Monday, January 30, 2006

And I for one welcome our new fancy restaurant opening ovelords

My friend Leslie has a piece in last week's Time Out NY (subscription required) about my neck of the woods, the (decreasingly) dumpy end of the Lower East Side below Delancey Street.

I mentioned BelDel's (hey, it's better than LoHo) ugly duckling status early last year, and the neighborhood was pretty barren then. If you look at that map, you can tell how much development's gone on since then, especially in the past couple of months. And just last week, I talked to a guy who's looking to open a bar on my block on Orchard Street (he also owns Welcome to the Johnson's, apparently).

So that's great. But it gets to the question raised in the article - am I going to be happy about this trend over the long term? While we're not going to wake up tomorrow and find that Ludlow and Orchard, and see the mini-factories and warehouses and lingerie shops replaced by Restaurant Row, there is a clear shift in that direction. My rent is dirt cheap (partly because my bedroom is this big), I like the cheap Chinatown takeout around me and I don't have to put up with the noise that I would if I lived above Pianos or Max Fish. I like having my nightlife close to me but not that close, you know? And if I can no longer get my coffee from the bakery by the subway stop every morning, I'll be piiiiiiii-ssed.

But that just makes me come off like a typical bourgeois who whines about gentrification, the very thing that has made the Lower East Side safe and convenient for people like me.


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