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July 9, 2008 9:20 AM   Subscribe


 
When young, white, rich professionals move in next to noise: The noise has to stop!

When poor, non-white non-professionals live next to a toxic waste dump or high crime rates: Eh, move somewhere else.
posted by DU at 9:26 AM on July 9, 2008 [30 favorites]


I thought it was funny that people claimed that the offensive email sent out to the co-op was a result of hacking.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:28 AM on July 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


That's just absurd. The drum circle was there first. And it's not like it attracts crime or anything, so you can't argue that it's a quality of life issue. It's local flavor, and if you don't like it, you can go back to the UES or Jersey or wherever the hell you came from.

Perhaps they could sue the real estate broker for not telling them about the drum circles. But then again, caveat emptor and all that.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:31 AM on July 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


Also, if those drummers cave into the yuppies' demands, that park had better be renamed to something other than "Marcus Garvey". Perhaps they deserve a Jesse Helms park across from their fine gentrified apartments.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:32 AM on July 9, 2008 [6 favorites]


Did I miss the part about how late this goes? It's once a week. Caught that. But there's a big difference between 1-4 on a Saturday afternoon, and 5-2 Saturday evening.
posted by cjorgensen at 9:33 AM on July 9, 2008


Read the article.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:34 AM on July 9, 2008


Til 10pm every summer Saturday
posted by tristeza at 9:34 AM on July 9, 2008


Don't reward laziness.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:35 AM on July 9, 2008 [3 favorites]


This is just a sympton of the gentrification of Manhattan. Whenever I'm in Harlem, I see tens of signs announcing the creation of advocacy groups trying to do their best to stop the encroaching middle class suburbanite who has decided that they want their NYC experience but they don't want to actually have to live in it.

But, hey, there's always the bronx, right?
posted by Stynxno at 9:35 AM on July 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Oh, this annoys me. They've been doing this drum circle for nearly 40 years and now the million dollar co-op dickheads move in and want it to stop/quiet down/something? Lordy.

Admittedly, gentrification seems to be a way of life, and I don't know that there is a reasonable way to argue against it. In fact, it could be argued that the drummers gentrified the park by pushing out the junkies. But still, how or why is it that so often the things that make a place attractive for the people that are on the next level up the financial ladder are the things that they push out first?
posted by dirtdirt at 9:37 AM on July 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


This is ridiculous. The drummers have been there for 30 years. This is like people who move next to an airport and then decide to complain about the noise. Or move out to wild places and then demand that all the deer be killed because they're chewing on their flowers.
posted by marsha56 at 9:37 AM on July 9, 2008


Why can't the public park be more like the shopping mall -- clear of debris, noise and with lots of benches where I can sit in solitude and contemplate my next consumer electronics purchase and await my eventual death?
posted by VulcanMike at 9:38 AM on July 9, 2008 [35 favorites]


regarding the offensive email Burhanistan refers to, the article states:

Last October, an e-mail message was sent to residents from the address of one of the co-op’s residents. “Why don’t we just get nooses for everyone of those lowlifes and hang them from a tree? They’re used to that kind of treatment anyway!” read the message, a copy of which was provided to The Times.

It added: “I hope you all agree that the best thing that has happened to Harlem is gentrification. Let’s get rid of these ‘people’ and improve the neighborhood once and for all.”

...(The resident with the e-mail address from which the message was sent did not return calls seeking comment. Other residents said he told people that he had not sent the message, and that his computer had been hacked into).


Did the disgusting racist who sent this email think it would get a good response among his neighbors?
posted by ornate insect at 9:39 AM on July 9, 2008


stop the encroaching middle class suburbanite

First of all, these are million dollar apartments. If that's middle class, I'm in abject poverty.

Second of all, can anyone who commits the Ultimate Sin of not living amid downtown noise and crowding ever win? Move to the burbs: You are a throwback to the 50s and probably wear black socks with sandals. Move back to the city: We don't want your kind here.
posted by DU at 9:40 AM on July 9, 2008 [3 favorites]


"No one told me there would be unremitting noise every Saturday for the rest of my life.”

