Clayton Patterson  PREV  NEXT  INDEX

By Ben Yakas
in: gothamist, New York on April 5, 2014

Clayton Patterson captured
Clayton's Catcher, photo via Gerry Visco, by Elsaa Rensaa

After 35 years living on the Lower East Side, photographer, artist, and documentarian Clayton Patterson is moving to the Austrian Alps. He's survived Giuliani, the crack epidemic, and 9/11; he's outlasted CBGBs and Mars Bar; he's been arrested dozens of times and come back for more. So what finally broke Patterson? Gentrification. "There's nothing left for me here," he told the Times. "The energy is gone. My community is gone. I'm getting out. But the sad fact is: I didn't really leave the Lower East Side. It left me."

Patterson is profiled in the Times this weekend in a long piece all about his decision to leave his beloved adopted city. The larger-than-life Patterson—who has a distinctive, braided beard, gold teeth, and looks at a glance like a long-lost member of the Hell's Angels—has one final photography show, "$16 Burger," opening in the meatpacking district on April 15th before he leaves.

Patterson sounds depressed by everything happening on the LES: rising rents, the loss of neighborhood institutions, the obscene displays of wealth by new residents, the lack of a creative community, and the death of friends like Taylor Mead. "The fact is, no one gave a damn about Taylor Mead," he said, "and what it made me realize was just how vulnerable people in this city are—even well-known and well-loved people. I might think that I’m the king of the world, but the truth is there’s no appreciation here for what I do or what I’ve done."

"Clayton is the neighborhood—or what’s left of it," added Ron Kolm, a poet, editor, activist and bookseller who once worked at the Strand with Patti Smith. "I guess I always figured that he’d be the last one standing, surrounded by tall buildings. This really is the end of an era."

Something tells us he'll be back though: Patterson talks about how his spirits have been lifted in recent months because he's found a group of artists, musicians, filmmakers and PR people who appreciate him (and helped organize the upcoming show). "It’s exciting," he says at the end of the piece. "It feels like we’ve got youth here—youth, vitality and interest. It’s almost like we’re on the threshold of a new moment. Who knows? Maybe this is the beginning of an actual beginning."


physicsandknives : Drama Queen.

bronxflash physicsandknives : fuck you

mike5054 bronxflash : He is being a baby and over dramatizing. You don't think so. Well you are wrong and being too defensive. This NYC. It fucking changes all the time. Get fucking use to it for move to a remote part of Europe where nothing happens or changes.

cp'14 mike5054 : no on asked for your subjective opinion. you are nothing and nobody. go tell your bff about your opinions because that is the only person who might give a sh!t.

mike5054 cp'14 : yeah to be fair no one is anything or anybody... including Clayton so stop kissing his ass and being a b*tch.

bronxflash mike5054 : Then nobody matters and everyone here shoudnt have an opinion and just remain sedate and dead to the world. Sounds great

mike5054 bronxflash : then your last comment is contradicting your previous one. dumbass Bronxflasher.

bronxflash mike5054 : 'Dumbass bronxflasher' ha!

mike5054 bronxflash : I thought you'd like that.

bronxflash mike5054 : You are correct

bronxflash mike5054 : I dont think i'm being defensive and the change in nyc in some ways is unprecedented. Honestly i think its part of a major shift in the very nature of cities due to changes in the economy and technology and as a corollary culture itself. You are right, the les i grew up with was a time and a place, but he is hardly being a baby, he is one of the last of the mohicans and another nail in the coffin. A lot of us want to mourn it and if you dont like it then let me know when your mother dies so i can show up at the funeral and tell dirty jokes in the back while the priest talks.

mike5054 bronxflash : Ha! You'd have to travel back in time and realized she would've loved it. What a little b*tch. Here I thought NYCer's had tough skin. Except when egos get hurt.

bronxflash mike5054 : Then you had a cool mom, much respect. It doesn't make someone a bitch to say nyc is weak compared to 20 years ago and i dont know whose ego got hurt here.

mike5054 bronxflash : Clayton. He's like Hannity whining and threatening to leave NYC. Just f*cking go and live and be happy here or elsewhere. Don't whine..

bronxflash mike5054 : You no longer have the right to express any anger or sadness in your life or have any dissenting opinions.

