East Village Newbies

A picture named hippieVan.gifI read a long article yesterday on The Villager about LEV, which is an acronym for Local East Village, which is the name the NYT-NYU project to blog the East Village goes by. I know all the people the article was about, Jay Rosen, Brooke Kroeger, Rich Jones, the NYU students (who have personalities and lives but weren’t mentioned by name in the piece). One thing I’m kind of grateful for, given the reaction of East Village bloggers to LEV, is that my name didn’t come up in the piece. True, I’m just an adviser, but I have some experience blogging, and I hung out in the East Village when I was growing up in NY in the 70s.

There’s a lot of planning going into LEV, as you would expect from two organizations the size of the NYT and the NYU. I think the people involved are well-intentioned. I think the East Village bloggers have every right to feel their turf is being invaded. I said in a tweet last night, after writing about the competition between Kindle and iPad that it must seem to them as if Amazon and Apple have all of a sudden taken an interest in their turf, and they’re not sure what that interest is. To which I would say, don’t worry, they’re not really sure either. But they think the East Village is interesting, and the Times covers NY and the EV is in NY and like it or not (and a lot of people seem to not like it) NYU is largely in the East Village. Having NYU itself watch the EV, esp under the guidance of people of high integrity like Rosen, Kroeger and Jones, is probably a very good thing.

My own perspective is as ephemeral as the students’ perspective. My current appointment lasts one year. I may have an ongoing relationship with NYU but what that is, if anything, is completely unknown. I’m just focusing on what’s happening now, and what I can do to help. And rather than bury my ideas in internal emails, I think I should offer my advice openly, so that any blogger can take advantage of it, not just the NYT/NYU bloggers.

So here’s the first bit — I want to learn about the history of the East Village. I want to know where the ghosts are and what they did. Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York is already doing a wonderful job of that. Let’s do more.

BTW, I’m following all the EV blogs I can on the aggregator I put together.

I wrote a piece about the Fillmore East.

A second bit of advice. Even though my experience in the Village goes way back, I left New York and didn’t come back for almost 40 years. A lot has changed in the meantime. I need a blog that contains a stream of interesting, useful even vital information for people who are new to the Village. For example — now that the weather is good (knock wood) where’s a good place to hang outside, read a book, watch people, have my coffee cup refilled, arrange to meet people. I’m sure people who’ve lived here a while know where to go. I’m a newbie. Help!




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