

Fox News revisits Ray's. [NMNL]

"Pop pluralism," aka street art, in the gallery. [NYT]

Who says the new Nouvel glass tower "conjures a downtown New York we once loved and can now barely remember"? [Curbed]

The city gets a new library--with (some) real books in it. [CR]

Do you still love New York?...Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t.” [WIC]

Meatpacking Art

Victor Kerlow is an illustrator whose drawings have appeared in places like The New Yorker and the New York Times. He's also got a cool art blog. I like his stuff--it reminds me of Ben Katchor. Kerlow also spent some time drawing the meatpackers of the Meatpacking District. I asked him about that and here's what he said, along with some of his meatpacking pictures.

When were these drawings done? Did you have a sense that the meatpackers would soon be vanishing?

All the drawings were done from 2005 to 2007. At that point, the area had already changed significantly from the way it was when I grew up there, and there were a lot of signs that the meatpacking plants were not going to be around for much longer. The drawings were all done on location, in the early mornings, like 5 or 6 am, while the guys were doing their last few hours of work. I drew while standing in the refrigerated cutting rooms, directly from life. And all the plants are temperature controlled to be very, very cold, so standing still for 20 minutes with my hands exposed, trying to finish a drawing wasn't the most pleasant drawing environment.

How did you gain access to the interior of the packing plants and to the men at work?

I knew the guys started work around 3 or 4 in the morning, so one day, around 5 a.m., I walked over to all the different companies in their 4-block radius, and just went in and talked with whoever was in charge. After going to about eight different places, I think only three were okay with me drawing in there. There were all kinds of "New York characters" in those places, which was one of the reasons the meatpacking plants are so appealing to me.

What was it about the Meatpacking District that attracted you visually?

To me, the meatpacking plants are an exciting part of a neighborhood that is becoming increasingly monotonous. Initially I wanted to do more abstract drawings of floating meat, but realized that if I could gain access to the plants, it would be stupid of me not to document them as a whole, with portraits of the workers, and drawings of the meat and environments as well. Dead animals and carcasses are pretty powerful symbols in art history, and I think after however many years, any art-loving person is bound to want to draw or paint or capture them in some way.

Any particularly vivid meatpacking stories to share?

I remember a fight that broke out at one of the places that is now closed (big surprise). This grumpy old Russian dude got into an argument with the main guy in charge, Adam, a younger, Italian guy. Adam and the Russian guy start shoving back and forth and then WHAM he punches Adam in the chest and Adam stumbles back against a huge piece of hanging meat. Two other workers come over and grab the Russian dude, and there is a lot of silence afterwards. I was drawing right next to them the whole time and figured it was a better idea to just ignore it. The next day I was there, the Russian guy was at work and everything was just as normal as it was before--but a fight in a freezing room full of hanging meat slabs is too awesome-looking to not mention.

Is there anything left in “MePa” that would still inspire you to make art about it?

Well, I grew up and currently live just a few blocks north from that area, so I don’t think I would ever turn my back on it. Right now, of course, it is a pretty shitty place to be, for different reasons than before. Grime-covered sidewalks that smell like dead animals and waste, I can deal with. It's the Los Angeles-ization of the area that makes me want to vomit. The neighborhood will always be important to me, but I wish it was still serving a useful purpose, with jobs that support working people, rather than being a shopping mall for rich out-of-towners.

I also incorporate the construction and half-finished buildings that exist around the neighborhood into my comics sometimes, so at least there's that. Even if the final building is a real eyesore, I can try to take advantage of the intricacy and draw-ability of its unfinished stages.

As a native New Yorker, you’ve seen many places come and go, and many neighborhoods change. Do you see the Meatpacking District’s shift as just “the way it goes in New York” or as something more?

Every city needs an eclectic selection of environments to be an interesting place, and the Meatpacking District from 15, 20, 30 years ago was a place that was a foil to somewhere like the Upper East Side. Now it is actually some work to find a distinguishable neighborhood in Manhattan. The city is all starting to slide together.

I'm not opposed to change, but if it isn’t really for the better, then yeah, it is stupid and pointless and frustrating. When I walk around in my neighborhood I feel different, and angry at all these people that didn’t enjoy the neighborhood even just five years ago. They are here for all the wrong reasons. These people can buy the same shit and eat the same expensive food somewhere else.

Also, it should just be said that while it is a sad thing to watch places you used to hang out at disappear, there are still tons of reasons to love this city, and countless things for me to continue drawing here. I don't think I'm ready to leave just yet.

Friday, March 12, 2010

*Everyday Chatter

The awning is up, the racks are packed, and the new Tokio 7 opens tonight in the 7th Street Tumor:

Grieve grieves for the Blarney Stone. [EVG]

Yesterday at the Atlantic Yards protest. [Gothamist]

The Observer visits Ray's on Ave. A: "a symbol for local residents who feel they have seen every quirk of their neighborhood ironed out and turned into a Chase Bank." [NYO]

Lucy is back. [NMNL]

When construction steals your sky. [CR]

TrustoCorp says "Locals Only" on Ludlow. But who are the locals anyway? [BB]

Thursday, March 11, 2010

*Everyday Chatter

*Live-blogging the AY protest. [Curbed]

Today: Protest the Atlantic Yards groundbreaking. [PMFA]

Warm up for the protest with the Battle of Brooklyn trailer. [FIB]

In the Atlantic Yards footprint, residents and businesses have been given 30 days to get out. [NYDN]

Sad news for those of us hoping Village Paper would reopen after the fire. A FOR RENT sign appears on the plywood:

When Astor Place was wide open. [FP]

First, Andre Breton quotes, now Diesel's Stupid ads get stuck with price stickers. [BB]

Remembering the Night Owl Cafe. [NYNS]

A scrubbing for the old Tin Palace. [EVG]

The Save Ray's benefit nets $3,000. [Villager]

Destroying Yankee Stadium. [NYT]

Long Island City: Hacking up lungs, drinking OE with straws. [NYS]

Last Day at Desirs

Today's post was written by Stacy Torres, a Chelsea native and longtime customer of Les Desirs, who provides a report and photos of the beloved bakery's last day, February 25.

