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CREATIVE PIONEERS UNDER ASSAULT ON THE NEW L.E.S.

Published in: The Villager | New York | on January 24, 2013
Source: http://www.thevillager.com/?p=9910#idc-cover
Taylor Mead, 87, displaying one of his paintings, hung above his bathtub
in his cluttered Ludlow St. apartment.
Photos by Clayton Patterson
Mead pointing to a hole that construction workers punched
through one of his walls.

The old Lower East Side produced a long list of creative individuals whose output and contributions were instrumental in altering the consciousness of America and the world, in so many fields: music, art, poetry, writing, theater, film, photography and video, political thought, religious philosophy and on and on.

If I had to give a quick answer as to what was the most important ingredient which made all of this genius possible, it would be cheap rent and the possibility of living an inexpensive lifestyle. To create, one must be able to eat, live and have the time to work at one’s obsessions and passions.
Gentrification has changed the possibilities. I believe the muse has left the building. I’m not saying nothing can be produced here again. But what was before will never be again. Most of the players of change had what it took, just not the money. For most of the new power players money is the new G-d. Greed is the new passion.

I have slowly come to accept the change. What is — is. It is do or die. I, along with a solid core of radical, hard-core, street-fighting activists, put in our years fighting against gentrification. We lost and gentrification won. What depresses me is the continual purging of the longtime community residents and creative souls. Over the years, I have witnessed many different tactics to evict people. Fires, hired thugs, moving in criminal activity, damaging the structural stability of a building’s foundation, cutting off heat and power, noise, using the police and courts, lies, money, eliminating building security, and so on.

Recently Lincoln Anderson wrote about the stressful and precarious situation MM Serra, Taylor Mead and what is left of the remaining tenants in their separate buildings are dealing with. Same landlord, different buildings. Both on Ludlow St. Tenants in both having to deal with a landlord famous for being a by-any-means-possible evictor.

Lincoln covered some of what the tenants have had to endure, but the situation has gotten worse. MM Serra’s building recently had a nonsuspicious, electrical fire. Mostly smoke damage and an increase in psychological warfare. In Taylor’s building, Harry Antonopoulos is being forced out by some strange change in tenant law. Harry, like MM and Taylor, is a much-loved and respected, active, creative member of our community. Harry is a fireman stationed at “Fort Pitt.”

MM Serra, a filmmaker, runs the Film Makers’ Co-op. Taylor is 87 and lives on the fifth floor. As often as possible, Harry carries Taylor’s groceries and packages up the five flights. Besides, the neighborhood loves having a friendly fireman living among us.

Over the years I have helped Taylor deal with eviction and other problems. He has lived through and survived multiple brutal eviction campaigns. This time it is different.

Again, Taylor is 87 years old. He is a living legend with a long list of creative achievements. No question he is still an active, vital, contributing, creative artist. Until the Bowery Poetry Cafe closed, he performed onstage his weekly Taylor Mead multimedia extravaganza. He has been shown in the Whitney Biennial. Documentaries have been made on his life and struggle. He has acted in movies and onstage. Been written about in the Paris Review. In public he is treated with love and respect, and given the celebrity status he has earned.

He is one of the few remaining tenants in his building. The whole place is a construction site with all the expected noise, dust, obstacles, worker traffic, open doors, coldness and activities that come with construction. There is pounding on his walls, floors and hallways from early morning till late Saturday evening. Then there is the intrusion of the holes drilled through his walls. The dust. To have to live with this would be enough to send a young person over the edge. His home life has become unbearable. But what can he do?

It’s true his apartment is a mess. A real mess. At his age, he can hardly bend over. He needs a cleaning person to come in weekly. Lucien, the proprietor of Lucien’s restaurant and the Pink Pony, provides Taylor’s meals. He does not want to live in an assisted-living space, because he could not have cats. Besides, by nature he is an independent, make-it-on-his-own, kind of guy. To stuff him in a sanitized box, with dying people, would kill him. It is not like the landlord, Ben Shaoul of Magnum Real Estate, is broke. He just paid millions of dollars for a number of properties on Ludlow St.

