Things change: If not Soho House, what will we get?

Clayton Patterson.

Clayton Patterson.

BY CLAYTON PATTERSON  |  In 1998 when Captain Cooper of the Seventh Precinct was asked about the explosion of quality-of-life types of crime in my area of the Lower East Side, Houston to Delancey St., he stated we were now living in an Entertainment Zone.

Who thought up the Entertainment Zone idea? Who was behind this plan with a name? Surely it was not Captain Cooper. Was this a BID secret plan? Which politicians were in on this? I do not know, and was never able to find out the answer. I’m still asking the question.

We soon learned the meaning of Entertainment Zone. Translation: The focus will be on clearing out the old businesses and bringing in bars and restaurants. It worked. Now every weekend is like spring break, hordes of young people, mostly in their 20s, come to the L.E.S. to get washed in alcohol. The late Marcia Lemmon called it an Alcohol Theme Park.

At first we assumed that there were rules and regulations governing how many liquor licenses an area could have. This turned out not to be true. There were many ways around the law. Tell the community board you were opening a restaurant, which soon turned into a bar. The club on the end of my block is directly across the street from a school. It’s not a problem because the main entrance to the club is on Houston St., and the school’s entrance is on Essex St.

The amount of rent a landlord could charge a bar or restaurant was way beyond what a traditional neighborhood business could pay. Meanwhile, landlords used dirty tricks used to force out long-term, lower-rent residents.

I either had to adapt, go crazy and become a hater, or move. So before automatically being against I decided to check out the new. Here are some of my experiences:

At night walking down Orchard St. I spotted four young people working on opening a new store. I went in talked to the people to see what was up and it turned out to be Alife, a new-concept art and sneaker store. Soon I had a group of new friends. The hotel project at 180 Orchard St. wiped out that Alife location.

Then there was the Christodora, at Ninth St. and Avenue B. After the 1988 police riot, the Christodora and Red Square, at E. Houston St. and Avenue A, became two of the main symbols of the antigentrification movement. For a number of years, protests started or ended at the Christodora. The Christodra had had a long history public service as a former settlement house. Now it was expensive private property.

Just east of Christodora is 605 E Ninth St., the old P.S. 64. By the late 1970s, CHARAS, a socially minded Lower East Side Puerto Rican group, took over the old P.S. 64 and renamed it CHARAS/El Bohio (“The Hut”). CHARAS/El Bohio was led by Chino Garcia, Bimbo Rivas and Armando Perez. It was an active, multiethnic, age-diverse, community cultural center, filled with artists working in studios, poets giving readings, playwrights, actors, putting on plays, filmmakers screening movies, curators mounting art shows.

In 1998, the Giuliani administration put the building — which was still city-owned — up for auction. Scores of Lower East Siders, including me, turned out at 1 Police Plaza to try to disrupt the auction. Despite the release of live crickets during the bidding, Gregg Singer was able to buy the building and took ownership of it in 1999. Because of community resistance against his development plans, though, the building stayed empty. He started pushing the idea of building a 27-story student dorm, first reported by The Villager. Community activists were looking for ways to stop Singer’s skyscraper.

Word got out that people in Christodora were now also fighting to stop Singer’s project. And then I did something I never expected to do. I entered the Christodora. Went up to the penthouse. A man named Michael Rosen was leading this charge. In the end, Rosen and friends — working with former City Councilmember Margarita Lopez — were able to landmark the old P.S. 64, meaning it couldn’t be demolished, or even partially demolished, for Singer’s tower.

I later learned that Rosen and his wife had adopted two neighborhood boys from the projects who they met at a chance pickup baseball game in Tompkins Square Park. As time went on I came to respect Rosen and we became good friends. The Singer building is still empty, a dangerous, abandoned eyesore in the community.

