From his longtime, rent-stabilized perch in the East Village, Bill Weinberg has been watching the inexorable dollar-per-square-foot squeeze. But as he writes in The Villager, even he was taken aback when three familiar pit stops – a laundromat, a check-cashing place and Plantworks – closed their doors within the same month because of spiraling rents.
Weinberg wonders why the area needs yet another fancy gym (Plantworks is to be replaced by one). The one-time Youth International Party-involved journalist goes on to detail the ultimate personal insult – the name of another gym rising from the ashes of the Yippie Cafe/Museum on Bleecker Street:
The cafe had been closed for several months, as creditors repossessed the building and evicted Yippie Holdings — a surviving fragment of the Yippie radical youth movement of the 1960s. I spent much of my own youth among the latter-day Yips at the notoriously malodorous hangout that we called “Number 9” back in the early ’80s.
This was the most gutting line in the Post story: ‘The new gym will be called Overthrow NYC — a reference to one of the alternative newspapers the Yippies published from Number 9.’
Overthrow is where I cut my teeth as a journalist. The first reporting I ever did — on the anti-nuclear movement, Native American resistance to mining schemes, revolutionary struggles in Central America — was for the radical rag published on the third floor of Number 9. Now the name is to be appropriated by a joint catering to yuppie narcissists with some kind of prole pretensions…
Weinberg admits he had not been recently patronizing the Yippie Cafe. When he dropped by for the purposes of his article to chat with the “likable” entrepreneur renovating the joint for future gym purposes, Joey Goodwin told him that he had found Overthrow magazines “covered in cat piss.” Bottom line: If Abbie Hoffman were still alive and writing a tome today, the book might have to logically be titled Steal This Block.
Read the rest of Weinberg’s article here.
P.S. Kudos to Weinberg and-or The Villager for going with the word “simulacrum” in the headline.
[Photo via: Myspace]