Crustpunks—Canaries in the East Village Coal Mine

Rock on. (Flickr)

“It’s like the birds aren’t migrating this year; the salmon aren’t swimming upstream. The whole ecology of the neighborhood is out of whack,” de rigueur East Villager Chris Flash—he’s a bike courier and zine publisher—told The Times today. What could he be talking about? No more Momofuku? No more community gardens? No more bike lames?

No! Worse. The gutter punks who hang out along Crusty Row on the south side of Tompkins Square Park every summer, they’ve disappeared.

The locals are actually bothered about not being bothered by the officious, odoriferous youths. “That’s not a good sign,” another park-goer told the paper. “When one species disappears, others tend to follow.”

So this is the final death knell of gentrification? After all, Mars Bar is being replaced by condos. Why not blackout somewhere more interesting like New Orleans or Richmond, Va.?

The Times has a different theory, that these irascible rascals are afraid of having to answer to a spate of summonses from the end of last summer for drinking and sleeping along Crusty Row. Which is about par for the park these days, where it is now illegal to even use the chess tables.

Checkmate, Bloomberg.

mchaban [at] observer.com | @MC_NYC

Crustpunks—Canaries in the East Village Coal Mine