CBGB, the infamous L.E.S. music venue, started in 1973 and lost its lease in 2006. In 2007, Hilly Kristal the visionary whose name was on the lease, died. I went to a few meetings to see if anything could be done to save the historic space. It became obvious that the family was split into different factions working against each other. Next question: What business was going to take over this landmark space? The next tenant was John Varvatos, the elitist fashion designer, selling expensive Varvatos product. At first glance, it was a tragic spit in the eye to everything CBGB stood for. People protested. My take on it was before I got too involved in being against the man — and Varvatos is a real person — I thought I should meet the guy. He was hard to reach. We exchanged e-mails. It became tense. He finally came down with his right-hand person. We talked and found common ground. Yes, he was a high-end clothing designer, but his other main love is music. Once a month he cleared the space and put on a free rock concert. To get on the guest list all you had to do was send an RSVP to the Web site. Some shows featured famous musicians; at others up-and-coming bands were competing for a recording contract.

CBGB was over. Better Varvatos with a sensitivity to the history than a Prada or some other expensive store, bar or restaurant with no connection to the community.

Now comes Soho House wanting to take over the old Nieberg Funeral Home, at 137-139 Ludlow St. I check around and find out the are a number of Soho Houses around the world. In New York City, there is a Soho House in the Meatpacking District. I visited this Soho House. It is a private, expensive-to-join art club. My first reaction was, Ughh. I have never fit comfortably into the mainstream art world.

The debate over Soho House coming to Ludlow is centered on its getting a liquor license. If they don’t get a liquor license they won’t take the space. LES Dwellers, a local advocacy group, formed to stop more liquor licenses in the area where Soho House wants to develop. The law is on LES Dwellers’ side because the block has maxed out on the number of licenses allowed.

At this point, my position is different from LES Dwellers. I appreciate not wanting anymore licenses because we are beyond saturated with alcohol drinking holes. But I’ve also come to realize that we are now an Entertainment Zone and that there are enough laws on the books to bring the nightlife under control. Using noise meters, the police now control how loud and long the bands can play in Tompkins Square Park: No conga playing after 10 p.m. Basically, there is no reason why our streets should be this noisy and with this many drunks. Greenwich Village and Times Square have their share of liquor licenses and they don’t have the drunken stupidity we are faced with.

I reached out to Rachel Smith, Soho House’s membership manager. She convinced me that, yes, Soho House is private and pricey, but if a creative person wants to join, he or she can trade work for a membership. There have always been members-only clubs in New York City. The YMCA is one. Private is not my problem. I see many of the L.E.S. commercial and residential establishments as private because of the cost of buying, eating, drinking or living there. If Soho House is going to bring some kind of interactive creative space to the community, I’m for this. If the neighbors fear the noise from its rooftop space will be similar to the hell the Allen St. Thompson rooftop creates, then bring that point up with Soho House.

This new space will become something. If not Soho House, then what? Tear down the building and give us a new glass building? Another expensive clothing boutique?

Luxury apartments?

I have been offered an exhibit of my photos at the Soho House on the West Side, which would come with a free membership. I have not decided if I will join or not. At this moment, I do not see Soho House as a place for me to hang my cap. But, if creative people I know want to join and do not have the money, then I’ll help to see if I can negotiate something. The people at Soho House, including the company’s C.E.O., have said they will meet with people. There is no problem with meeting someone.

I did go to the meeting with the Barclays Capital representatives about the 180 Orchard St. hotel. All wore expensive clothing. There were at least five distinct foreign accents. I found them arrogant and completely out of touch with local residents. I don’t see ever setting foot in the place. And they will pull the old door trick, use the Orchard St. entrance instead of Ludlow, and they will get a liquor license. This license business has always been an insider’s game. Not much different from the wink-and-nod days when our area was an illegal drug supermarket.

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24 Responses to Things change: If not Soho House, what will we get?