Yes, I have to adapt to this Bloomberg New World Order where money, the bottom line and political power are what determine a citizen’s worth and value. But have we completely lost all of our humanity, sense of decency, respect for one another, appreciation and compassion for the elderly and those who have less or are sick?
It is not just guns that kill people.

Can’t we find a way for Taylor to live out his “golden years” with some kind of respect, love, appreciation and sense of peace and security? Is that really asking too much?

79 COMMENTS:

commentNick Zedd | 5 days ago | Landlords are the scum of the earth. Bloomberg is a fascist piece of garbage. NYC has no soul. It has become a black hole of corporate greed and mindless consumers. Artists are an endangered species in NYC, ignored and taken for granted by clueless inhabitants with no interest in helping them. That's why I left NYC after spending most of my life there. Living in NYC is a form of suicide. Taylor Mead, a national treasure is being martyred by landlord greed. Reprehensible.
commentMartin Belk | 4 days ago | Endangered? Try almost extinct.
commentDaria | 3 days ago | I'm interested in where you moved to. i've been here for 20 years and have been on the lookout for a cool place to move to. Just curious if you found one.
commentNick Zedd | 3 days ago | Mexico City. It's a magical place.

commentmonique | 3 days ago | melbourne, australia. still got it going on
commentJuicy Lucy | 13 hours ago | I love you man.
commentAmy Shapiro | 5 days ago | I was the primary caregiver for my father in his senior years until his death. I quickly learned that the elderly are an overlooked population. Even those such as my father and Taylor who have a loving community to protect and assist them are faced with heartbreaking unfairness. For most of us it is not unless we encounter a situation with an elderly friend or family member that we become aware of the lack of community support. I have no solution to this problem. However, as time passes the elderly population is growing, and hopefully will have political clout and influence in the future. All I can ask is for us to show patience and kindness to those who walk slowly down the street and may need assistance or just a kind smile of recognition from time to time.
commentLayna | 5 days ago | Thank you Clayton, thank you Taylor, Thank you MM. You are inspirations!
commentPaul R | 5 days ago | Clayton, thanks for a report from the battle front. Seems there is nowhere left to go in New York.
commentDrew Stone | 5 days ago | Great article Clayton. Taylor Mead should have a monument of him in that neighborhood. An absolute tragedy of epic proportions. They will not be happy until Manhattan is renamed "NYU Island".
commentmargaret | 5 days ago | sigh. the new new york is gettin us all down.
commentphyllis | 5 days ago | It's not like he can move into the Chelsea Hotel now either. That's gone. I'm sorry to hear this about Taylor. One thought is to contact the Andy Warhol Foundation and see what they can contribute. He needs to be in a clean and safe place but we all know that. When people had to move out the residencies at Carnegie Hall they all got spanking new spaces bought for them. They weren't the same sort of artistic bastions but they seem okay judging from the documentary about Bill Cunningham. Maybe we have to take up a collection once a decision is made about location. I'm trying to figure out where to go next myself.
commentUncle Waltie 1p | 5 days ago | " But have we completely lost all of our humanity, sense of decency......"
Not all of us have, but I'm afraid we're becoming a minority. A new reality has taken hold of the EV /LES, and it's exemplified by the likes of Shaoul, as well as the hordes descending upon this neighborhood, people who are absolutely clueless about its past. If I had another place to go, I'd be out of here. Alas...
Systemic Disorder | 5 days ago | It is sickening what is being done to Taylor Mead, and to so many others in the Lower East Side and throughout New York City. The landlords of the LES rack up fortunes thanks to the cachet of the neighborhood that the artists, activists, community gardeners and other long-time neighborhood people created through their sweat and efforts, then force out those who created the cachet. Money ├╝ber alles.
