January 19, 2005

Old Neighborhood

Thanks to Ebway, City Rag, and Amy Langfield, who all linked to the Sew story. Glad that Sew is getting her online due. I wrote to Ebway.org about the Sew story--I was curious if anyone remembered her. I didn’t think that they would link to it. I have learned from Ebway that the Seward Park neighborhood is teeming with new Wi-Fi coffee houses and old staples are being torn down. Strange, but it also makes me feel like I am missing out on the city, which is something I haven’t felt for a while. When I moved to the Seward Park neighborhood, my building was filled almost entirely with Chinese families. It used to be a Jewish neighborhood, and then Chinatown started moving eastward. Before I moved into my apartment, the rent was $100 a month, rent controlled for fifty years. I actually took my crooked Polish landladies to court because they were charging me $800 and refused to give me a lease--if they registered the apt. it would have been shown to be a rent stabilized apartment. I won and the rent went down to $525, phenomenal for NYC.

Here’s a story: one day I got home and the chain was locked on the door. A stranger took the chain off and let me into my apartment. A man and a woman who I’d never seen before were sitting there. They had moved a bed into the living room, a TV, dresser, pots and pans in the kitchen, and even food into the refrigerator. This was the landlady’s son and his wife. Their claim was that my girlfriend and I had been subletting the apartment alongside the husband and wife, so we had no claim on the apartment. My girlfriend called the cops, who promptly kicked the man and the woman out--the cops were smiling, saying to the couple, "What the hell are you doing?" An incredibly stupid scheme. To be racist: those landladies made me believe in Polish jokes.

Soon, the Chinese families moved out one by one and the hipsters started moving in, as well as new bars. I always knew that it was going to become the next East Village. It’s a great little, self-contained community with its own park--the last undiscovered area of lower Manhattan. I’d like to go back and see what’s come of the old neighborhood.

3 comments:

darling maggot said...

it's funny 'cos in seattle there's a seward park, too. a greasy, dirty, unattractive neighbourhood, just like how its name sounds. sorta like the low end of mystic river. not as ethnic as your place, though.

Henry Baum said...

Sounds like sewage. It's also William Burrough's middle name.

Henry Baum said...

Burroughs' middle name. Damnit, retentive apostropher.

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