I'm a renter and before I move to a new place I hang out there, sometimes for a couple hours--in the parks, on the street, asking passers-by if they live there and what they like and dislike about the area. I specifically ask them and the landlord about noise. You spent a million three on an apartment and you didn't go check out the neighborhood? You're a fucking a moron.
posted by dobbs at 9:41 AM on July 9, 2008 [39 favorites]


And this is all going down in Marcus Garvey Park. Delicious.
posted by phaedon at 9:42 AM on July 9, 2008


so you can't argue that it's a quality of life issue

How does the old saying go? A liberal is just a conservative who hasn't been mugged yet? Try putting someone with a jack hammer outside your window until 10pm every Saturday night and tell me it's not a quality of life issue. Especially when you've got young kids to take care of, that you're struggling to get off to sleep.

When young, white, rich professionals move in next to noise

A $500,000 apartment in Harlem does not make someone rich. It means they live in a studio or a smallish one bedroom apartment.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:43 AM on July 9, 2008



Second of all, can anyone who commits the Ultimate Sin of not living amid downtown noise and crowding ever win? Move to the burbs: You are a throwback to the 50s and probably wear black socks with sandals. Move back to the city: We don't want your kind here.


You move to Queens, not Harlem.
posted by milarepa at 9:43 AM on July 9, 2008


What the Drummer's Circle has helped to do in Marcus Garvey is nothing short of amazing, and without them Mount Morris wouldn't be an area in which any of these new residents would want to live. 10 years ago, after looking at apartments in the neighborhood, I had to step over a pool of blood while walking up the stairs to the bell tower. Now it's relatively safe even after dark...

...especially on Saturday nights.
posted by JaredSeth at 9:46 AM on July 9, 2008


How does the old saying go? A liberal is just a conservative who hasn't been mugged yet? Try putting someone with a jack hammer outside your window until 10pm every Saturday night and tell me it's not a quality of life issue. Especially when you've got young kids to take care of, that you're struggling to get off to sleep.

There's several solutions to this: a) Don't move to a neighborhood that you've never been to, and expect the local community to conform to your every whim. b) Afro-beat drumming != jackhammer c) Move to the suburbs d) Just because you have children do not expect the local community to conform to your every whim e) Obviously, these people wanted to live in Harlem, to experience "Harlem" without actually experiencing Harlem. Morons.

Really. This is NYC. There's noise.
posted by jivadravya at 9:47 AM on July 9, 2008 [14 favorites]


I have no sympathy whatsoever for people who move into a neighborhood and then complain about pre-existing, obvious things. Whenever you buy a home, you should spend some time in and around the building making sure you like the neighborhood vibe. It should have surprised no one that there are loud drums on Saturdays.

I used to live near a school, which would get quite loud during recess and certain after-school or special events. A new neighbor moved in next door and immediately set about trying to get the school to be quieter. It was madness.
posted by cell divide at 9:48 AM on July 9, 2008


PeterMcDermott : Try putting someone with a jack hammer outside your window until 10pm every Saturday night and tell me it's not a quality of life issue.

A better example would be someone who moves next door to a jackhammer factory and then complains when they test them out once a week. This has been going on for thirty years. It's not like it should have come as a surprise to anyone living there.
posted by quin at 9:49 AM on July 9, 2008 [5 favorites]


Looking the map, it looks as though the drum circle could be moved farther into the park (or perhaps closer to an edge that is not near residential buildings, although it's probably all residential up there, I'm not familiar with that block). I also imagine it might easy to put them in a space where they surrounded by trees or hedges that would help muffle the noise. It's too bad the issue has come to this- this is the kind of thing that people hold grudges over forever, and I don't think it's a good thing for a community.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:51 AM on July 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


A $500,000 apartment in Harlem does not make someone rich. It means they live in a studio or a smallish one bedroom apartment.

You halved (or more) the price. And then you redefined "rich" to be "has apartment of size X" rather than the more natural "has a million dollars to spend on an apartment".
posted by DU at 9:51 AM on July 9, 2008 [21 favorites]


First of all, these are million dollar apartments. If that's middle class, I'm in abject poverty.