commentlady miss kier | 5 days ago | it's not just the east village. I remember when my landlord doubled my rent in the east village because it had less than 5 units .i wrote them a letter asking about artists adding value to the neighborhood. they never replied. i eventually lost the apartment . i moved to flatbush and reduced my rent to an affordable and comfortable position and guess what their trick is.....dont cash the tenants checks...hold them for as long as possible and then cash them right after x-mas or right after tax time. at present , my landlord has not cashed a check since April . the money sits in the bank. they are hoping at least 2 will bounce and that's all it takes to ...2 months late and the judge will order me to be evicted. theyv'e evited 8 people already in one year. Housing court says there is no way they can force my landlord to cash my checks in a timely manner. -Lady miss Kier from Deee-lite
commentJudes | 5 days ago | My landlady does that too, so we just opened up a separate checking account solely for rent. That way it doesn't get mixed in with our other money (which there's not a whole lot of!). It blows, but at least none of the checks bounce. I'm such a fan of yours—you should be living the rock star life!
commentMrStafford | 5 days ago | Pay your rent with Money Orders. Make 5 copies.
commentmax555 | 4 days ago | if it's a rent stabilized building the tenants (if there's enought left!) can also bring a group harassment action with DHCR or with the housing group Flatbush Tenants Coalition organizes groups of tenants. if it's unregulated tenants have very limited protections, also try lawhelp.org for resources. Good luck, love you Lady Miss Kier
commentmax555 | 4 days ago | meant to say can bring a group harassment action with DHCR or in housing group with the help of tenant organizers like flatbush tenant's coalition, there are others too, if it's unregulated not worth it.
commentGia | 4 days ago | Can u pay with money order I would!
commentAnnetelope | 2 days ago | One way to deal with that is don't pay your rent with a check. Use money orders and of course, keep your receipts somewhere safe. Taylor Meade is one of the long time treasures of this neighborhood and should be treated as such.
commentShaunna | 2 days ago | Give him a cashiers check or money order. Just have the bank print his name and you r address, photocopy it before you send it, save the . Stubb. Then they can hold them for 6 years and you won't have to worry about it.
commentH.F. | 5 days ago | I miss you, Taylor! - Howard from D.B.A.
commentRussell Beynon | 5 days ago | If anyone can get in contact with Taylor, if he doesn't know about the Nursing Home Transition and Diversion Medicaid Waiver Program yet, please inform him of it:
linkhttp://www.health.ny.gov/facilities/long_term_care/waiver/nhtd_manual/index.htm
I just helped a disabled constituent who had just lost her longtime companion. Her companion in his will left the house that he owned and that they had shared to his daughter. The daughter wanted the lady moved out ASAP. After my constituent was accepted into the Nursing Home Transition and Diversion Medicaid Waiver Program, they helped her find a new place and are helping her pay the rent. Moving costs were also arranged and covered. The idea behind the program is that it's cheaper to pay for all that instead of paying a ton of money for the person to live in a nursing home. So they might be able to help Taylor in one way or another.
commentMaxi | 5 days ago | @ Russell Beynon: the best anyone could offer... I'm keeping the link in case I should need to pass it on
commentInsane relick | 5 days ago | I moved to NYC in 1990. To some it had already changed.
To me I was 18 going to Cooper Union going to college later in
Pittsburgh and eventually coming back. I didn't visit the city much
After I moved to the island to work on my music, and the quiet of the island
Made it easy to focus, then world trade happened, I eventually moved back to
The city after being in the west coast. I walk on 8th street, shops are gone.
I walk to alphabet city/les, nothing but bars with lame music, lame people.
What is going on here?!
An artist with no peers, no place to go.
All this time I needed to find my voice as an artist
Mastering my crafts, leaving the corporate world to pursue
My passion....and this is what NYC is now?! Really?!
Now that I am somebody, NYC is almost..pointless..
Where do we go now, to change the world?
This NYC is sad, depressing. No clubs. All cleaned up
Commercial, top 40 radio out of towner bullshlt??!
commentkatrinadelmar 1p | 5 days ago | i just saw Taylor Mead give a hilarious performance in a film (from '68) at the Museum of Modern Art this week. Laughed my ass off. Also saw him read poetry last year. I'm an NYC artist hanging onto my residency here by a thread. It's tough. Thanks for the story Clayton, from your former neighbor (we used to live on the same block back in the day!)
commentSuki Weston | 5 days ago | I believe that THE WARHOL FOUNDATION, which is ever growing and doing good work, should look at the life of Andy Warhol's acclaimed 2nd SUPERSTAR. Find him a home and support him for the rest of his life.
