Volume 80, Number 24 | November 11 - 17, 2010
West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Photo by Clayton Patterson
Tompkins Square Park’s “Tent City,” partly seen above in the late 1980’s or early 1990’s, was a highly polarizing issue in the East Village. At times, the homeless settlement occupied as much as one-third of the entire park. In his 2009 “Front Door Book,” documentarian Clayton Patterson wrote, “The L.E.S. radical movement worked to get the homeless off the sidewalks and set up camp in Tompkins Square Park. This would make the problem, to which the government turned a blind eye, more noticeable. ... In the end, many homeless people from the streets died, but a number found housing in squats. Some got apartments.” Neighborhood radicals also felt the park “Tent City” would help slow the advance of gentrification.