In the Times yesterday, we were struck by the article “Bohemia Takes Its Final Bow.” We had happened to eat dinner Saturday night at the Life Café on 10th Street (or, as we like to call it, Tompkins Square Park North) and noticed that they were having contests for tickets to the final shows of Rent. So we flipped through the story and immediately had a feeling of déjà vu. Every city publication, including ours, runs endless stories about the gentrification of various neighborhoods. But we swore we’d already read this particular story, comparing the Alphabet City of today to the one portrayed in the Broadway musical Rent.
The feeling of familiarity was not unfounded; the Times did write the same story, in November 2005, but then it was called “From Grit to Gloss.” When they did it in September 2007, it was called “Paths of Resistance in the East Village” (this time they added fascinating history of an older sort). Our crack intern Kari Milchman tracked down several other iterations of the same theme.
The Times is far from incorrect — the area has changed immensely. And, you know, there are only so many neighborhoods getting gentrified in the city that one can write about. So no judgment — just a plea: Stop writing about the East Village before it actually becomes the West Village, okay?