  1. It's not about going back to the way the LES used to be. It's not about being private or not. And scaring people about what will come in the future if we don't cave, is just bad juju. It's about what kind of traffic a place like this will attract, the followers who'll want to have a 4am club next door to SH or around the corner. It's about the mushroom effect. It's about residents paying more and more to live in the area, and then getting less and less for their money. It's about having kids and hoping they can sleep at night without loud volumes, street screamers, and thumping base lines. It's about 24-hour businesses, when you used to live in a neighborhood where the ground floor businesses were closing as you got home at 6pm for some peace and quiet. It's about Bloomberg's high-end, development density pitting resident against nightlife visitors. It's not about giving into what some cop says is an entertainment zone. who cares what vocabulary is used to describe it? It's about having some say over what the neighborhood becomes.

    • clayton patterson

      I agree so what do you suggest?

      • …a community and cultural center with a mission based on the history of nyc's immigrant history. Building on what the Tenemant Museum is doing, but with art, dance, and music classes, a chess club, other gaming clubs, a salsa classroom, a store for kids run by kids, a knitting store, wood working shop that sells what they make, a daycare room for toddlers, indoor or rooftop mini-golf, and in-door skateboard room, a badminton space taught by former olympic champs, a ping-pong club taught by asian masters, a photography studio to teach the next generation to be like Clayton – only better, and other group activities for youth, seniors and residents where english is not their first language. Basically, a local mall for Us! If FAB on E. 4th street can buy all those buildings for $1 each, then this community should be able to claim this building somehow. But I doubt anyone would want something like this in the area now, because the area is soooo saturated with booze and the dangers boozed up people bring with them. sad really.

        • clayton patterson

          I appreciate your vision. But the city is cutting back on art and music classes- we lost the Pitt Street Boys Club- as gentrification eats it's way east- the extracurricular opportunities for the local youth living in the area are becoming fewer and fewer. Often, and not only the youth, can have a real hassle just hanging out on the street. If the project parking lots get taken over by luxury apartments then what?

          The buildings bought by community groups for sums like a dollar were city owned property. This property SoHO House is involved in is private property. One of the last major struggles to save a city owned building for community use was PS 64- the CHARS El Bohio building on E 9th street. There are times when the public Sara D. Roosevelt Park is made private and off limits for the locals- youth- and adults. Such as when NIKE or some other corporation has a sports event- other areas of the same park have been turned into soccer fields- I am not aware of any of the local youth i have photographed over the years who play soccer.

          As to immigrant history– What happened to the Mexican summer basketball games? Did the taco ladies get fined out of business. The summer street corner ice vendors are disappearing. I have witnessed one iceman being arrested and his cart taken for selling ices in Tompkins SquarePark.

          Our community oriented spaces are becoming fewer and fewer- we lost the Living Theater- Millennium Film Workshop on E 4th street has lost their space- looking for another place- The Vision Festival people are looking for a space. So much of this history one can read in the Villager- And yes- it would be wonderful to have someone follow in my footsteps and be even better.

          People make the assumption that I was the one who pushed SoHo House to come into my area. Or I love the idea. Far from it— my point is- what is- is what is- and better to try to get at least little piece for people i the community rather than nothing.

          AS to not liking your ideas- first off most people who own these booze parlors do not live here- and make no mistake- just about everyone who lives above or near one the these booze parlors would rather they be somewhere else.

          All big plans and big ideas- but how can anyone even think of something as simple as organizing when people will not even sign their name? Yes big and worthwhile ideas- written by a guest. A guest of what?

          I hear people complain- but where are the people standing up? One of the first steps is to clean house of all our present politicians.

  2. Great point from the other commenter. To be honest, I would much rather have the Soho House than another dive bar, but what benefit is the Soho House to the community as a whole if half of the people in the neighborhood aren't "creative" enough to join or they can't afford the $2,500/year membership fees?

  3. Clayton's love of Soho House is cringe worthy. He keeps digging himself deeper and deeper into the ditch. I implore you Clayton retreat with dignity. Admitting you are wrong, is the first step toward redemption…

    “There are two kinds of artists left: those who endorse Pepsi and those who simply won't.” ― Annie Lennox

    Clayton hawked John Varvatos and now Soho House. Pepsi next?

