Saturday, January 26, 2008

475 Kent

It truly is appalling the way New York City treats its artist communities some times. In particular, when it comes to real estate, gentrification, and then the onset of truly subhuman greed among landlords, the stories you hear here are stomach-churning. Williamsburg, which has been reported to have the largest per capita concentration of working artists in the world, has seen its fair share of Dicksonian landlords bully out tenant artists (with the authorities' complicity) only then to quickly renovate their spaces into tacky luxury condos for lame-ass hipsters who are deluded (either chemically or genetically) enough to think they themselves are cool because their trust funds permit them to loiter among the creative classes ("you wouldn't understand Mother...I'm an artist now...just send the money"). Are you picking up on the fact that these poseurs annoy the hell out of me? Good.

Anyone who knows artists in New York has heard horror stories of their electricity and heat being cut, highly dubious "emergencies" necessitating evacuation, and other forms of constant harassment (all in the name of greed), but the latest episode of artist tenants being treated poorly by the city (and you can bet a billion this is leading up to some real estate development) is at 475 Kent. Here's a press release from the tenants association outlining the travesty our supposedly pro-arts Mayor is letting occur under his watch:
JANUARY 24, 2008
PRESS RELEASE:
FROM: 475 Kent Tenants Association

MATZO-GATE

NEW YORK CITY'S ARTISTIC COMMUNITY UNDER ATTACK

The live-work building located at 475 Kent Ave in Brooklyn's coveted waterfront neighborhood of Williamsburg was issued a Vacate Order by the NYC Fire Department on Sunday, January 20th at 7:30PM, the day before Martin Luther King day. Tenants were given until 1:30 in the morning to leave the building on a frigid January night.

475 Kent is a microcosm of New York City's cultural and economic activity with creative professionals generating an estimated $15 million in annual revenue. The vibrant community of 200 working artists - photographers, architects, writers, musicians, sculptors, filmmakers, designers, painters, printmakers, etc. is under attack.

It seems that the D.O B. is intent on making sure people will never be able to return to their spaces until all repairs are made and the building has a residential C of O, a prospect that could take years and millions of dollars. This renders 200 inhabitants most of whom are self-employed, small business entrepreneurs, both homeless and out of work. This building has been consistently and viably supporting creative professionals lives and businesses for ten years. The illegal eviction at 475 Kent comes on the heels of the evacuation of 17-17 Troutman in Ridgewood. That people's livelihoods and homes are being put in complete jeopardy makes one wonder if this is a trend and begs the phrase “follow the money”.

The events on Sunday night were precipitated when the FDNY inspected the basement of 475 Kent Ave. and “discovered” two 10' diameter metal canisters containing grain used for making Matzo. The Matzo bakery has been in the building for more than ten years. The DOB and fire department have inspected 475 Kent Avenue regularly for the past ten years and would have had to be blind if they were not fully aware of the existence of a Matzo bakery and the grain. The presence of the grain resulted in a so-called “hazardous emergency” situation that gave FDNY and DOB license to vacate the building. When some residents and the landlord offered to alleviate the problem and remove the grain from the building on Sunday night the FDNY replied “you are not qualified to move the grain”. They then issued the vacate order.

What ensued was unmitigated chaos under the direction of our friends at the OFFICE OF EMERGENCY MANGEMENT starring the New York City Fire Department, Department of Buildings, NYPD, Health Department, Department of Agriculture and the Red Cross. Their only area of competence was at holding closed-door, inter-agency meetings, in which no tenant representative was allowed, every two hours in their brand new location trailer. How many City agencies does it take to unscrew a lightbulb? We'll let you know, we're still counting.

Upon the issue of the vacate order 200 people scrambled to rid 110 spaces of their most crucial belongings. The following day people were given 6 hours access to remove their belongings, tools and equipment, a scenario that for most people who had been in residence for 5 - 10 years with substantial equipment and installations was completely untenable. From there the scene snowballed. On Tuesday January 22, tenants arrived with moving trucks at 10am having been told they would have another 6 hours access to the building. They found all entrances blocked by NYPD and FDNY and no one was allowed upstairs. Finally, at 1pm the leaders of each agency stood on the staircase and delivered their plan to the crowd:

- residents would be allowed into the building six people at a time for one hour, followed by another group of six people each being granted one hour.

Do the math.