We sat huddled at a corner table on the final day at Les Desirs Patisserie, the last in a string of mom-and-pop bakeries that occupied the same Chelsea storefront since 1962. As snow curtained the windows, we watched the flakes fall and the place disappear before our eyes.

Under ordinary circumstances, most people probably would have stayed home that day. The heavy, wet snow coated the sidewalks with slick sludge, and many older customers can’t risk a fall. But neither snow nor rain nor gloom of night could keep us regulars away from the bakery on its last day of business. I found many of the familiar faces that had kept me company during the six years I went there.

Our resident nutritionist, Frank, sat in the corner. At eighty-five, he continues to work as a writer and always entertains our medical inquiries. We all know he’s a trooper, having made a striking recovery from major hip surgery last fall, but even still it was a nice surprise to see him. Another longtime customer turned up despite battling a bad cold. She had to come for the last day, she said as she brushed snow from her shoulders and shook off her black hat crusted over with ice.

The butter-colored walls were nearly bare with the exception of a leftover Valentine’s Day decoration, a wreath with two teddy bears underneath a banner that read “I Love You.” The owner said with a mischievous glint in his eyes that he would leave it for the landlord, showing he hadn’t lost his sense of humor about the bitter fight to keep his store open. We watched the kitchen being stripped of its last pieces of equipment.

More people crowded in and a few spontaneously erupted into song. The sweet strains of “Bye Bye Blackbird” filled the space: “Pack up all my care and woe/ Here I go, singing low/ Bye bye blackbird.” For that moment I think we all forgot about how the place vanished a little more with each passing minute.

Later that evening, when the store was nearly empty, another regular filed in. His son had urged him to show up for the last day. “I told him he’d better join the witness protection program if I bust my ass on the way over here,” he said as he walked in and parked his cane in the corner. At his request I snapped a picture of him sitting at his usual seat by the window. We were the last two to leave.

Looking back, we never called the bakery by its given name, Les Desirs, which means “the desires” in French. But I now realize how fitting a name it was. This place satisfied not only our craving for sweets but our desire for company, for community, and for connection. When the bakery hummed with chatter, the place felt more like a social club than a business, with the modest price of admission being a cup of coffee or tea. More than ever, New Yorkers need places like these.

See Also:
Singing at Les Desirs
Fighting for Les Desirs
Desirs' Demise

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

*Everyday Chatter

Tonight: Brooklyn Documentary Night at Freddy's Bar...go before it's gone. [FIB]

Chelsea Hotel residents winning so far in battle against bars. [Eater]

Breast-milk cheese mom defends herself. Murray's reviews her flavor: "It was slippery, slightly crunchy and tasted like pickles...thumbs down." [NYP]

Avenue C in 1984. [EVG]

West 19th in 1997. [FP]

The "Vote for Burns" people attack the New Museum and "the platinum coast of downtown Manhattan, formerly known as the Bowery." [LM] & [HyperA]

Check out the pics from Ray's benefit. [SG]

A happy, post-benefit Ray opens shop for the day. [NMNL]

Tale of Two Cities

A tale of two cities is revealed by poking around a new website called Bundle that shows you the spending habits of neighborhoods by zip code. I compared the west East Village (10003 zip) with Brownsville, Brooklyn, which seems like one place gentrification has yet to reach (there's no Starbucks there yet).

Here's how East Villagers spend their money each month:

And here's how Brownsville does it:

As you can see, shopping and eating are high on East Villagers' priorities. Each month, the average East Villager consumes $2,639 worth of food, drink, and products. In Brownsville, most of their money goes to the house and home, health and family. They spend, on average, $326 a month on shopping, eating, and drinking.

On Bundle, you can also click on the bubbles to look deeper and see how the spending breaks down and where it is being spent. Again, here's the East Village, where people spend $421 a month on clothing and shoes, at Barney's, J. Crew, and Zappos. And $702 a month on "general shopping," at Bloomingdale's, Saks, and Bergdorf's. The Astor Place K-Mart, too.

And below are Brownsville's numbers. They spend $64 a month on clothing and shoes, at Gucci, Marshalls, and Payless. Generally, they spend $140 a month shopping at places like BJ's, Target, Costco, and Wal-Mart--the big boxes.

Interestingly, while there is a huge disparity in how much is spent, the percentage is the same--both neighborhoods are spending 12% of their income to shop. And we see a very American problem in that lack of thrift across the socioeconomic spectrum.

How about eating and drinking? In the East Village, people are dropping $842 per month on dining out. At Starbucks! And Danny Meyer's Gramercy Tavern, among others. They spend 14% of their income to do so.

In Brownsville, that number drops to $20 a month dining out. And that $20, just 1% of these Brooklynites' monthly income, goes to Red Lobster, McDonald's, or Applebee's.

More and more, it seems we will have only two options for where we eat and shop: High-end, big-name businesses and chains for the rich and low-end, big-name chains and big-boxes for the poor. The American way of consumption is eating New York City from both ends.