    “The saddest thing about selling out is just how cheaply most of us do it for.” ― James Bernard Frost

    Well definitely some of us – a free membership and art show? Seriously?

    “To make a deliberate falsification for personal gain is the last, worst
    depth to which either scholar or artist can descend in work or life. ―
    Dorothy L. Sayers

    Art is not fostered in mall-like chains such as the Soho House owned by billionaires. Soho House capitalizes on insecure "creative" and non-creative people alike who are willing to buy the false (and expensive) reassurance that they are neither banal or mediocre.

    Art aside, no more liquor licenses. What part do you not understand? There is no "public benefit" to having Soho House here. It doesn't do anything but cause more noise, traffic, and pollution. I say "piss off" Soho House. You should too. Don't go out as a complete sell out?

    • clayton patterson

      Let's just look at the Ludlow block of the Pink Pony. Houston to Stanton- start with gone is the Pink Pony.

      The luxury apartment on the corner of Ludlow and Houston is private to me…. the almost finished new high rise luxury hotel that took over the block next to the Pink Pony will be private to me- the next luxury hotel across from the Pink Pony will be expensive and private– gone-is the Teas business gone- the deep fired pizza gone- Earth Matters gone- Dare Devil Tattoo gone- gone are most or the tenants in Taylor's building- soon Max Fish- possibly The Hat- almost the whole block. Tell me what do you suggest. I get nothing out of supporting these business you speak of–

      I am just sorry that so many did not listen when we started the anti-gentrification movement in the 1980's. What we were protesting against is now here. Not my fault. Again 137 139 Ludlow will be something. No matter what. Is better to have a little choice than none.

      And btw- I did not hawk for Varvatos- as you stated- the Crystal family could not agree on anything- CBGB's as Hilly started was over. Tell me what you would rather have had in that space. It is easy to criticize than to do. The world has changed. Again- show me a choice. We have to deal with what is.

      BUT- since you see things so differently- TELL ME WHAT YOU SUGGEST… if you can show me away around this- please- please- tell me-

      Look at it this way- as you know- I made the Taylor Mead problem public- where is the help from our politicians or the people in power? No where.. period. Thankfully his niece showed up. Again suggest something real– we are in the middle of a war.. and the war is real- as real as life and death.

      And so something really- really simple- sign your name- stand up and be counted.

    • Clayton brought this to my attention. I’m not sure what pink pony you are but, we were the original and the ones to be rembered. I don’t want to get to into this fake Internet beef (filet mignon) but just to clear my name big fan of the soho houses at least from what I’ve seen. They have done right by many artist and people and the community that they create these houses, and I don’t see why they wouldn’t do the same on Ludlow with all these other boutique hotels on the block.

      -Zac&Lucien

  4. I appreciate Clayton’s laying out his thinking. There is no real security in the current economic system for anyone. And we are all tainted by it. Not any one person’s fault exactly, it’s systemic and it needs to change. Not just for the 99%’s sake. It really isn’t such a good life to sit by while the rest of the world struggles just to survive- not exactly “living large.” You can choose to go numb or choose an awake life and make it different. It’s important that we not believe the message that we are defeated – we aren’t.
    I too believe in finding common ground. The next license request needs to be made with a big offer – one that doesn't insult the community. Fully fund the rebuilding of the "White House" in the Baruch complex for youth to have a place to go instead of hurting one another. Make us an offer we can't refuse. Show us you mean it -not these two- bit offers of "cultural community benefits". The LES is chock full of beautiful cultural institutions. We don't buy the offer of the counterfeit version. And we do know the difference.

  5. Do we think anyone will be outraged if these well-heeled white interlopers get a liquor license after the local, hispanic guys on Rivington got turned down this week? It just seems wrong to me, so I can only imagine how pissed their suppoerters will be.