No, we'll do it for you. 200/6= 33.3 hours it would take to allow each person ONE hour access to collect their stuff. Then they shut down the elevators, insuring that the task was impossible. People, in a panic that this would be their last chance to save their belongings, began to carry equipment and valuables down ten flights of stairs, creating a real hazard.

As of Wednesday, January 23, the grain has been removed from the basement of 475 Kent Avenue, alleviating the immediate “hazardous” condition. Now the tenants have been allowed a final four days, six hours a day, to access the building. On Sunday night, January 27, the building will be padlocked prohibiting all further access for the foreseeable future. Why the building is safe enough to access for four days, but suddenly deemed unsafe again on Monday is a mystery to which DOB, OEM, FDNY has not provided an answer. Although requested repeatedly the DOB has never provided a complete list of the violations on the building. We know one of these violations is an inoperable sprinkler system, a problem that can mitigated with the presence of fire-guards while the system is repaired, allowing continued occupancy of the building.

Since the 1960's New York City's tacit urban renewal policy has been reliant on artist's moving into derelict buildings in less desirable neighborhoods. The city does nothing to bolster or support economic activity in these down and out areas, nor do they do anything to create affordable, legal, usable space for live/work entrepreneurs. 475 Kent is a prime example of this kind of turn-a-blind-eye urban renewal that has been a boon to the City of New York. A decade ago South Williamsburg was a dangerous neighborhood. Once artists take the initiative to live on the edge and restore and renew unused real estate in what were marginal areas the City becomes predatory. The transformation of Williamsburg by the artist community into one of New York City's most desirable neighborhoods encourages the city to move artists out as they calculate the tax revenue of luxury condo developers moving in. No one in any city agency cared about our health and safety ten years ago. Now that our building has become hot property the City is ready to muster all the powers of its many agencies to assist in the muscling of the property from the owners and the tenants. The tenants of 475 Kent Avenue call into question the hypocritical policies being put forth by the agencies of the City of New York. We cannot help but wonder what forces are driving this vacate and why the agencies are suddenly so concerned for out health and safety.

475 Kent Tenant's Association
The New York Times (who the landlord, Nachman Brach, refuses to talk to) reports that the timing of this "emergency" was highly suspicious:
More than 200 tenants live and work in the building, which tenants described as a small town stacked 11 stories high, despite its being zoned exclusively for commercial use. A massive abstract painting hung on a 10th-floor wall. The fourth-floor hallway looked like a photo gallery.

Late in the afternoon, one tenant, Lai Ling Jew, 41, held an impromptu meeting.

“We’re trying to figure out how to organize ourselves as tenants to get to the bottom of what’s going on here,” she said. “We love our homes. This is a vibrant community we created. People look to New York as the most creative city, and the city is pushing us to the edges.”

The meeting lasted past 4 p.m., in defiance of the deadline for the doors to be closed. Signs of confusion and sadness punctuated the frigid day. One tenant, Betsy Kelleher, said she had fought for years to get the lofts legally converted into apartments. She said it was suspicious that the evacuation came weeks before a court decision that could have made the building rent-controlled.

“They want to clean everyone out and then convert them into expensive condos,” she said.

Calls to Mr. Brach’s management office, Sheila Properties, went unanswered on Monday. Reached on his cellphone, Mr. Brach hung up.
Another report, however, suggested that Sheila Properties, at least, was as upset by this as the tenants:
FDNY officials didn’t know when residents would be allowed to return. A DOB spokeswoman said her department was working with other agencies “to communicate the requirements the owner must address to make the buildings safe.”

A man reached at the building’s management office, Sheila Properties, said the FDNY “evicted people in the cold for nothing.” Before hanging up, he said, “They don’t know what they’re talking about. The first time, they say it’s a fire hazard. The next time, they said the grain is poisonous.”
I'm sure the DOB and other authorities will stick with their story (which ever one they finally decide on) in the face of charges of greed and malfeasance, but this happens far too many times for anyone to accept their excuses at face value. I'm not sure what there is for us to do at the moment other than spread the word, though. If anyone learns of some organized way to help, please do share.

Image above from NYTimes.

UPDATE: Here is contact information for Patricia J. Lancaster, Commissioner of Department of Buildings in NYC. You can make anonymous comments, but for this issue it might be best to give your name and where you live.

Here is contact information for the Mayor's office.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
City Hall
New York, NY 10007
PHONE 311 (or 212-NEW-YORK outside NYC)
FAX (212) 788-2460

Labels: , ,

49 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the first paragraph, I think you mean "Dickensian," not Dicksonian. Unless you mean that they're acting like dicks.