colinmincy bronxflash : Ok are you on medication bronxflash? You do realize that 19 hours ago in response to someone who called Patterson a drama queen, you told them "fuck you." That isn't a dissenting opinion...that is the immature response of someone acting like a jerk, which is why I am so bewildered at why you deem yourself qualified to talk about compassion and disappointment.

bronxflash colinmincy : Im sorry are you presently determining the range of emotions people are allowed to have? What drugs are you on? 'Fuck you' according to over fifty people is a perfectly legitimate opinion btw. As with elvis, over fifty people can't be wrong. Im talking to the fucking arbiter of emotions here.

colinmincy bronxflash : Over 50 people agree with me so I must be right. Classic.

bronxflash colinmincy : obviously it was a joke. develop a sense of humor.

colinmincy bronxflash : I have a sense of humor. I just don't think you're funny. I also don't think your statement was a joke...I think you're saying that to try to (unsuccessfully) save face. With that, have a good life.

bronxflash colinmincy : a) i think i'm funny and so do lots of other people, and b) 'as with elvis, over fifty people can't be wrong' cannot be misinterpreted as anything but a joke even if you don't get the reference, and c) the fact that you insist i was actually serious and am now trying to save face proves that you have no sense of humor, and also d) fuck you, and e) blow me. oh, and f) go back to where you came from which i don't think is here.

CrazyPills mike5054 : Calm down. Why did you click on the fucking story. Just stop whining about it and go read something else.

mike5054 CrazyPills : No. I'm just doing what I want. You can suck my taint.

CrazyPills mike5054 : Well quit acting like a little bitch. You're crying like a baby. Shut the fuck up and stop whining already.

bronxflash mike5054 : if you cover it in cod liver oil my cat'll hook that up

pipokun mike5054 : at the end of the day, he's done more than you'll ever do in New York. He's a transplant that's earned his stripes in New York and became an actual New Yorker.

bronxflash pipokun : exactly. he's the archetype of a transplant becoming a legit new yorker.

mike5054 pipokun : At the end of the day he sounds like a douche saying the only viable place for him now is the Alps.

Swan : That's what happens when you fall too hard for this city. Know your place among the rats.

hello_design : Wish him well, maybe the change of scenery will inspire him more.

Norma Desperate : the Austrian Alps?? well I'm sure he won't have to worry about gentrification there or a $16 burger...

Fantome_NR Norma Desperate : huh?

CrazyPills Norma Desperate : ...yeah, that's the point. Thank you Captain Obvious.

djturnstile : He'll be the first to gentrify Austria!

realposter djturnstile : something tells me his kind won't be too welcome in the Austria Alps. He's better off trying Berlin

fbxl5 : "You always take the sweetest rose and crush it till the pedals fall"

sunshine999 : Petals.

bronxflash : sad to hear this. this is very symbolic. a true representative of what was. unfortunately he is right, and for us who care about what was we are living in the past. i wish him the best.

Somewhere : The lower east side is becoming a much more liveable place. I have lived there for more than a decade, and I am enjoying it every time more. I can't complain about gentrification.

Eric Somewhere : WOW 10 whole years! I've been here for 30+ years and you are the people who have made a place that was once full of culture to a place full of yupies. Thanks

realposter Eric : oh so you preferred 30 years ago with all the drug addicts and robberies?

bronxflash Somewhere : you're either a troll or you suck but basically they're one in the same so fuck you troll you suck.

cp'14 bronxflash : LOL

Somewhere cp'14 : You think that insulting is funny?

bronxflash Somewhere : It was funny and you were at the wrong end of it and you're still perfectly described above. It makes perfect sense that someone who left such a comment feels entitled to not be insulted. You are the bane of new york. Go get robbed.

Somewhere bronxflash • 19 hours ago : You really miss the gritty city. I don't understand why. Go to Detroit. There is an empty house waiting for you.

bronxflash Somewhere • 19 hours ago : Go get fucked on something artisanal.

vegimitehandwich Somewhere • 2 days ago : Viva los whities! Can we get an artisanal butt cheese shop down here? I'm telling you, it would really do so well... the neighborhood is really open for it right now.

Somewhere Somewhere • a day ago : Eric et al: I am not a whitie nor a yuppie. And having junkies in the street does not mean culture (though you seem to miss the days in which you would not even walk close to Tompkins Square without being mugged). You are full of s***

Eric Somewhere • a day ago : Maybe I was doing the mugging ;)


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