commentCiscokid16 | 5 days ago | NYC died right after 9/11... Then Bloomberg took over... Then Trustafarian kids moved in... Killing any Soul NYC had left... Sad
commentMiss Moossy | 5 days ago | Taylor Mead is a national treasure, a great artist, and alive to tell about it and to continue his work. He is the same age as my father. I know because we discussed it once when I escorted him home from Penny Arcade's book release party at Le Poisson Rouge. We had a long conversation about fathers. I am lucky enough to have hung out with Taylor, so it is particularly painful to read about his situation, especially in the throes of the grief I am experiencing with the recent loss of my father. Still I thank Clayton for bringing this to light. It is only by making people aware that there is any hope of a positive resolution. The tragedy is that an elderly icon of our society like Taylor Mead is suffering this type of elder abuse in a time when NYC has a website called "Age Friendly NYC" where you can download a pdf extolling the virtues of "aging in place". Perhaps someone from the staff of Age Friendly NYC (or the Office of the Mayor or The City Council or the New York Academy of Medicine who lead this collaborative initiative) could step forward to assist Taylor in finding a way to "age in place" in a comfortable apartment in his own community surrounded by people who know, love, and respect him and actualize the wonderful idealistic goals of their website. http://www.nyam.org/agefriendlynyc/
commentCarine | 5 days ago | I've lived in one of the two buildings now under assault on Ludlow for about 20 years. Thanks for this article, Clayton. What you say about artists down here is absolutely so.
commentAnne Hanavan | 5 days ago | Thank you for writing this article. Taylor and M. M. are such incredible people and amazing artist. They ate true treasures, this is tragic!! M.M, told me her landlords turned off the heat and removed the stairs!!!!!"
commentPenny Arcade | 5 days ago | Clayton we all you a continuous debt for your commitment to all of us. This nightmare news about Talor, Harry and MMSerra is reaching me courtesy of Miss Moossy here in Bangkok. it is truly absurd that the hip quotient Taylor practically INVENTED is what has been co-opted by the heartless money people and I don't just mean the landlords. All those hipsters are completely unaware of what is going on around them...agesist as most of them are perhaps elder abuse, and that is what we are talking about here, cannot go on. Judith Malina whose situation perhaps a bit different is going ito an assisted living situation while the Living Theatre tries to regroup...Where is our EASTBETH? All this reminds me of the high hopes we had for Howl and the FEVA......We need to revive the Artist Housing Issue I know that it was going to be put back on the table thru The Actors Fund that became involved in the new Howl. Frankly as the rest of age it looks pretty grim....where is the young Clayton who will be looking out for artists under siege in our future?
commentpaljudy | 4 days ago | Penny....I'm in France but putting some others from Howl in the picture to do something immediately on two fronts. First is to get him somewhere safe and warm; then check his access to services like food stamps etc....but secondly, the landlord he is dealing with is xtremely dangerous. I have had a long saga in my building that started exactly like this with hallway construction. We survived but lost 3 tenants. There are only 2 other buildings where Ben Shoul has been stopped. I do know the people who have won against him and can advise and direct. Assoc like Cooper Sq are useless against this sort of landlord.Taylor's problems are two separate issues. You and I rarely communicate, but I wanted you to feel relieved that Taylor's situation (and the others around him.... by virtue of opening an avenue of dealing with any future buyout). In my opinion the 'artist housing' model to look at is Happy Acres in NJ (google it).... a self run community. Best to you...from Judy Nylon
commentpaljudy | 2 days ago | Opps....It's "Free Acres" that is a community that is a good model. The "happy" was a wishful slip. Judy
commentSubway Sam | 4 days ago | The real estate interests and hedge fund managers won't be satisfied until they've driven every last artist and creative person out of Manhattan, it's that simple. If you want to do something about this, keep in mind that this is an election year, and the primaries will be crucial. With that in mind, it is very important to find a viable alternative to Christine Quinn in the mayoral race, she's a Bloomberg clone, we have to find a peoples' champion to stop her "inevitable" rise to top of the heap. There are some City Council members who need to go, also.