Upper middle class maybe, but maybe not. There are two real estate markets in the US, New York and everywhere else, metrics that make sense here are meaningless everywhere else and vice versa.
posted by Skorgu at 9:52 AM on July 9, 2008


Christ, what assholes.
posted by Dr-Baa at 9:53 AM on July 9, 2008


No one told me there would be unremitting noise every Saturday for the rest of my life

If this is really true I think the people selling the properties might have technically committed fraud. I'm not a lawyer but as far as I know if something like that can't be found during a reasonable home inspection then the seller is supposed to disclose it to the buyer. The New York Supreme Court even went as far as saying that the fact that a house was supposedly haunted needed to be disclosed.
posted by burnmp3s at 9:53 AM on July 9, 2008 [3 favorites]


I sympathize with those parents with young children who have trouble getting them to bed but it's only until 10pm one night a week during the summer. If you can't deal with that then you should be living somewhere else.


We have a similar issue here in New Orleans. The Tremé neighborbood has been gentrifying at an accelerated pace since Katrina and some of the new residents are complaining about impromptu second line parades. Yes, sometimes they're loud. But they're part of what makes the neighborhood a unique and a desirable place to live. If you weren't aware of the local traditions before you bought into the area then you didn't do your due diligence.

posted by djeo at 9:54 AM on July 9, 2008


b) Afro-beat drumming != jackhammer

Any repetitive noise that's loud enough and encroaching on your consciousness when you don't want to is irritating. These people clearly aren't moved to dance to the drumming, just as you wouldn't, I assume, be moved to dance to several hours of my jackhammer outside your window.

d) Just because you have children do not expect the local community to conform to your every whim

And if your kids happen to have been born and raised in that community? And the drummers, as the article suggests, are people who come from all over, often as far as Europe?

stop the encroaching middle class suburbanite

WTF? Are you suggesting that these are people who live in the city and work in the suburbs? Or do you really mean that they're *really* people who've come from hick towns to work in the city -- like virtually everyone in NYC?

The reality is, *any* community only works if people are reasonable and engage in give and take. Someone who objects to *any* drumming is obviously a twat. Similarly, someone thinks it's reasonable for a group of drummers to bang away for up to ten hours a day until ten o'clock at night in a residential area -- also a twat.

And anyone who doesn't get this fact? You guessed it -- twats!
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:55 AM on July 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


I just can't imagine complaining about this. I mean, how entitled do you have to be to want to shut down a 30 year drum circle that's been there since you were in nappies and the neighborhood was a warzone?

Maybe they should buy a fucking drum and join the neighborhood.
posted by milarepa at 9:56 AM on July 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


PeterMcDermott writes "The reality is, *any* community only works if people are reasonable and engage in give and take. Someone who objects to *any* drumming is obviously a twat. Similarly, someone thinks it's reasonable for a group of drummers to bang away for up to ten hours a day until ten o'clock at night in a residential area -- also a twat."

But they have been doing this for 30 years. Man, I wish I lived in a community that did that.

It's sort of like moving in upstairs from a bar, then complaining about the fact that there's a bar underneath you.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:58 AM on July 9, 2008 [3 favorites]


"No one told me there would be unremitting noise every Saturday for the rest of my life.”

Yeah, well did anyone tell you that before investing $1M in real estate, you should do enough due diligence to find out about an unconcealed 40-year pre-existing condition?
posted by tyllwin at 9:58 AM on July 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


If the noise bothers you, you -- and/or the coop -- can invest in soundproofing your condo to dampen some of the sound. It's not incumbent on the drummers to change their 30-year tradition. Also, the drummers are willing to compromise with you.
posted by ericb at 10:00 AM on July 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Similarly, someone thinks it's reasonable for a group of drummers to bang away for up to ten hours a day until ten o'clock at night in a residential area -- also a twat.

So, before the rich kids moved in, it was a community composed solely of twats, by your definition. That still doesn't answer the question of why it's OK for them to move in and try to change everything.
posted by DU at 10:00 AM on July 9, 2008


You halved (or more) the price.

No, you didn't read the article:

Most of the residents of the luxury co-op have purchased apartments that cost from about $500,000 to $1.3 million.

I live in the North West of England. Housing is cheap here by comparison with the rest of the UK and salaries are relatively low. In the area where I live, a standard three bedroomed family house will cost you around $500,000. The people who live in them aren't middle class yuppies, they're families with two working adults -- plumbers and teachers and factory workers and taxi drivers, etc. etc. etc.

It's almost impossible to buy a property in NYC for less than $500,000. That's a first time buyer's property, not a rich person's property.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:01 AM on July 9, 2008


I see lots of people arguing against the people complaining, that the new owners don't seem to have any credibility in arguing for change to the neighborhood to which they've moved.