1/26/2008 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

I'll let either interpretation stand.

1/26/2008 01:04:00 PM  
Anonymous JD said...

This is an infuriating story. Greenpoint and Williamsburg have become so awful. They're chockablock with hideous see-thru condos, selling for $800,000 each. Bye bye, artists. My cousin teaches in one of the Williamsburg public elementary schools, and the population at this school is so low that they're going to move a middle school into the building as well. This is because all of the latino families are moving out of the neighborhood; who can afford the rents? Bloomberg has never met a developer he hasn't liked.

1/26/2008 01:09:00 PM  
Anonymous JD said...

And thanks for posting this, Ed. I wonder if there's anything we can do...

1/26/2008 01:10:00 PM  
Anonymous KV said...

Organize, organize organize!

1/26/2008 01:26:00 PM  
Anonymous dog said...

Many people still believe that "greed is good." As long as that's the prevailing attitude in our culture, things like this will continue to happen.

1/26/2008 02:10:00 PM  
Blogger Aaron Wexler said...

I lived in Greenpoint from 1999 - 2006.
After grad school, living in a converted sewing factory worked really well for a number of years. It was a live/work - semi legal. Our landlord was a good guy, valued us and the fact that we valued and well maintained his property. I was there for that first dramatic sweep by the buildings dept. in 2000 which was a similar but larger situation as the Kent St. spot. But... it was multiple buildings and a lot worse! Many of the over-priced but beautifully maintained studio buildings in the Gowanus area (where I'm at) are a result of relocation - at least the people who didn't want Bushwick. Yes, it's happening again and will continue to happen.

Now don't throw your full coffee cups at the screen when you read this but if you live in an illegal live/work building you sort of knew what you were getting in to. Hey, I was in that boat too. Maybe will be again one day. It's awful the way artists are treated considering the revenue we generate for the city and real estate (condo) economy.

I have to say though, times are a' changn' and you have to choose your battles wisely if you want to keep making art and not fighting the city or yuppies or whoever else you blame.
Is it really worth it to live in a loft in Brooklyn anymore? Is it necessary to your work and happiness to battle "posers", real estate agents and
the buildings department?.... especially if you know
you're only a renter. Renters have very few rights,
I learned that in Nam.. I mean 2000. Another thing I've learned is that artists' don't have to be victims anymore if they don't want to be.

Ditch the L train, posers and American Apparel attitude. Forty Five minutes up on Metro North is better. Don't worry, they have Thai food and your dealers are moving there too.

1/26/2008 02:40:00 PM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

Of course you're right Aaron, but the same thing will happen five minutes up on Metro North once artists make that neighborhood desirable. It never ends.

I don't mind that the city catches up with illegal situations (and prevents true tragedies that unsafe conditions might lead to), I just wish they were as vigilant in neighborhoods that aren't hot as hell and development ready. It's the hypocrisy of it and the coldness of the landlords that eats away at me.

1/26/2008 02:53:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone please explain why an artist not living in NYC would want to move there.

1/26/2008 03:24:00 PM  
Anonymous Franklin said...

3rd Ward opens its doors to the Residents of 475 Kent

1/26/2008 03:41:00 PM  
OpenID deborahfisher said...

Someone please explain why an artist not living in NYC would want to move there.

Access and community!

You can lose your studio anywhere. At least here you can get people to visit it, fight on your behalf to save it, etc. etc.

1/26/2008 05:04:00 PM  
Blogger zipthwung said...

The only problem I see with this story is the speed and handling of the evacuation. Thats grounds for a lawsuit, it seems to me. Who owns the building? Is there a pattern of
sudden eviction? Find the law. Build the case.

"lame-ass hipsters who are deluded (either chemically or genetically) enough to think they themselves are cool because their trust funds permit them to loiter among the creative classes"

Does the Census Bureau keep tabs on this demographic? How do they compare to the students, Europeans, professionals, bartenders (professional), building owners and sundry who now anchor the neighborhood?

No one is entitled to a space in New York, no matter how geneticly or or chemically imbalanced they may be.

Go to South slope or further out on the L (past Bushwick - maybe Montauk)

Or you could move to East Orange NJ. No one wants to, but many famous artists were shut out of SOHO before they were a gleam in their parent's eye. Have you been down there recently? Full of old people. Not hip at all! Look at Chelsea, there's no place for struggling artists out for life saving culture to rest their weary feet. No place for artists to meet and greet within ten feet! No place to deliver a smack down on your conceptual and very very real enemies! No place! A GEOGRAPHY OF NOWHERE!