    • clayton patterson

      You may be right about MFW, but when I was there recently everything was in boxes, the theater was closed. If it is up and operating like you say- it is like a 2 legged dog. I do disagree with you- whoever you are- about organizing. I think you are dreaming if you believe that the cost to use the services you speak of will be affordable to local residents. Outside of school hours I do not see many children using the PS 20 playground.

  6. clayton patterson

    I had another SoHo House article but I do not see it. I made a follow jp to this last week's article. I am still in favor of, but time is of the essence as they say. Need going now. Any suggestions? thanks clayton

  7. Clayton, we will post it later today. We were away for our convention over the weekend and the week was very rushed, but will post it later today.

  8. Mr. Pattersson,

    From one that can recall vividly having breakfast at 7A in 1988 for $1.99

    and having been inside the Soho House as a Guest I would implore you to be wary of the latter. (And the former to be honest, as the “Now” Owner that also owns the space across the street on 8th and A does not pay his staff- only working for tips- and the years staff has begged someone to have rubber slip proof matting placed on the stairs leading below so people can stop falling)

    Soho House was for one brief moment, in the first year of it’s opening for Artists and the like- then quickly took on the “Over-priced Health Club Bait and Switch” Where Prospective Members are shown around during a small window of calm and laxed attitude, and selling many more memberships then capacity in the knowledge 1 out of 10 will actually show up on a semi regular basis while the rest use it as “Status”. Thankfully 2 or so real places still exist that are “Members” only- With membership being less then half of a Soho House and the “Interview” being the 98% factor in joining, If you do not belong to Soho House or want to consider yourself a shoe in. Soho House went on a public campaign 2 years back admitting they had “Lost the vision” they sought at that start and in haste revoking memberships for people that did not fit the “Artist” mindset and making a point to even have “scholarships” for talented people that do not have the almost 2700K to join and $70 Lunch. Yea…. Not so much… As to Mr. Varvatos- When he met with you did he bring the 5’10 female assistant or the 6′ tall charming man with the sleeves of tats? Does he like Rock And Roll- that is a given, but he still will not give the person that waits on him eye contact. He has done his time, bringing new life to Calvin K. with the Boxer Brief- then when not allowed to take credit leaving to form his own brand that now consists of a limited car design, a 25K home sound system, and of course selling prints for 5-15K of the Rock Stars he admires Dead and alive. I agree, The turning his flagship store into the shrine of what CB’s was with keeping the walls intact and encasing them in Lucite was brilliant- Perhaps that credit might go to The man that designed it, and worked on it- but the cycle continues. I would put it as this- Let a few of the boy’s from the 3rd street clubhouse have memberships to the new Soho House- And have them allowed to spend a few hours per day at the Flagship store-

    If they feel “Comfy” and “Welcome” Our Lower East Side is still intact- If not…. Sadly Gus’s Pickles is gone and forgotten, as will be Katz’s- as was the 2nd Ave Deli- This new Lower East side might soon belong to the Nyu kids that walk down ave B talking aloud how cool they are to be in the east village- Hell- Only 2 might still remain- Both living in converted spaces that are not meant to be a home and I withhold the names for their privacy- I have no doubt you know who they are- The new breed, Never will- because they will never have cared.

  9. Perhaps the next Clayton can be found, and mentored by the current Clayton, at this upcoming event: http://www.boweryboogie.com/2013/04/neighborhood-
    (wouldn't it be great if Clayton shared his column in this publication with a neighborhood youth – in a dialogue?)

    • clayton patterson

      Wouldn't it be great if I could, once a month, or so do a hardcopy youth publication? That would be great. How could we do this? Actually I am going to take this idea to SoHo House people and see if it would be possible to have something like that funded.

      I would want to do it with the kids closer to the street. I know of one particular posse out here right now I would love to do something like this with. These kids are heading for trouble- no question – and at the very least if they could get a writing skill – or a skill that taught them how to organize something it would be a life skill.

      In fact I have person I am working wit on a book dealing with street gangs of the LES- a person who just got out of jail after 18 years. I know he would help.

