Wednesday, June 17, 2009
When I think of Jane Jacobs preserving the West Village against highways proposed by urban planner Robert Moses, I can't help but be thankful. By keeping the streetscape intact, that neighborhood retains the character which makes New York City a special place. Photographer Louise Millmann shared with me some recent preservation activity in the East Village. In trying to prevent the entire neighborhood from becoming a homogenized block of glass buildings, the community has been organizing a series of protests, including a clothing line of soiled underwear right outside an upscale lounge for tourists. She and her husband, David Mulkins who has been a teacher of history and cinema studies at the High School of Art and Design for 20 years have been long-time residents of the neighborhood. Mulkins, co-founder of the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors, a community preservation group, is organizing a celebration of history and culture of the Bowery and a cautionary consideration for the future sponsored by East Village History Project and Bowery Arts and Science. It should prove to be an interesting battle to save the very essence of the neighborhood which made it appealing in the first place.