Letter to the editor, New York Times, August 25, 1993:
The East Village is awash in criminal activity and antisocial behavior, which blatantly occurs all through the day and escalates as the sun goes down. At 7 A.M., when I walk my dog, the area looks like a war zone. Crack vials, human feces, used condoms and hypodermic needles litter the sidewalks, building entryways, halls and stoops. Junkies are roaming the streets uprooting flower beds to look for the drugs they hurriedly stashed the night before.
(Yes; today you are all being the victims of a project for which I’m urgently neck-deep in research.)
This summer will be the 20th anniversary of the Tompkins Square Park riot. From the New York Times, August 6, 1993:
In a playground off Avenue A, Gerry Griffin watched Emily, her 18-month-old towheaded daughter, run after flying bubbles. Ms. Griffin said she enjoys the renovated Tompkins Square Park.
“For people with kids, it’s a dream come true,” she said. “I was against what they were doing, but I am really enjoying the effects of it.” […]
“They said they tore down the bandshell because people slept in it,” said Ruth Silber, who has lived near the park for 26 years. “Pretty soon they’re going to destroy all the subways because homeless people sleep in the subways.” […]
Farther up Avenue A, two officers on mopeds sat inside the locked gate, talking about Saturday, the fifth anniversary of the 1988 battle. They told visitors to come back then if they wanted to see some action.
Do they expect trouble? “I hope so,” one officer said as he rode off.
“Rent,” the worst musical in the history of musicals, grossed more than $280 million dollars on Broadway since April, 1996—and grossed another $330 million in national tours. (The 2005 movie version of “Rent,” by the way, only grossed $31 million worldwide.) Because I’m a terrible judge of everything, I was convinced at the time that it would close in workshops. Now, at last, “Rent” will close on Broadway this June. Too late!
Apparently there is a new (and exceedingly posthumous) Klaus Nomi album; there are three way-out mp3s from it on this site. Today’s Village Voice published a little oral history of the East Village legend. There is also this incredible performance on YouTube—which, oddly, is of quite nearly exactly the music (or at least the harmonic progressions) from Michael Nyman’s “Memorial” from “The Cook, The Thief, His Wife And Her Lover”… which came out in 1989, though it was apparently first performed in 1985; Nomi died in 1983. Update: Ah ha! Rumors on the internet say the tune is based on Purcell.
Mock-up photos of the “East Village” retail complex planned for Las Vegas. There’s even a displaced meatpacking district and Washington Square arch.