      If I could get this going on Ludlow- would you- Guest- help?- Let's do this- I am going to send an email letter to SoHo House about this idea. I would like to do a letter which included a number of names of other people who support this idea- and let's see where it goes.

      This is a mentoring job I am willing to take on. BTW- I have done this kind of thing before- when the magazine Beyond Race was up and running the owner and publisher of the magazine listed me in the credits as a mentor.

      Anyway I will runwith your idea.– thanks for the idea.

  10. First off I am usually in complete agreement with CP. BUT a couple of things. The John Varvatos does NOT support just any band, you have to already be established. CB's was not like that. Coupled with his high-end unaffordable to the masses clothing for men, he means nothing to me, eye contact or not. He's no different than NYU’s cancerous spread. BUT I have to say at least CP took the time and effort to meet him face to face. No one would do that but him. Now, I have a real problem with the 'exclusivity' factor of the 'art club.' Again, I am willing to bet that art in trade for membership is going to be pretty difficult for some, including myself. I have never had an 'art show' but have tried in nyc. Which ain't too easy for someone self taught. Not perfect but not bad either. Better than many. I'm willing to bet that the trade off will need to have an extensive resume of shows included. Although, I have not checked into it yet. I am deeply saddened by the state of East, West villages and LES, hell, all of NYC. I am an artist and musician who is also fascinated with the way it was then. I think the most important thing now is not to lose your voice. It is a cold hard fact that money obviously prevails in this city and development, gentrification mean money and greed with no regard for the “richness” of the history and disappearing generations who once owned a very real and beautiful yet dangerous culture.

    • clayton patterson

      Basically I agree with everything you say except for one thing- do not bet against yourself. You must be willing to give the membership trade a try. Let's do this- first make an appointment with me- show me some of your art- we will talk- and I will see if I can help guide you through the process. If it works great- if not we at least gave it an honest try.

      Remember I am not an expert on SoHo House. I have only been in the NYC SH a couple of times- a walk through and a brief visit. But since they are reaching out to our community, and have made this trade for membership offer I want to see it tested. No big deal. Contact me- if you contact me you are going to have to remind me of the context-

      • clayton patterson

        Two more points- 1- thanks for using your name- we are all real people here.

        2- I absolutely agree with you on this point: "I think the most important thing now is not to lose your voice." Believe me I struggle to keep my voice in the mix.

  11. Change is inevitable, however, Soho House opening up in the LES is a bad idea, and every landlord's wet dream. It would attract, not real artists, but the luxury-loving Meat Packing District crowd willing to pay top dollar to hang out and reside in “their new trendy neighborhood.” Don't believe for one second that Soho House has any intentions of opening membership to most artists who could never afford the $$$ exclusive membership price tag either. The idea that they would trade art for membership—ha! Maybe, if they felt like there might be some investment value in it for them. The other location is just another playground for the wealthy trust fund alumni. Once that population moves in, Prada, and other expensive boutiques will surely follow. The slow, steady takeover of luxury corporations of downtown NYC would almost be complete with the Meat Packing District, Soho, and now the LES as shopping and entertainment meccas for the rich, a full house in poker terms, and that would be Bloomberg's wet dream.

    Gone would be the families and “community” who have made the LES their home for decades, and I'll bet it would be a speedy process. Why do you think NYCHA has closed their waiting lists for housing? The goal is to eventually move middle and low income families out of LES housing near the river, and turn them into co-ops baby! Ironically, in case you haven't noticed, many new buildings are popping up all over the place under the guise of “affordable housing” when they're anything but.

    The real problem is the sentiment and methodology perpetuated by a group of young landlords buying up existing properties downtown, who have total disregard for tenant rights and rent stabilization laws, who are pulling every trick in the book to throw residents out of their homes, and they're winning almost every time. Corruption seems to prevail these days, and some housing court judges play a big role in the game. The state of affairs of landlord tenant laws is a crying shame.

