Monday, December 5, 2005

It's My Party and I'll Cry If I Want To

This topic has been lingering over many downtown New Yorkers, but it seems as though this weekend, everything hit the fan. I first felt this plague when I was trying to book shows and was told that some venues aren't having them anymore on the weekends. This seemed bizarre to me, as I figured weekends would be more accessible than weekdays, but I couldn't do anything about it. Then I read this article. Then I came home on Wednesday to see this cover story on Time Out NY. I started to get worried and then I went out this weekend and saw it all first hand. Cops patrolling the streets, shutting down bars. No protestors just yet, but from the Time Out article they seem pissed, and ready to take action.

Could this be the end?

It seems silly to think that a neighborhood could be shut down in New York City of all places. I haven't lived here too long, but I know these things happen without that much change taking place. Bars and music venues will shut down, new ones will open. C'est la vie. But as much as I love the Lower East Side, and used to live there, it's become a bit absurd. It's like Disney land, walking around there on a Friday or Saturday night. One wonders if they have forgotten how big Manhattan is and how many bars there really are on this island. Yes, perhaps they are a bit condensed in the Lower East Side, and I probably wouldn't be found there as much if it didn't also happen to be where the majority of the music venues also reside.

I can understand the complaints. It has got to be annoying. When I lived in the neighborhood last year I lived off to the west, but still dealt with the drunks leaving Bowery Ballroom or whatever dance club was on my block. I took it in stride, I could walk to every place I wanted to go. But the rent was high, so I decided to live in bumblefuck Brooklyn, where it is nice and quiet, but also a $20 cab ride to get home.

The residents of the Lower East Side, the ones that are complaining are those that have lived there for 5+ years. If they haven't lived there that long and are complaining, well then they are just daft for choosing to live there in the first place. You knew what you were getting yourself into. To those who have resided there pre-Disney Land, I only have one thing to say to you. It's New York City and your rent is probably ridiculously low. Either stop complaining or go live uptown. Better yet, move out to the suburbs where you can hear a twig break.

I don't like going to crowded bars or venues, but it's something I deal with and expect living in this city. But to hinder people from going to see bands play, or hinder those bands from having the chance to play to an audience is frightful. The ones making the most noise are the smokers on the street and well, where else are they supposed to go? Venues like Rothko won't even let you go out for a smoke, which for addicts like myself can become hazardous. I'd hate to see this get out of hand, but I feel as though it already is. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw full-suited firemen charge into Fat Baby on Friday. The venue has been open two months and already has citations galore. It was packed on Friday, but by no means unbearable. I could still walk around. By bringing in that many firemen and police officers, it only congested it more.

So what can be done? I'd gladly switch apartments with any Lower East Side resident if they want a quiet street. But I hate to make things so simple, but it simply is so: this is New York. You chose to live here. There are going to be bars, and subsquently drunk people yelling out on the streets. We'll try to keep quiet, but there's only so much you can do. Buy ear plugs, shut your windows, or leave. Shutting us down should not be a solution, because let's face it, we'll find some other neighborhood to invade and more neighbors to piss off. And that, I guess, is the real circle of New York.

1 Comment:

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