More than 100 Chinatown residents and their supporters crowded onto the sidewalk in front of 83 and 85 Bowery yesterday afternoon, marching around the block and gumming up traffic. The rally was part of the Coalition to Protect Chinatown’s ongoing effort to draw attention to tenant harassment cases and push for height limits and rent stabilization in the neighborhood.
“People are going to come and say: ‘How does this place stay in business?'” Brian Shevlin, the founder of Con Artist Collective said, talking a mile a minute and gesturing around Lazy Susan, the new itsy-bitsy gallery at 191 Henry Street still in the midst of a “mini facelift.” But that doesn’t bother Shevlin– maybe it won’t manage to stay “in business” in the traditional sense, but he hopes it’ll succeed as a rag-tag, largely artist-run project space that’ll surprise and delight in a way more bottom-line driven galleries don’t.
“We thought: wouldn’t it be awesome if Con Artist Collective could have a space that we could just sort of have the keys to and give it to an artist and say: do whatever the hell you want, you’ve got this many days?” Shevlin said. “It doesn’t matter what they do. They make money or they don’t make money. They sit in the room or they don’t open at all. It doesn’t really matter, it’s your space.”
Another bites the dust… on Record Store Day, no less. Deadly Dragon Sound System, a mecca of Jamaican vinyl, has announced that it will close after April 16, since its landlord has declined to renew its lease. The store was founded 11 years ago by Jeremy Freeman (aka Scratch Famous) and Jason DeBeck (Selector DJ), who got their start in Chicago and moved to New York to produce shows and throw parties at spots like Happy Ending, APT and Pianos. In 2005, they opened the shop on Forsyth Street, packing the tiny, off-the-beaten-path nook with some 500,000 sleeves of ska, reggae, and dancehall. Here’s the goodbye message, which indicates the store will soldier on online while looking for a new space.
The Department of Transportation thinks your graffiti is vulgar, and will power-wash it into oblivion until New York City is restored to the sparkling shiny gem it once was. At least, that seemed to be the general message at this morning’s press conference with DOT commissioner Polly Trottenberg, held under an overpass of the Manhattan Bridge in Chinatown.
It was freezing outside, but the 60-odd Chinatown community activists gathered in front of Gracie Mansion yesterday were fired up. In English, Spanish and Chinese, they decried Mayor de Blasio’s rezoning plan and ties to the real estate industry, flinging insults and calling for his resignation. “Coward!” “Racist!” “Shame!” they yelled. As the sun set, they even left him with a “gift.”
The first rows of the City Council chambers were packed with red shirts yesterday. Members of the AARP were there to support Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to tackle the city’s affordable housing crisis and create 200,000 units over the next decade. But council members representing North Brooklyn aren’t so sure about the plan.
It’s not usually the case that filling out a revealing questionnaire, waiting in line, and encountering someone with a lot of tools at their disposal ends up being fun. Like, ever. But people who participated in Custom Melodies, an exhibition held last summer by Grey Gersten (aka the musician known as Eternal Lips) left not with a sinking sense of shame, but an original song composed according to their unique personality traits and experiences. You can explore the melodies on this special, interactive website, which launched Tuesday, February 2nd. To celebrate the project’s penultimate realization, Gersten’s throwing a party at Chinatown Soup Gallery. Rumor has it there will be some fire water on hand.
Read more about the project here.
“Retail diversity” is taking on a whole new meaning in the Lower East Side. Scrappy indie publishers Badlands Unlimited, launched in 2010, recently moved from a studio in Sunset Parks’ Industry City to a real five-person office on 24 Rutgers Street (ok, maybe that’s more Chinatown than LES). Hoping to integrate with their new surroundings, they struck up a partnership with the 99-cent store beneath their office and dubbed the experience “Y.oung P.ublisher 99¢ & Up.”
The powder has settled and it’s time to
step outside and search for scour social media for the stars of winter storm Jonas. Still no sign of the fabled Chinatown snowman, but we found plenty of other impressive specimens out there chillin’.
This week, we continue our series of deep dives into the histories of storied addresses.
Shopkeepers across the Bowery tracked its progress: 42 stories, 43, and finally 44. Pedestrians on Canal Street craned their necks up to take in the expanse of brick that stretched across the slow curve of its facade.
Police were called to check out a piece of “suspicious luggage” in front of 39 Eldridge Street in Chinatown at around 1:45 pm this afternoon. A resident who lives across the street from the building, which houses the Preschool of America, sent B+B this video of the incident which captures a member of the bomb squad carefully dismantling a suitcase.