    So you ask what or who will make the change? For one thing, people have to know their rights, for instance, tell every person you know over 60 yrs old about S.C.R.I.E (Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption) protecting tenants 62 and older from rent increases as long as their income meets certain guidelines. Expose and hold landlords accountable for their actions. Call channel 7 news, file class action lawsuits, help your neighbors find resources. Let's start a campaign to give tenants the tools they need to stand up and fight for their rights. Its a small step in the right direction.

    • clayton patterson

      I agree with most of what you are saying here. I have not made up my mind on SoHo House. They have not been tested. Since they have reached out to the community I am willing to listen and give them a chance.

      I want to see local, that is LES, artists apply for the free membership. I would like to know who tries and what happened. I want to be informed about this process.

      There are already LES groups engaged in struggle for tenant rights- for example GOLES. BUT make no mistake we need a whole new highly energized, dedicated, collective of young bloods willing to take on the fight. What we really need is to change all of our local politicians. We are in desperate need of political leadership.

      People need to get together. Protesting & direct action is one arm- political leadership is the other arm. We need new political leaders. Period! Some people are starting to form groups. I know there is some serious talk about a group forming to deal with Hispanic issues.

      And BTW- we have lost thousands of LES'er's already . Everyone always mentions the projects, but do not forget the tenements. Taylor Mead was lucky his case was made public and he had strong supporters. As a rule individual tenant struggles tend to be over looked. And yes, I agree, the projects are sitting on prime real-estate, and are in jeopardy of some kind of eviction scheme. A scheme which will somehow benefit a few politicians and a developer.

      The tenant population in the projects is changing. The diversity and the newness of tenants will make it easier to introduce change. The giant step of attempting to sell the open spaces within the project property, for example parking lots, green spaces, so developers can build luxury apartments is a bold takeover move. The changes in the laws, rules, regulations, regarding project tenant rights, has made it easier to evict people.

      If the reader knows much old school and even new school inner city LES history- think about the consequences of this LAW-

      "A criminal history can affect your eligibility for both public housing and, if a … can often trigger eviction of you or your entire household from public or private housing. … conviction might prevent you from living in public housing, even if your family …. Under Federal Laws, Public Housing Authorities (like NYCHA in New York …" AND SO on.

      Now think about this– the resent bust of those 40 young people caught selling drugs– think about the repercussions of that bust. This is a very long discussion- inner city politics- ethnic politics- class-war and so on.

  12. Andrea you are so right and insightful…. Soho House is the start of a speedier gentrification toward NY becoming what Bloomberg (and Quinn if god-forbid she is elected) intended a gilded city for and the rich to live and play, and a giant suburban shopping mall of chain stores for tourists. Ask yourself this Clayton the 1 percent saw their incomes increase by 7% during the economic downturn while the middle, working class and poor dropped in the double digits.

    The few shops and restaurants left will be gone replaced by luxury shops and corporate chains, and the rent stabilized and controlled residents squeezed out until no one remains. This is the LES Bid (trying so hard to expand everywhere) and every landlord ie Shaoul, Mizrahi and Mahfar dream come true. They will get Meatpacking prices soon for their properties, closing down every little shop left along the way, and wiping out the middle class and whatever little culture is left here.

    Be careful what you wish for Clayton for the LES. You are propagating a lie about what Soho House is. Next to Soho House will pop up a different nightlife – more high end. Libation, Piano's will just be redressed to cater to the Meatpacking crowd. Everything stays the same for residents – noise, crowds, pollution, no retail diversity, but the landlords and Soho House and all the places that come it its wake make out like bandits. Look to the Meatpacking for the evidence of what fate awaits the LES

  13. clayton patterson

    To say that this is my wish is – well- simply put NO!

    In the beginning we fought against the BID. For a while we won and were able to keep it away from Essex street. Talk to our politicians. We have never had political representation in this area.

