Times Says LES A-Changin’

Clayton Patterson, photographer and longtime Lower East Sider, has a new show at Alife Presents documenting his neighborhood’s evolution–and it goes without saying that a lot has changed in the 25 years since Patterson moved to Essex Street.

“I don’t think there’ll be any more Lou Reeds on Ludlow Street,” he tells The Times. “All of the geniuses who were here because of the cheap rents are gone.”


Mr. Patterson rejected the idea that a boutique [Alife] offering Commes des Garçons T-shirts and $200 sneakers might be an example of the hipster upscaling he says killed the old neighborhood. He said he respects Alife as a small, independent business that has hired staff members from the neighborhood.

Elegizing the Lower East Side in a Times audio slideshow, Patterson considers a photograph of a “grunge girl” and laments that she would now look out of place in the neighborhood.

But there he seems a little behind the curve on the wily ways of appropriation: It will claim not just your neighborhood but also your ratty leggings, not to mention your photographs of neighborhood girls in ratty leggings. Times Says LES A-Changin’