If your community is strong enough, it should be portable, hopefully with tipis and wampum. If not, be the recluse you are and take your deposit and FIND A NEW "SPACE."

Williamsburg is a mix of yuppies (the Bedford stop is for yuppies and has been for quite some time) college students, europonians (the euro is so very strong right now!) and six to a bed immigrants (artist, slackers diletants etcetera).

I've lived in a number of "spaces" all with attendant problems (flooding, dust, firehazards (real) and crushing/falling hazards.

But a rising tide lifts all boats! I pay 600 a month and if I didn't pay 600 a month I'd move somewhere else.

Let them eat cake. Yes, it is a clusterfuck Nation, to coin a phrase.

1/26/2008 05:05:00 PM  
Blogger Oly said...

Solution #1:
Start playing the game.

I.E., artists HAVE to start becoming home owners and not be afraid of the permanent commitment that is mistakenly attached to being a mortgage holder.

Check your credit rating on a regular basis, pay your bills on time, and buy your own space.

There is power in numbers.

Form an LLC corporation, or artist collaborative, and look into properties in disrepair-- I.E., speculation, be your own "evil developer".

Lots of artists have said to me, "But I don't have enough money saved up to buy."

No, but you've given your landlord at least $50,000 over 5 years' time in rent money.

Do the math.
Hello 5 downpayments right there!!!

100% financing still exists out there and should also be taken advantage of.

If you vow to be responsible with your payments and understand the mortgage industry's basic facts-- I.E., know that line #808 means the broker's compensation on the loan (commonly left blank by seedy brokers and so few even know what it's about) and #801 (points paid on rate buydown) on a GFE (Good Faith Estimate) means.

Know that the cutoff point for a 100% financing loan is now 700 + Credit Score.

If you can document income, show six months' of reserves, and a regular work history along with repairs of "dings" on credit, take advantage of 100% financing.

It still exists.

Calculate what being a renter means to you over the years.

Ownership IS the only way to go, because it's the same as if we were to join an NBA game and then say, "You guys aren't playing fair."

We can't dictate the rules that real estate property holders, developers and landlords play by, BUT we can educate ourselves and take control of a situation.

Also of note, 80/20 loans are still doable for credit scores of 640 and above, but 680 credit score and above can get you a loan with no hassle.

Historically communities based on a high percentage rental units have no power-- and power politically is the most important.

If artists could understand that ownership is a huge part of getting power, they'd have something to stand on.

There are also numerous government programs to take advantage of-- FHA, etc., but it's important to become knowledgeable, or this will keep happening over and over again.

PS-- As to the fear a lot have about ownership (I'll probably move, not sure how long I'll be there), this is a basic of real estate investment-- i.e., flippers.

If artists could get together and start to play that game, it would be a brilliant maneuver and a giant f'you to all the people who slum lord it over them now.

Oly

1/26/2008 05:33:00 PM  
Blogger George said...

NYC is finished as an art center.

Where do we go next?

1/26/2008 05:36:00 PM  
Anonymous stinky said...

"Where do we go next?"

We should all move en-mass back to Paris. That'd show 'em. Ed thanks for posting this. Oly's points are well taken, but I will add that this often sounds easier to pull together than it actually is [not to discourage anyone from trying!]

Back to 475 Kent, I found this link on another blog. I thought it was enlightening about the history of the situation and this particular landlord. I think it might help to answer the question "why here, why now."

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/06/22/nyregion/22fire.html?ex=1340596800&en=20df830b4be34d1b&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink

1/26/2008 05:53:00 PM  
Anonymous stinky said...

This is a better article on the landlord's other property:

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/2007/06/23/2007-06-23_hero_died_trying_to_save_an_illegal_apar-3.html

1/26/2008 06:44:00 PM  
Blogger Carla said...

I had no idea the eviction was so brutal.

1/26/2008 07:18:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"We apologize for any inconvenience, but we cannot accurately provide a score for the credit file you have requested. The file is reported as either unavailable, or does not show any record of credit accounts."

- I have no credit score.

1/26/2008 07:33:00 PM  
Anonymous stinky said...

Perhaps that's because you are anonymous:D

1/26/2008 07:50:00 PM  
Blogger Oly said...

www.annualcreditreport.com

The only website to use to run credit.