commentmax555 | 4 days ago | Thank you for this, you said it best, there is no humanity left a millionaire like Shaoul who owns so many buildings is legally allowed to force a wonderful senior person from his only home into certain death and all that holds it back are the few tireless activists like you, I would like to add that LES archivist/ artist activist/ photographer Shell Sheddy was also recently forced from her home of 17 years by Croman the original Shaoul, in fact at first they used to call Shoul the baby Croman, heartless, greedy slabs of flesh they are
commentclayton patterson | 4 days ago | OMG- Shell Sheddy was also a victim of this ruthless gentrification. I never knew this. This is terrible news. What happened to her? 17 years living in the same place. Brutal. There is no longer any kind of security for people in this city. Bloomberg has tripled his billions since he is in office and our community treasures, the people who mean something to us, continue to be thrown to the curb like human garbage.
commentmax555 | 4 days ago | She was evicted a couple of weeks ago in the middle of winter, after a long battle in the eviction mill known as housing court, I think and hope that it's ok to disclose this because she had a fund raiser and so is pretty public about it, but the fundraiser was not able to net enough in time to save the apartment, burn in hell means nothing to me since i don't believe in hell but i really really hope Karma exists
commentDarryl LaVar | 4 days ago | This is a great article. As artists and people we do need and deserve affordable housing! Landlords and the ruling class only care about money and have the law on their side. They are pushing out good people interesting wonderful poets, artists to make way for more boring rich uninspired people. All that is cared about is money. The LES is like one big NYU dorm and wonderful artists like Taylor Meade and MM Serra are treated with no respect or concern. Thank you Clayton Patterson for your pictures and exposing the victims of the class war!
commentMo Fischer | 4 days ago | Clayton - thank you for your commitment to humanity, community, art & truth !! This article is terrifically written but unfortunately a horrible sad subject. There are a few good solutions in the thread - one of which is Taylor not staying where he is among the decrepit horrific conditions, that's no home ! The ruthlessness & carelessness of the landlord with $$ is disgusting !! With support from us, Taylor will live his remaining days in dignity. Thank you Clayton for paving the way for all of us to see the truth !!
commentJohn Penley | 4 days ago | This article is a prime example of why Clayton Patterson's column is such a great thing for the Villager to run. Clayton hits the nail right on the head and thank him and Lincoln for paying attention to Taylor's plight.
commentclayton patterson | 4 days ago | Thanks John appreciate your comments- spread the word and the link. Then take at look at who made the comments and realize how many people we know and how many of them have also been victimized by gentrification. Can you imagine that our political leaders Rosey and Chen voted for NYU expansion!!! Talk our selling out to the big corporate money....
commentfreestyle master | 4 days ago | VeWOW..... Just by looking at the way Mr. Taylor is standing on that smile in his face, he looks happy right where he is. GOD bless you, I hope I have.the same strength and smile when I get to your age. Making to 87 now a days is a blessing. You my friend are my newest insipration ad tears run diwn my face as I type this you do not belong in a nursin at all. You look stronger then must 35 year old I know....I don't live in N.Y. But uf I did mt doir would be open. On another note I know Harry personally, I had the pleasure if meeting Harry on BMXmuseu.com. We had lits if conversation iver the phone and I have never meet a more hinest and pure individual. You my fruend are a gentle man and a scholar. Big hug and mush LOVE to the Fort Pitt station. I know on some days you may not hear this. But we appericate your services. God Bless "Fort Pitt"
commentlaura rubin | 4 days ago | dont the elderly have any rights in new york? cant the landlord give him re settlement $? its dispisable that someone w/this kind wealth can be so petty. its only one unit, & why not let taylor stay, he wont live forever. i knew taylor for years, he is a monument.
