Skip to content, or skip to search.

Skip to content, or skip to search.

Making Rent

The East Village as a socioeconomic historical reenactment.

ShareThis

When the musical Rent opened in 1996, it was already something of a period piece: the singing, dancing, squat-dwelling neighborhood was giving way to $1,600 moderately aspirational one-bedrooms on Avenue A. When Rent the movie (starring Rosario Dawson and Taye Diggs) spent a few days shooting exteriors in the East Village last week—the bulk of the movie films, tellingly, in San Francisco—those same apartments were pushing $3,000. “I can’t really afford to live in the city,” said Paul, a locations assistant, who’s moving back to Connecticut. Kate, a production assistant, was staying with her brother. When the movie’s over, she’ll go back to her mom’s in Philly. Then there was Kathy Kirkpatrick, the 54-year-old owner of the nearby Life Cafe, the eminently featured gathering spot in the musical. She and her ex-husband built the place from scrapped wood and reconfigured fixtures in 1981. They originally paid rent in trade for fixing it up. “Jonathan Larson wrote Rent in Life Cafe,” said Kirkpatrick. Last June, the café’s rent doubled to $9,000 a month.


Related:

Advertising
Current Issue
Subscribe to New York
Subscribe

Give a Gift

Advertising