Experian
Transunion
Equifax

You need your FICO score-- and technically you can get a free credit "report," but you do have to pay like a $7-10 fee for the FICO score.

It's worth it.

1/26/2008 07:57:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, I did that.

Went from ww.annualcreditreport.com to Experian. I am all $0 and no accounts except for my student loan. Never owned a car, never owned a home, never had a US-issued credit card.

I guess you need to borrow money,
or not pay bills, to get a credit score.

It listed my current and most recent addresses, but employer was a job I left in 1994. That was the last steady job I had.

Now I am a little nervous about all of that information I've just provided on-line only to find out I am scoreless.

The Ghost.

1/26/2008 08:14:00 PM  
Blogger Oly said...

Sorry, anonymous.
And sorry to keep being sorta off topic, but you need to get at least 2 credit cards.

There's a secret to it.

You need to show that you borrow money, but you also need to show that you pay it off on a regular basis.

That's the basis of the modern credit-based economy.

B.S., I know, but it's the way things are.

Go apply for a low-interest credit card through your bank-- it's the best thing you can do to get your score up.

Usually takes 3-6 months to take effect.

NEVER get a store credit card.
Always a bad thing and it takes about 10 points on average off your scores.

Also-- NEVER have more than 3 major credit cards with rollover balances.

Look at me, the financial planner.
Guess my corporate whore experience in my past comes out well here.

But seriously, if any artists would ever like mortgage or credit advice, I'll gladly answer for them-- 4.5 years of insider info.

I'd love to read one day about this huge community of artist-owned buildings.

It's a possibility, you never know...

Oly

1/26/2008 08:42:00 PM  
Anonymous stinky said...

Oly;
Great info. Maybe a thread on this topic would be helpful?

1/27/2008 12:19:00 PM  
Blogger emily b. said...

TODAY, Sunday 4pm - CANDLELIGHT VIGIL-PADLOCKING OF THE ARTISTS' COMMUNITY AT 475 KENT
DO NOT POST ON THE 475Kent.com WEBSITE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE!!!!!
OBSERVANCE OF THE PADLOCKING OF THE ARTISTS' COMMUNITY AT 475 KENT & PRESS CONFERENCE

At 4:00pm Sunday, January 27, 2008 the doors of 475 Kent Avenue will be padlocked. Please join us for a solemn observance of the shuttering of a great arts community.
Come and show your support for the 200+ displaced tenants of 475 and the live/work community as a whole.

There will be Press Conference at 4:30pm

This is not a protest. It is a witness. Bring cameras. Bring Candles.
It is a peaceful demonstration of solidarity and proof that the world is watching the City of New York's attitude towards its creative citizens.

THIS NOT A PROTEST THIS IS A CANDLELIGHT VIGIL

Where:
475 Kent Avenue (corner S.11th Street)
South Williamsburg
Brooklyn, NY 11211

Please do NOT congregate at the front door. Gather across the street.

1/27/2008 01:49:00 PM  
Anonymous pearlygirl said...

Email Marty Markowitz, Brooklyn Borough President: askmarty@brooklynbp.nyc.gov

Email David Yassky, City Council rep for District 33, including Williamsburg and Greenpoint: yassky@council.nyc.ny.us

Find your own City Council Representative: http://council.nyc.gov/html/members/members.shtml


Representatives for
475 KENT AVE 11211

Community Board 1 in Brooklyn

LEGISLATIVE OFFICES

NYC Council District - 33
Council Member: David Yassky
Address: 114 Court Street, Brooklyn, New York 11201
Phone: (718) 875-5200
Fax: (718) 643-6620
Email Address: yassky@council.nyc.ny.us
Website:http://www.nyccouncil.info/constituent/member_details.cfm?con_id=17

NY Senate District - 25
Senator: Martin Connor
Address: 250 Broadway, Suite 2011 , New York, NY 10007-2356
Phone: 212-298-5565
Email Address: connor@senate.state.ny.us

NY Assembly District - 50
Assembly Member: Joseph R. Lentol
Address: 619 Lorimer Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211
Phone: 718-383-7474
Email Address: lentolj@assembly.state.ny.us

US House District - 12
Representative: Nydia M. Velazquez
Address: 266 Broadway, Suite 201
Brooklyn, NY 11211
Phone: (718) 599-3658
Fax: (718) 599-4537
Email Address:

