Is This the Future of the East Village?

Categories: My Rant, Sietsema

zbillyhurricanes.jpg

You pass out in the gutter sometime around 11 p.m. to find all your friends have deserted you. You try to get up, bleary-eyed, your face covered with candy wrappers and street scum. As you peel a prophylactic from your face, you look up to see a blindingly bright sign shining right in your bloodshot eyes: "billy Hurricane's."

You wrack your addled brains trying to figure out where you are. Did you pass out on the strip of dive bars that runs along the Cancun lagoon? Are you in Daytona Beach? Bourbon Street in New Orleans? Memphis's Beale Street? What hideous fleshpot have you been transported to where each bar is glitzier and more brain-dead than the last, where the themes of the bars are sad parodies of culture, where two margaritas cost you less than one, and all the bar snacks have been fried -- several times.

But wait. You look up at the street sign and realize you're in the hippest nabe in the world, the old E.V. And it dawns on you that soon the entire length of Avenue B will be lined with shit holes like this, crass dining and drinking establishments that might have been invented by Guy Fieri. Yes, now we're in the Fieri-verse, a realm of ostentatious overconsumption so abject, that nori rolls may come wrapped in bacon so as not to frighten the regulars with seaweed. Any self-respecting blogger would turn and run from such an apparition, yet this appears to be the future of the streets where Allen Ginsberg and Charlie Parker once strolled.

Naturally, Yelp has been there.


zginsberg.jpg
Ginsberg would not be amused.


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28 comments
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Marks
Marks

I am an EV, but do not Grieve.

Charlie Parker worked at Jimmie's Chicken Shack, aka: Billy Hurricane's.  He would have had a drink or two there.

Allen Ginsberg bitched about everything anyway... so yes, he would have hated it.  WIthout a doubt.  But, also being a regular patron of Billy's, I know for a fact that there is a very nice professional gay couple who visit nearly everyday, who are also on CB3.  So it cannot be all that bad.  Right?

Weekend nights there are crazy, but people always whine about the past. Place like Save the Robots; "Oh, why can't we have places like that again...".  Okay, would you rather give up professionals and such spending money in our neighborhood, or would you rather go back to having a drug-riddled street, with the seedy-of-the-seedy leaving the bar at 11am?  It's a no-brainer.

Guy Fieri is satan. 

The food at Billy's is actually pretty good.

Some of you people are just stupid and make the EV more annoying that it should be.

If you do not like the direction.  Move.

bob
bob

Honestley, just move out of the city.  Allen is not comming back and I am sure charlie would be getting drunk off a few cheap drinks.  You people all live in the past.  Im sorry the 60' are over.  move on  

Omar
Omar

 "I'm sorry the 60's are over.  move on"

Funny you should mention that, since the businesses that cater to boozerists are cashing in on that past.

Carolyn
Carolyn

This is a wonderful article, and a sad comment on how things change....

bigred93
bigred93

 What we need here is a committee of people from the area, selected based on their alignment to the communal interests of maintaining the character and presence of the local environment.  Sounds like CB3, right?  This committee could then come up with a plan for how things should go over the next while - 5 years, say?  Given the importance of local food supply, one of the things that can be done to folks who need further education about the plan and its goals is that they can be sent to farms in the countryside to communally work in agriculture.  Once they achieve the education they need, they can then be brought back into the community as part of the urban community-sponsored agriculture movement.

Sounds good, right?  It worked so well for Cambodia!  Shawn can be our new Mao!

Brad Burgess
Brad Burgess

 Yes, much like The Voice, cool things from the 50's and 60's have rotted to the core...Maybe if local media were more like The LoDown or NYTheatre.com as opposed to the this poor excuse for a culture outlet, then good culture could develop the core community it needs to survive.  Otherwise you end up with shallow, mindless people informed by shallow mindless mediots, who have no choice but to go to Billy Hurricanes and read The Village Voice.

  Your article (and paper) is no better than the bar.  Someone owns that "shithole" and is probably very proud of it.  Maybe you should write an article about Judith Malina and The Living Theatre, which is on Clinton St, or the 6th and B Garden and the people there...

  Go read a book, the Beats were some of the most ferocious drunks on the planet.  Your criticism doesn't even make any sense.

  Here's to the Village Voice!  Bringing up Allan Ginsberg for no reason, grasping for credibility, yet only able to curse out local dive bars in his name...

  By the way, Ginsberg wouldn't like you, he just told me so,

Love,

Brad Burgessall the way from Oslo just to stick it to you Voice

Joe
Joe

 There's still life cafe and the lakeside...and even max fish for now...

Mongillo
Mongillo

Weird my post came out all screwed up. 

rsietsema
rsietsema

Thanks for your post, Mongillo. I'd fix it if I could but I can't get in there, either! 

Mongillo
Mongillo

While this place is ridiculous, the hidden bourbon bar Idle Hands located underneath Billy Hurricane's is great. ridiculous, the hidden bourbon bar Idle Hands located underneath Billy Hurricane's is great. 