    As far as the wake goes- for me anyway- it is basically over. Dead. Finished. If I can make SoHo House work for a few people I will be happy enough. On the side of Varvatos and SoHo House, from my point of view, they represent the vision, work, investment of one individual. The individual is still a real person who exists. The flaw in the Michael Moore movie Roger and Me- (I loved that movie) is Roger Smith is not GM- he was the acting CEO at the time. But Roger worked to make the point of the movie.

    To me SoHo House just is – I appreciate the fact that they reached out to the community. What other business did that? I wonder– if SH had not reached out to community and started this dialogue if anyone would have even noticed them coming. Once here and settled in will we even notice the place? Probably not.

    In terms of my connection to the hood, the next change that really matters to me, in a deep and personal way, will be the loss of A.R.A. bodega. The lease ends at the end of this month and they have 3 months to clear out. SoHo House, even if I ever become a member, can never come close to replacing what I got out of that deli. I started going there when it was a meat market. (this is a long history/conversation- but if one just took into consideration the changes and the loss of Hispanic businesses- on Stanton- from Allen to Essex it would be a worthy topic for a book).

    In our area, A.R.A. is the last Hispanic bodega hangout. I have watched Miguel, who works there, grow from a young teenager into a man. In the early AM Taylor Mead would stop by, pick up some milk and cat food, then go out and feed the local strays. Ronald grew up across the street, joined the army and today, Sunday, 04.27.13 he is heading off to boot camp. Over, the years, I have documented so many of the people who used to hang out there. I am probably the only so-called white guy to actually hangout. Over the years I have documented enough of that whole area to feel a deep connection to, a love for, the people and the place. All of it– the good- the bad- and the ugly. Yes the young ones grew up I have grown old intertwining my soul, my heart, my very being, into this area. I have spent just about all of my adult life on the LES. In large part the LES has formed who I became… not only as an artist, or a documentarian, but as a human-being.

    I have always been closer to these LES streets than any institution, or art world connection, or corporate environment. I have always been an outsider. One of the true beauties and blessings of living in our area is we were always outside the box. We were the forgotten,overlooked, part of the LES. Now we are the Entertainment Zone.

    My big debate is not SoHo House- but is there enough left here to keep me here. Maybe not.

    So to suggest that I do not care is just silly.

  14. clayton pattersson

    First a point of clarification, the 3 local Hispanic guys, Orlando, Enrique, and Javier, who were denied the Rivington Street liquor license are as well heeled as any of the people who will be going to SoHo House. Another important point is for those us who have survived the years of neglect and abandonment, living in this no man's land between Houston and Delancey, we are connected because of community. At least that is the way I feel about it. Our area was never the safe and secure, well taken care of, Grand Street section of the community, nor were we the sexy East Village. Over the years I have taken thousands of photographs of the people in the community. For example, some photographs are from when they were young kids going to PS 20, to now they have kids the same age as when I first took their photo. We are still a real community.

    I introduced Orlando, Enrique, and Johnny Marines to the people at SoHo House. In fact they are a much better fit to the place than I am. And I hope they get a free membership. The liquor license is a different matter.

    Yes I am sure the new luxury hotels being built will get licenses. And no I do not think the complainers will challenge the heights of the new hotels, even though the hotel construction was halted, never completed, and is still a long way from finished.

    These buildings are more than just liquor licenses, they create shadows, block skyline views, will increase traffic congestion, and eventually this next stage of gentrification will make it even harder for the long time residents to stay in the area.

    I am including a link to a story I made happen and got into the Villager. Many of us are proud and admire the achievements our local residents, neighbors, friends, entrepreneurs, soon to be restaurant owners have made. I understand the frustration of the people who supported them getting a liqour license. I feel the same frustration, just as I appreciate the Hell our neighbors are living with because of these liquor licenses. Those who protested against the new liquor license and won are not our enemy. We are all suffering from the same Yuppie invasion disease. We need to stand together. We need new political leaders.

    L.E.S. success story: Bodegas to Wholesome Foods market
    thevillager.com/villager_265/lessuccess.html

    Beyond this point– I hope you are right that people are pissed off. It is about time.

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