US Senator: Charles E. Schumer
Address: 757 3rd Avenue Suite 17-02
New York NY, 10017
Phone: (212) 486-4430
Fax: (212) 486-7693
Web Email Form: http://schumer.senate.gov/SchumerWebsite/contact/webform.cfm

US Senator: Hillary Rodham Clinton
Address: 780 3rd Avenue Suite 2601
New York NY, 10017
Phone: (212) 688-6262
Fax: (202) 228-0406
Web Email Form: http://clinton.senate.gov/email_form.html

1/27/2008 04:16:00 PM  
Blogger joy said...

some good news has been posted here:

http://475kent.com/viewtopic.php?t=66

hopefully this will be resolved sooner rather than later...

1/28/2008 10:18:00 AM  
Blogger Kate said...

Move to Paducah, KY... they have an artist relocation program that is being studied by dozens of other small towns who want to build arts communities (and encourage them to stay by helping them become home owners). Huge, gorgeous houses. 100% financing.

http://katekretz.blogspot.com/2008/01/artist-relocation-program-have-you-had.html

1/28/2008 12:25:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

Kate suggests:
Move to Paducah, KY...Huge, gorgeous houses. 100% financing.

As a lifelong resident of the New York City Metropolitan Area, I'd like to handle this suggestion:

Sounds great, but you'd have to live in Kentucky. I mean, that's Kentucky. Jesus.

That's why people will still move to New York City: Because it's not Kentucky.

1/28/2008 03:25:00 PM  
Blogger J.T. said...

Hey Chris,

Kentucky isn't all that bad. Of course, I left the state 7 years ago, so maybe I'm not the best proponent. Paducah is centrally located though... just mere hours from Lexington, Louisville, St. Louis, Nashville and Memphis. Ready to move now?

1/28/2008 03:36:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

I don't want to say Kentucky is bad, really. I've never been there (although I do like their Fried Chicken). I was just trying to give the New Yorker's side of things. Which is, basically, "Lexington? St. Louis? Memphis? You're kidding me, right?"

1/28/2008 05:10:00 PM  
Blogger J.T. said...

Lexington... horses, tobacco and some coal

St. Louis... an arch

Memphis... good bar-b-q, jazz/blues

Nashville... country music

Louisville... the KY Derby, Louisville Slugger, bourbon

Come on, you know you can't resist!

1/28/2008 06:29:00 PM  
Blogger Oly said...

Uhhhh.... just what the hell is NYC other than a hell of a bunch of Duane Reades, Rite Aids, Starbucks, NY Sports Clubs, Wachovias, Chase, Citibanks, Banana Republics, etc?

Walking through Chelsea sometimes I literally have to do a double take of something that is not either a NATIONAL chain or a LOCAL chain.

There's so little left of what we think of NYC as NYC, it's ridiculous.

That's the whole point.

I'm not adverse to KY, but you need to tell me if that locale is hilly (in the mountains) and if it gets snow on a regular winter basis.

Oly

1/28/2008 06:39:00 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

Just throwing it out there for those who may have had enough, after reading so much about NY artists having to relocate from one neighborhood to another as the areas flip. If you don't like the sound of Kentucky, there are many other towns following their lead, and these places seem to be offering many incentives to get artists to stay and own property, not just use the artists as bait to make a place trendy, only to be booted out later.

Although I do know what it is like to move from a major metropolitan area to the middle of nowhere, I have never been to Paducah. My experience tells me that with a subscription to the New York Times, Netflix, and frequent trips to New York, you can have a decent life and focus on your work like never before. No need to decide whether to go out to that opening or stay in the studio.

1/29/2008 12:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do artists move to New York to focus on their work?

1/29/2008 01:17:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would it change anything if it became known that a hipster or hipsters, or yuppie or yuppies, lived in this building? It can't possibly be the case that everyone who lived in the building is an "artist."

1/29/2008 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger Edward_ said...

If that were indeed the case, I'd recommend the hipster and/or yuppie communities rally around their own and do something about it as well...of course that might require putting down their venti mochachino or their blackberry for a moment, but... ;-p

1/29/2008 11:38:00 AM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

Oly sez:
There's so little left of what we think of NYC as NYC, it's ridiculous.

Good point.

1/29/2008 08:14:00 PM  
Blogger John Morris said...

Has anyone thought of using the nuclear option? That means calling a strike-- If we can't live in NY, then why should we be showing our work there.

