This week two old friends of mine, Jennifer Armstrong (no relation to Louis) and Heather Wood Rudulph, released their book, Sexy Feminism. I see Jen all the time, but Heather less so, since she lives out in California and is married with a toddler.
Their reading was down at the Bluestockings bookstore, on the Lower East Side, and then we all retired to Lolita bar, just down the block. Heather lived in New York City back in 2003-2006, when The Lower East Side was still considered edgy, and there was nary a glass and steel tower in sight. We liked to think that we owned the place. The lot where The Ludlow apartment building is now was still a parking lot, and the paint was barely dry on The Hotel on Rivington. Who would want to stay on the Lower East Side? Progressive!
As someone who has lived in Manhattan since 1999, the speed at which the Lower East Side has become clean and mainstream boggles my mind. The neighborhood's charm was always that it was an other, a place where actual working class New Yorkers lived. It was authentic and sometimes legitimately scary. My opinions about the sanitization of the area are complicated.
Anyhow, here we all are. Haven't aged a day.
I also learned that 16 First Avenue, right in front of the bus stop, used to be an Artists Rec Center. The sign is still there.