David
David

 Agreed.  Idle Hands is a great hidden spot. 

L7
L7

"...yet this appears to be the future of the streets where Allen Ginsberg and Charlie Parker once strolled."

Don't forget murderer (and fellow Ginsberg man-boy lover) Jose Ramos, while you're at it-- he lived a block away and once strolled the nabe too.

Enough with the nostalgia for the sacrosanct EV of yesteryear. Perhaps all the mythologizing does more harm than good, making the "hippest nabe in the world" seem all the more appealing to Guy Fieri types, eh?

Lady
Lady

I'd like to think there's a middle ground between EV of yesteryear and the Hurricanes & Croxley Ales. Those two places are a blight on the neighborhood - it feels like they're trying to turn our home is a tourist attraction for people who aim to binge drink and yell in the streets until 5am. There are bars and restaurants that are literally next door to them that manage to sell booze without offending half the neighborhood. Places like Hurricane's are a college scene without a college. I think these types of establishments seem like they should be closer to NYU.

Shawn Chittle
Shawn Chittle

 I could not agree more with you.

Mickey
Mickey

Yes, me too. It's not change or growth, or even gentrification I object to - it's the marauding drunks trashing the streets at 4 and 5 in the morning because they came here to get wasted and hope some EV street cred will stick to them. 

Jeff
Jeff

 It's the landlord's faults. Stop with the outrageous rents and you'll get non-bars opening.

Shawn Chittle
Shawn Chittle

 100% correct Jeff.

Superdivebar
Superdivebar

unfortunately landlords have to pay these silly niggling expenses like property taxes, water and sewer,heating, maintenance, upkeep etc etc .  and with the rent stabilization laws keeping apt rents artificially low, the commercial spaces are needed to pay something innocuos like a mortgage and maybe even pay a fair return on capital.  Here's an idea -everyone pay market rent on the apts then landlords can rent stores to nail salons or leftist dated bookstores. let's look through all this - it is all about ageism - old fogeys don't like what the youth is doing.  sound familiar old hippies?

Guest
Guest

Except that the percentage of housing stock in NYC that is rent controlled/stabilized is negligible, and has little or perhaps zero impact on commercial rents as the market rental rates for commercial space are determined by what the market will bear, rather than how much a landlord calculates he/she needs to cover expenses or make a good return.  Try again.  

Shawn Chittle
Shawn Chittle

"Bye, bye Superdive."

Signed, Old fogey in his 30's

bigred93
bigred93

 Man, I hate change too.  Let's take the east village and the LES back to where it should be before all this change happened.  Back to its roots!  I'm talking tenements, flophouses, open sewers, and cholera.  Those were the days, before all these hipsters like Ginsberg came along.  We'll form a committee to approve the types of establishments that can sell here, to make sure that they're in character.  If you get approved as a customer, you can buy some boiled potatoes and maybe a carrot.  If you're really nice, maybe some borscht!  Ah, those were the days, before all this nasty CHANGE came about.

Mickey
Mickey

It's not just tourists and weekend visitors, it's the frat house campus vibe that has infected EV since the colleges went on a dormitory building spree. Add that to the Avalon Chrystie instant ghetto and you've got a market for soul sucking burgers and margharitas joints like this. Thanks Mayor Bloomberg for letting anyone build anything they want on any street and changing the face and character of my home without any reference to me or anyone else who lives there.

David Stavish
David Stavish

Good God. That was the old Save The Robots space. How sad.

Elleringo
Elleringo

It's like MacDougal street, only much much worse, and all that cosmic baggage shot to hell.

dwg
dwg

And down the rabbit hole we go. I'm waiting for the place that has bacon wrapped in bacon. How bout this for a slogan- The worst in the universe. That oughta bring em in.

Shawn Chittle
Shawn Chittle

Many thanks for writing this up Robert.

No, it's not the future, not if we locals let it. It's oversaturated and we're fed up, and fighting back.

I call weekend booze tourists to LES/EV "boozerists" - the name has stuck in certain circles. Since Giuliani, new New Yorkers are actually moving here to "party" and "drink" instead of work, make art, or lose themselves. They are coming here and terraforming it into where they came from. WTF?!

CB3 has been battling this crap, with community members doing our best to keep these places from opening. Only so much we can do. We got rid of "Superdive" on Avenue A, and "Aces & Eights" as well. Maybe little victories to a losing battle, but we're not going anywhere and we're here to fight. Places like Billy Hurricanes are dead Sun-Thur, and eventually rents catch 'em. It won't be long. Also the 7th and 9th Precincts have been busting heads on underage drinking, and SLA has been listing to us more on approving licenses.

Tompkins Park Bagels on my block (Avenue A/10th-11th) is opening soon, which will be a rare non-bar opening on the Ave. We need to welcome them with open arms and let landlords know they can rent to non-bars and still make the rent.

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