Face it, in the case of visual artists, one of the major reasons people live here is because they feel they have to and they feel that way because the dealers are here. Of course the dealers will say they have to be here because of the collecters, Auction Houses, media etc... Well, this used to be a synergistic relationship and it aint no more.

The way to break the chain is to pull the whole thing down at once. Suppose, for example 3000, artists got together online and said they would all move together. They could then use this power to make deals in cities that need people like Buffalo, Detroit, Cleveland etc...Even better if dealers joined in.

Has anyone ever read ATLAS SHRUGGED around here????

1/29/2008 10:56:00 PM  
Blogger John Morris said...

We will see what happens if the and when, the art market cracks since most dealers are facing the same issues.

The question really isn't-- Is NY Dead, is it in the interests of creative people to keep alive a city that does not work well for them anymore?

By starting over one has a chance to create a system in which artists are benefiting and controling their own existence.

1/29/2008 11:21:00 PM  
Blogger Joseph Giannasio said...

When I heard Woody Allen left NY and moved to London, creatively I knew NY was over, Maybe even the U.S.

1/30/2008 12:04:00 PM  
Blogger John Morris said...

I think that the fact this thread died means that nothing is going to change.

This is a bit hyperbolic but...

First they kick out the young broke artists in total squats but, I wasn't one of those so I said nothing.

Then, they kicked out the artists who made a bit more and were paying low rents and using spaces in a non aproved fashion but, I wasn't one of those so I said nothing.

Then they kicked out the informal galleries in "non approved buildings"

Then they....

And in the end no one was left to speak up or do anything.

1/31/2008 01:17:00 PM  
Blogger John Morris said...

If you are outside with a sign right now, or preparing a molitov cocktail ...or packing your bags, this insult does not apply to you

1/31/2008 01:41:00 PM  
Blogger Chris Rywalt said...

No molotov cocktails here, but I am having chai. Should I throw it against my wall?

1/31/2008 01:48:00 PM  
Blogger John Morris said...

You know, it's actually quite a good drink.. sometimes hurts my tummy.

1/31/2008 02:01:00 PM  
Blogger David said...

Suppose, for example 3000, artists got together online and said they would all move together. They could then use this power to make deals in cities that need people like Buffalo, Detroit, Cleveland etc...Even better if dealers joined in.

If word got out, those cities would quickly start building very high walls around their perimeters. Maybe we could make deals for them to pay us a lot of money not to move to their cities.

1/31/2008 02:09:00 PM  
Blogger John Morris said...

"If word got out, those cities would quickly start building very high walls around their perimeters. Maybe we could make deals for them to pay us a lot of money not to move to their cities."

An interesting point--I think.What exactly do you mean.

A lot of these depressed city's talk the talk about wanting people. It's time to make them walk the walk. To be blunt, about it a lot of them are in no position to be negotiating. One could for example buy up the empty houses and lots.

Pittsburgh for example has an area (not telling where) in which there are lot of houses in the $10,000 range and some of them-- and this place is not that far from the central area of town and the colleges. The area ain't that great and the $10,000 range house are of course in fairly poor shape. Decent houses in move in condition there cost more like-$30,000--$50,000 depending on the location.

Also have you looked at the demographics of these places? Your main opponents will soon be dead.

1/31/2008 02:58:00 PM  
Blogger David said...

An interesting point--I think. What exactly do you mean.

Just that artists (except for famous ones) are probably not high on the list of what I assume most city governments would consider desirable new residents. I could be wrong.

But what I really want to know, John, is if you are kidding about house prices in Pittsburgh. Here in LA those are average prices for cars.

1/31/2008 03:07:00 PM  
Blogger John Morris said...

I think that's the range. It was a few years back and I don't think it's moved that much. The larger, two--4 floor store front type buidings will cost quite a bit more--$175,000-- to around $300,000 for a perfectly restored building that had rentable apartments upstairs. "shells" will cost more like $40,000 and then might cost a bit to fix up depending on how handy you are.

Pittsburgh has many houses normal folks would be happy to live in that go for $40,000. Nice stuff will cost more like $100,000--125,000.

These are not at all unique prices for the midwest.

1/31/2008 03:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Relocation Houston City said...

It really is truly is appalling the way New York City treats any kind of art. I believe its appalling the way the world treats art, because really what would the world be if it wasnt for art?

Cheers,
Leanne

9/22/2008 10:03:00 AM  

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