Be Original

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Sunday Brunch with the Harlem Gospel Choir

Lower East Side (redux?)

Took a hesitant walk on the not-so-wild side. The last time I went back, things had really tamed in the Lower East Side and this time, I feared the worst--had it turned into some hipster joint? 

I mean, the Lower East Side (or the more gentrified LES now) is no Greenwich--this is the place that made Lou Reed, Little Joe, Patti Smith, The Ramones, Blondie, Television, Robert Mapplethorpe, Talking Heads, Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat... and yes, even Madonna. All of whom came with the rest of the tired and poor, the huddled masses yearning to break free--Holly from Miami FLA, Candy out from the island--everyone who didn't stand a chance anywhere else, stood a chance in the Lower East Side. 

To see it reduced to some place where people drink coffee leisurely after their hot yoga session just feels like an insult. Damn you, rent hikes. Will there ever be another cultural renaissance in the Lower East Side? I doubt it. But there's still some bite left in this fighter, yet. Pictures taken on my iPhone, no retouches.

She's pure as New York snow--I love this shot--this is still the Lower East Side I remember.

The street art has gotten very arty as well--no more careless Fuck Yous... although I really enjoyed that kind of graffiti too-- #SAMO

Taken with my hand inside a locked pocket garden converted from a dumpsite. Lower East Side, like Harlem, is trying to cultivate a better environment for its younger inhabitants, which was what my friend Yusuf and I were discussing. 

Sacrilege--the former CBGB. I have to say, for all its cringe-worthiness, 
I'm glad for the fact that John Varvatos was actually quite reverent of the place and 
kept most of its interior intact.
I'm just thankful I got to see CBGB before it all went to hell.

Thank God they kept the bar.

And the former stage

And the memorabilia.

So the light at the end of the tunnel used to be Katz's but I had to do this

I think this was the kimchi dog. Yes, I'm a sellout too.