commentHugh Burckhardt | 4 days ago | Clayton, Thank you for this article, all of this holds true, me and my mother have endured all of Ben Shaoul's nastyness so far on 4th street, with his renovations to our building and all of the dust and noise that went along with it. My former neighbor and longtime, childhood friend Alex, got kicked out of my building because of the fact that Ben wanted more money, and that apparently it was his mothers second residence. My neighbor Joy, whom is still in our building, had to go through all of that crap we had to, but it was 10 times worse for her. Fuck those greedy landlords!!, we will continue to go on and support the remaining artists, and poets alike. We are relics of this neighborhood and we will fight for our right to stay!. Thank you again!.
commentJason Ledyard | 4 days ago | It's not just the Lower East Side. Rents have skyrocketed all over the city including even the mega-lousy outer boroughs. I used to live in the East Village and it had a good community feel to it with like minded artists and other unusual people that helped each other. There is no place like that at all anymore and no one place that alternative culture can thrive in the city and as a result there is nothing useful here anymore and culture is dead (like the rest of the country). The residents in the village supported the creative efforts of so many, but now all local support is gone, since there is nothing "local" left.
commenthucklefaery | 4 days ago | This is such an important story. Thank you so much.
commentclayton patterson | 3 days ago | Where are our local politicians? M Lopez after she left her city council position became one of Bloomberg's Housing Commissioners- yet our neighborhood housing projects are behind other neighborhood projects in getting security cameras. There is no memorial for the murdered 16 year old Raphael Ward. Rosey Mendez and Margaret Chen voted for NUY expansion. NYU is one of the leading gentrifiers of this community. CB3 votes to approve just about every liquor license except for the one for a local Latino restaurant. Everything these politicians are for is against those of us who have lived here for years. Enough with the politician buddy system of what is good for me is good for me attitudes. We demand accountability. we have not heard from one politician about this victimization of our local residents. Some victims being elderly.
commentJosh A. Cohen | 3 days ago | Here's a perfect example to what our elected politician are, ignorant, selfish, selling themselves out kind of people. We should all vote for new political leaders. Since the ones we have to protect our rights and our quality of life don't give a damn. Let's show margret chin, daniel squadron, rosie mendez, and our one sided community board 3 that anyone could do there "JOB". They just show they care when it's time to vote!!! What a shame...
commentTim | 3 days ago | I agree with you josh they just show there faces when there's a camera or when it's time for election. Sad story, but the truth of what's happening to this neighborhood. Where are these community board members in all this? Why our "local official" ignoring this? Goes to show you when they don't have nothing to gain $$$ they don't bother.
commentpliny | 3 days ago | meanwhile the detritus of this fast disappearing world Warhols "piss paintings" for instance are being fought over by billionaires in auction houses world wide.
commentSHAME ON YOU!!!!!! | 3 days ago | People when election comes around we should all vote on there opponents and have them removed. But we have to make sure that were electing them for change! Not for what these elected officials we have now been giving us. When they feel a close vote there gonna step up there game and make a change, but when they feel no threat to them from there opponents they get more comfortable in there positions. Let's all vote against them this term.
commentstephanie chang | 3 days ago | I agree with clayton patterson and also with you (shame on you) on this. Let's put pressure on our local officials, to get there act together or they would not get our vote. Poor guy probably dosen't have a family member to go too. What kind of an heartless animal of a landlord does such a thing? These are the things that people with money and in power do. The hell with this community board 3 and there officials let's not reelect them again. Let's email & call there offices and let our feeling and voices be heard.
commentHamilton P. | 3 days ago | I bet that if there is a press conference on this, those local officials would be the first in front of the camera stating this matter was never mention to them. Meanwhile they read this paper more then anyone. There are getting paid by NYU and these other big time investors to look the other way. It's a shame to admit politics is a dirty game. It's like grab as much as you can while you in power. Then they live with regret of how they let there community down. IT'S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY PEOPLE!!!
