Thursday, October 2, 2008

Would an 'artisanal zone' save LIC?

...the last few decades have witnessed the decline of manufacturing. America's Main Streets declined, as did the neighborhoods in Long Island City. Then a new trend emerged, where artists, craft makers and other small manufacturers began to populate forgotten neighborhoods. They put abandoned warehouses and lofts to new use as art studios, small film production companies and custom fabrication shops. These informal artisanal districts reshaped neighborhoods. What was unique to this form of development was the fact that homes were rebuilt and not demolished. Long-term residents and businesses were not displaced. The existing economy was enhanced.

Artisanal districts would save nabes from overdevelopment

Every time these neighborhoods achieved momentum, the larger scale development industry saw opportunity. Being more politically and financially advantaged, developers were able to initiate and sustain rigorous activity that rapidly changed these neighborhoods. But a negative byproduct has been to shake up and destabilize existing businesses and residential enclaves. These have been supplanted by all things high-end and luxury.

In my neighborhood, all eyes are on a relatively underutilized district that has remained zoned for manufacturing.

But is it really a manufacturing district or is it a holding zone for the speculative hope that the city will cave in and allow more high-rise luxury development?

An Artisanal Zoning District would respond to many economic and social needs. A commitment to provide economic stimulus from the ground up and to help small businesses and communities that are already here, is what we now need.

Kenny Greenberg owns Krypton Neon LLC in Long Island City.


Anonymous said...

Too bad this has happened to almost every major city in the U.S., that is condos and highrises after arts had been there that were more than just painters, but craftmanship too that actually serves other business needs. Maybe the neu Hunters Point condo "community" will drown from paxil,flat screens, and hurricanes.They had no regard for the people already living there.Ive noticed and ive only lived here for 3 years.

Anonymous said...

Hell yes! Can you imagine if those buildings mutilated by Pistilli (Steinway, Eagle Electric) even Acquisto's Sohmer were made into artists coops and the industrial textures of those buidlings were celebrated.

Instead we get Eurotrash designs that look like a Steinway Club on steroids and human warehouses full of transient yuppies and guest workers.

Anonymous said...

The politicans did not want that element in their neighborhood - can you imagine what would happen if a block of creative types move in.

Play it safe. Mexican dish washers and Arab cab drives are the safe bet.

Anonymous said...

I just find it ironic and sad that we now need to create a district for the very people who were living in places like LIC (artists, craftsmen, etc) and were forced out due to overdevelopment. It's like when we continue to hunt a species because we need their land only to find out that tat very species maintained that land and now we need them to repopulate.

I'm all for the district, but I think the new residents should have to pay some sort of neighborhood tax to help the Artisan district get off the ground. After all, it's these new residents who ultimately helped get them kicked out in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Residents should have to pay some sort of neighborhood tax to help the Artisan district get off the ground. After all, it's these new residents who ultimately helped get them kicked out in the first place.
I agree.Well put.This new Hunters Point condo community does nothing for the neighborhood and if its as little as putting up fliers to point out their disrespect for the area do it folks.

Anonymous said...

Don't you all get it?

The NYC real estate industry
has always depended upon its "artsy/fartsy" pioneers
(as they see us) to revitalize
run down looking areas.

As my first example I cite:

Soho during the 60s/70s
was a low profile reasonably priced commercial area.

Now it's a glitzy over priced tourist/shoppers' and yuppies' mecca.

Habitation by poor oil painters
is now strictly verboten.

It won't be long
before LIC, Williamsburg, etc. will be following suit
(if this hasn't partly occurred already).

These art/pioneers are often too busy contemplating their own navels that they don't realize they've already accomplished upgrading neighborhoods for their wealthy landlords.

That being accomplished,
it's time to sweep the art/slaves out.

Thanks for clearing the land bub!

Now Rockrose and the like
will make millions off the sweat
of you creative types.

Go find a new studio elsewhere
unless you can afford to pay
the new rental fees on a super-duper condo!

Artists had better take some business courses as well as life drawing classes or else they're destined to get screwed over and over again no matter where the diaspora takes them!

How sad that those who create
the great stuff that civilizations are remembered for are often pissed on during their own lifetimes.

Maybe Leonardo had the right idea when he diversified by inventing many useful things and designing war machines for his patrons.

He didn't appear to rely solely
on his his painting skills !

Maybe we all have to learn to subsidize our own art by
putting ourselves on a multi career track.

Government doesn't seem to be handing out any alms to the arts during this troubled economy.

Grants are being cut already.