Saturday, September 6, 2008

Explaining the Jaccuzi

Ravens & Chimes will be playing at East River Bar (S. 6th Steet between Berry and Bedford) tomorrow, Sunday 9/7, sometime after 3 p.m., as part of a brunch sponsored by East Village Radio and Block Magazine. The latter, really well written magazine bears further mention because, unlike many new shops and publications that target the hipster youth of Williamsburg, Block actually aims to serve all Williamsburg, Greenpoint, and Bushwick communities, with columns like "Ask a Chasid," articles about racial profiling on the Southside,* and features on local artists, cocktails, and shops. Block is the most "fair and balanced" publication I've come across. (*Troubling excerpt: "The Southside’s longtime Latino residents are less worried about a shadowy slasher or gang violence than they are about losing their homes to gentrification. Many believe that the developers of the new condos popping up throughout the area are asking the NYPD to 'clean up' the neighborhood. Debbie Medina, the organizer of the community groups Los Sures and Save Our Southside, stated that two plainclothes officers stopped her husband Eugenio Torres as he was entering his apartment, and they frisked him against the wall of the building. The fact that Torres worked as the superintendant for 12 separate buildings in the area did nothing to prevent the incident. Rosa Nieves, who sits on the Board of Directors for Los Sures and the 90th Precinct Community Council, had two grandchildren who were stop-and-frisked.") The Williamsburg Courier also serves a range of interests, but is much less well writen, and sometimes sensational. Take, for instance, a sampling of recent Police Blotter headlines: "Slashed and robbed," "Mr. Sandman steals," Headlock hooligans," and "Machete mania." Anyway, I like seeing the full community spectrum, whether it be the diverse folks living here now or the history surrounding us. Which brings me back to the brunch show tomorrow and the East River Bar: "During Williamsburg’s industrial era the building was a paint factory through the 1920s. Paint Point Products abandoned the building in 1955 when it went through changes and identities. Most people remember the building as being the site for an old biker’s club in the 80s. After the bikers took off in the 90s the building was known as a speakeasy club and after-hours party spot. When we finally got to it there were remnants of a 13-piece Cuban Big Band and a jacuzzi tucked away in the corner. The old-timers who come in to see the changes all have a sly smile on their face when we ask them to recount the good old days and explain the jacuzzi."

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