The Times rarely weighs in on neighborhood development fights. But Charlie Bagli has a piece today about one of the last anti-gentrification battles in my nabe over a school that was bought in 1998 and sits in the cross-hairs of development v. anti-development interests in the East Village:
The opponents include not only neighborhood activists but nearly every local elected official, the pro-development Bloomberg administration and the owner of the penthouse next door at the Christadora House, a 1980s symbol of encroaching gentrification where protesters once chanted, “Kill yuppie scum.” …
More than eight years after Mr. Singer bought the building, there is no end in sight. P.S. 64 is a blight even as Tompkins Square Park, the site of a homeless encampment and riot in 1988, has been transformed into a quiet oasis for the white-collar professionals who live nearby.
Keep reading, and one discovers that neighbors have likened a proposed design to a Nazi concentration camp. Dog doodoo is being flung about, literally. The owner has threatened to turn it into a giant homeless shelter (take that, you liberals). Susan Sarandon has even gotten involved. And of course, The NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission is being used as a political tool (no big surprise; read a piece by Tom Wolfe eviscerating the Commission here). This is a must-read cautionary tale.
Photo by Marilynn K. Yee