commentWynn Chamberlain | 3 days ago | Thank you, Clayton Patterson, for this excellent compassionate article about the outrageous predicament of Taylor Mead. He is an authentic genius & we are concerned for him & also for his archive of his poetry & writings, Hope you are photographing and/or filming every bit of the destruction of Taylor's home & that you will put it on You Tube with the name & picture of his landlord for all to see.
commentILoveClayton | 3 days ago | I am so glad someone has finally taken a stand for this topic. It is unfortunate that this is what Les has come to. Clayton I commend you for taking the role of Public Voice about some serious concerns in our community. Your last article about how the home grown guys were being bullied around by cb3 was also a very touching article. We must step up now or cry later!!! Where are the politicians that we elected? it is almost as if we only matter during election season. It is a shame and embarrasing and it is time we do something about these issues and let our voices be heard!!!!!!!!!!!
commentMarygracesp 1p | 3 days ago | We need to keep people like this in NYC! The energy they send out to those lucky enough to come into contact with them, is contagious! This energy can not be swept away with out negative impact on our beloved city. Please help keep the arts alive and well in NYC! Share this on your pages and get the word out!
commentCody M | 3 days ago | I'm an attorney who does landlord/tenant work. If Taylor does not already have a lawyer I'd be happy to represent him pro bono. Any who know him please have him or someone helping him out, give me a call. 347-831-5491
commenttoobroke4ny | 3 days ago | Someone needs to help this living legend out. What his landlord is doing to him is a disgusting way to treat an elderly man.
commentJimmy C. | 3 days ago | I must say clayton patterson, I have to admire your work, I think your the only writer that has the guts to call out our local officials and this community board on problems in your neighborhood. Keep up the good work on representing your neighbors. You are a symbol of what's left of the old L.E.S.
commentArmand Ruhlman | 3 days ago | it's a tragic story that's been going on in the EV at least since the 1980's...including the infamous police riot against artists and activists that occurred in Tompkins Square Park in '88 <I believe Clayton has footage of the "massacre...">...that riot was a turning point...or perhaps a point of no return...in which the artistic community was put on notice that things had changed...never to be the same again...and that the real estate big boys...the vultures of New York...were taking over...with considerable help from the NY Times style section and real estate section...which proclaimed the EV to be the next big thing...at least for those with enough disposable income...and the pioneers of artistic revival in the EV were welcome to find a nice, cozy spot on the scrap heap of progress...can anyone say: Mayor Mike Bloomberg...and his concept of high-rise micro-units for "singles" in the city...I understand the units will have a snug feel to them...not too dissimilar from the sensation of occupying a pile of stacked coffins...
commentsally be | 3 days ago | Hear, hear Clayton! Where is the accountability? Hurricane Sandy was the latest example of how the NY elected officials have let the people down. This abhorrant and greedy treatment of Taylor and others in his predicament has been weighing heavy on the hearts of the artists that have been nurtured within the soul of the city. There must be an outlet that assists without driving them out of their homes. linkhttp://www.actorsfund.org/services-and-programs/howl-emergency-life-project
commentPhrecophrephlistic | 3 days ago | Vacancy decontrol is the measure that allows landlords to think this way. For one brief moment after Bush lost and Elliot Spitzer wasn't being taken down by the FBI so that they could keep him from coming after Wall Street, the target on tenants' backs was about to be removed. A majority of democrats were going to stop vacancy decontrol until one ass who represented the Bronx took a bribe and voted against the measure. That one vote stopped them, and they haven't had enough of a majority to take down vacancy decontrol ever since.
commentBill | 2 days ago | Clayton thanks for speaking out. We all need an advocate, and we all can advocate.
commentmm serra | 2 days ago | Thank you Clayton for an amazing article on what is happening to the L.E.S. especially to Ludlow Street. It is scary times now that money is the only thing that really matters! Taylor Mead is an amazing artist and a living legend too bad NYC does not value real artists. I appreciated your wonderful support during these scary times! xx mm serra
