I think we have now come full circle with the insanity and cruelty known as gentrification. There is no room for doubt about the message that is being sent to this neighborhood: “We do not care about you, nor do we care for you.”
There are two furniture stores and one restaurant all within two blocks: Blood Alley, Abbott Street, and Water Street. Salt restaurant in Blood Alley, Inform Furniture store at 50 Water Street, and Mountauk Sofa at 228 Abbott Street.
What is being served and sold in these places has nothing to do with us, or with our neighborhood. Let us start with a little lunch at Salt. We are a group of 6, and luckily not too hungry, because here is the bill: $227.00. But to me, the food should have cost about $107, not $227.
The other and even more disturbing thing here is the entrance to Salt; it is amidst dumpsters and debris and many alcohol and drug addicted people hanging out and foraging in same alley.
A comment posted on the Salt website by one of its patrons said:“the sketchy location I suppose is part of the charm. Crack heads, hipsters and yuppies unite! Liked: Food, Atmosphere. Disliked: Value.”
It appears the restaurant was counting on just such mind-sets: charm? When people are ill, poor, uncared for or about, addicted and leaning against the walls or looking through the garbage, and are seen as charming, then what can we possibly hope for? These remarks reveal a jaded mind, a spirit brutalized by wallowing in too much money, and too little compassion.
It is interesting that this customer had concerns with the price; even well-moneyed patrons seem to balk at this, even snickering.
And the snickering continues as we come to Mountauk. I went into the store personally, no appointment was made. Someone in the back was sitting behind a desk, and was quite forthcoming with information. And why not? There certainly is no line up here. I asked about the armoire, which is really a cabinet/wardrobe made out of wood. It is $20,000.00, yes; you read right. A coffee table out of brick resting on an iron frame was $8,000.00. And a most uncomfortable reclining chair without armrests, called fittingly a grasshopper chair, can be had for $12,000.00.
This store is on the corner of Abbott and Blood Alley, again, a display of opulence bordering on vulgarity, with their overbearing presence, to offset the folks around the corner, who are experiencing unspeakable poverty, on all levels!
I also went into Inform on 50 Water Street, and had no trouble walking around and looking at the price tickets hanging off stuff which looked very IKEA, but oh, that was the only similarity. A stand up lamp, $12,000.00, a spindly little shelf $14,000.00, and on and on it goes. What is the difference to us, 6 or 60 thousand? It is all of the same unimportance to us.
What is crucial and all-consuming is the fact that our neighbourhood as we know, love and need it, is being stolen, changed, until it is wiped off the map. This is happening without any restraints or interference in many neighbourhoods; why is there not something in place to stop this exercise altogether? We know it is a crime! How can we move this operation from the immoral to the illegal?
Let us displace the corrupt who endorse these bulldozing crooks! Now!