janet_harvey (janet_harvey) wrote,

LES Death Watch, part whatever

I hadn't expected such an impassioned response to the posting yesterday about the closing of Tonic (thanks, Dave). I guess it just goes to show that one person (or in this case, two) standing their ground and saying "we are not going to take it anymore" can inspire people around the world and perhaps turn a tide that seemed, up til this moment, inevitable.

If you are interested in following this story, check out Take it to the Bridge, where you will find news on their city hall press conference, and a petition to the city of New York to enact legislation to preserve NY's culture of music.

The wonder, as Rebecca Moore states in an open letter informed with a fine sense of outrage and irony, is not that they stood up, but that in a community so closely associated with resistance against the forces of real estate development, nobody said anything before:

...too many alternative art spaces have closed at this point, and they have closed too quietly, too complacently. It is time ALL small creative and community spaces came together to declare their collective power, and their value, to this city. New Yorkers simply cannot let real estate developers dictate the entire cultural landscape and fate of this special, historic place. We cannot let landlords tell us what music we will get to hear in our neighborhoods, what art (if any) will be placed in galleries down the block - - but that is exactly what is happening. This is not culture formed by "popular opinion" or by true market value: This is about developers running everything and everyone that is not wealthy out of this town.

Alan J. Gerson, City Council Representative for District 1, released the following statement:

The closing of Tonic is a call to action for all of us who have been fighting for the survival of creative New York, and a wake up call to those who have not yet engaged in what now amounts to an existential struggle for New York City’s identity in the face of the new global urban competitiveness. I challenge other elected officials to come to the table on the issue of public interventions to save artistic creation in NYC. The cultural value chain runs on a matrix from production to consumption and from low end to high end with intersecting vectors of non-profit and commercial contracts. Until we deal with this reality and create some market buffers, we will continue to suffer this “market failure” and we will have allowed the total collapse of what used to be a world-class professional circuit of venues...

More here.
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