commentFUCK OFF | 2 days ago | but, yay, a bunch of assholes from texas are opening some fratboy movie theater.... fuckers. don't believe the lies that the alamo drafthouse represents bohemia and love for new york. they're a bunch of republican texan assholes.
commentAnne Ardolino | 2 days ago | One of the most important things is that Taylor MUST be able to keep his beloved cats. His art and his cats are his world when you come right down to it and he MUST have both to stay alive.
commentBonny | 2 days ago | Clayton, thanks for this column and also for creating the growing community here. We need to lend our support in whatever way we can. I just wanted to mention that when another friend's bldg (where he'd lived for decades) on 10th st. was sold the landlord gave him an apt. on Attorney st. for free rent in perpetuity. He seems happy there. I know it's a different landlord and situation, (the landlord owned the other bldg on Attorney St.) but can't someone negotiate a "buyout" of some kind for Taylor so that he might find a comfortable, secure place, not too far, where he could live independently? Also, if i can be of any help to dear Taylor in any practical way please let me know. I don't have the bucks for any financial help, but i can do other things for him if needed.
commentAnthony Buchanan | 1 day ago | I'm re-posting this again because of the severity of the situation. I recently re-watched BLANK CITY, and was reminded of the disastrous conclusion to that very vital part of their culture: gentrification. It's happening to San Francisco right now; I have many friends in the area who are feeling it, and maybe some of you reading this will be experiencing that. it should make all us young artists and activists reflect on the future (or lack thereof) of possible creative communities where we might hopefully find ourselves someday...or not. We Should Care. Thank you Clayton Patterson for the article.
commentTSB | 1 day ago | Excellent work Patterson/Villager. Keep on.
commentGeorgianna C. Cook | 1 day ago | NYC is not the only area that seems to have a "war" on the elderly, northwest NJ is so busy reducing services to save money that people who have meals delivered only get three meals a week - isn't that special! Perhaps it is time to resurrect the Grey Panthers! I feel very bad for the folks in the article, cultures are defined by their artists not greedy landlords!
commentkwebster | 1 day ago | I assume this help has been tried... The Howl emergency life project fund - set up to give financial aide to LES artists.
linkhttp://www.actorsfund.org/services-and-programs/howl-emergency-life-project
Project Home (part of University Settlement), MFY, CAAAV, AAFE are other organizations that fight for tenants rights. (I thought tenant law required a landlord to find comparable housing nearby if they intend to displace a tenant over 65?)
And then there is always “Occupy Buildings” and offshoot of Occupy though I haven't seen them here in Manhattan much. Occupy is young and caring and willing to put themselves on the line.
We lost Bialystoker and Cabrini- two elder homes that had allowed neighbors to stay in their community. The loss of housing for elders is a systemic issue and has to be fought by all of us organizing to refuse to allow it. Everyone deserves to live out their final years with dignity and help. We have a CB 3 Human Services Committee. How about joining this committee as a possible focal point for your efforts to organize an end to the systematic displacement of elders from our neighborhood?
I don't think we ever want to throw in the towel. There have always been forces that oppose common-sense humanity - history evolves because we insist on something better. These are the last gasps of an order that is almost completely dysfunctional to carry out the simplest of human necessities. It’s our job now to begin the work of replacing unworkable practices with thoughtful actions and policies.
commentxoxoxoxooldnuts | 1 day ago | Good work Clay .... you always do good work and so thank you. Do you have any of Taylor's paintings up for sale at the gallery ?
commentclayton patterson | 1 day ago | Funny you appearance in Captured is in front of a Taylor Mead painting. No unfortunately I do not have any for sale. Have shown him a few times.. Love his paintings.
commentclayton patterson | 1 day ago | I do have a show up by a homeless artist Anthony Dominguez. Anthony has been homeless for 19 years. Amazing pieces. There is a piece up on the VICE site about him. Call for an appointment.
commentjenny | 1 day ago | NYC thrives on the cultural capital that artists contribute only to shit on them when they are considered past their prime. Despicable.

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