Read that summary again. You're saying a newcomer to a neighborhood can't take steps to change it.

Un-fucking-real. I can't change my neighborhood because of ... what? Tradition? Screw that nonsense.

If my white ass lived in Harlem, it'd be my neighborhood, too, and it doesn't matter what the heck happened last week or last year, I should at least have a voice about what happens in my neighborhood.

If a group of rich black people moved to the suburbs and agitated against the presence of lawn jockeys, would your pansy ass say these newcomers should shut their mouths and bend to local tradition, too?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:01 AM on July 9, 2008 [4 favorites]


Several hours of loud music 13 times a year, ending well before midnight. Boofuckinghoo. Find a different place to live. If older residents hated this as much as you do, it wouldn't have been going on for over 30 years.
posted by 23skidoo at 10:02 AM on July 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


So, before the rich kids moved in, it was a community composed solely of twats, by your definition.

Again, you didn't read the article. The local community have had them move to different parts of the park on at least two previous occasions prior to these properties being built.

So if the local community are twats, that appears to be your suggestion, not mine.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:02 AM on July 9, 2008


PeterMcDermott: the noise is only an issue now that white yuppies live there. My guess is that the noise was the least of residents worries ten years ago. Indeed, the article states that the drumming served as a mechanism to make the park safer. The irony is that the drum circle helped make the neighborhood "desirable" in the first place. I've lived in New York long enough to know that noise complaints are only taken seriously if they occur in a well-to-do neighborhood. Rougher neighborhoods are just expected to deal with it. I'm not saying that's right, but the context here is everything. A lot of people soundproof their windows, but I saw no mention that the residents are doing that. Furthermore, I suspect the construction of the co-op is part of the problem: the walls are likely not absorbing the noise as much as an old brownstone would.
posted by ornate insect at 10:04 AM on July 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Actually, the NYT quotes prices from $0.5m to $1.3m, so PMD was right and you're being unhelpful.

On the broader question of what kind of apartment makes you "rich", buying even a million dollar apartment is a far cry from "has a million dollars to spend on an apartment." Most home purchases are financed by debt. In NYC you may have to put down 10-20% of the price. So it's like having $100-200k to spend on an apartment (saved over we don't know how many years), and enough income to finance the debt -- probably less than $3,500 a month, which is a lot, but not by the standards of rent for Manhattan apartments.
posted by grobstein at 10:07 AM on July 9, 2008


I grew up in a small New England farm town across the street from the local Congregational Church. The clock in the steeple had a bell which rang out the hour, every hour, all day and all night. It was a bit loud when we first moved in, but once you got used to it, it was just an accepted occurrence, much like sirens going by an urban area or the Chicago El train going past Elwood Blues' apartment (so often you don't notice it.) And truth be told, it actually became quite reassuring after a while to hear the clock strike 3 in the morning. All's well with the world. Go back to sleep, lad.

We'd been living there a few years when the house next door to the church was purchased by an upscale couple who were moving to the farm town in order to enjoy its Quaintness and its Old Architecture and possibly a chance to Get Back To Nature, only I don't think they did any farming. A few months after they moved in, they approached the church, demanding the bell be stopped. They didn't like it, it was loud, and it spoiled their perception of a Sleepy Quiet New England Town.

Of course, New England locals are extremely resistant to change, and pointed out that the bell had been ringing for nearly a hundred years and nobody had ever complained about it and if you think that's a bother, wait til you see what we do later on to ensure a prosperous harvest (we can't exactly say what'll go down, but maybe you should stock up on stones. We're just sayin is all.)

The new folks appealed to the local constabulary, who merely shrugged. So they filed suit against the church. A fierce battle ensued between the newcomers, who didn't believe they had to put up with the bell ringing next door all night, and old locals who said that the newcomers had no right to waltz right in and change the Way Of Life As We Know It simply because they can't sleep. (Those who get up at 5 in the morning seldom have pity for people who have the luxury to sleep in until 7:30 or, god forbid, 8:00, you heathen hedonist.)

This was big. This was epic. It actually made CNN. People we knew in Australia saw the story and called us up to ask what the heck was going on. The old-versus-new angle is rather novel, and it still is. However, given what I know about the people who have been in the community long enough to actually make it a community versus the people who immediately move in and demand things be changed to their liking, well, I'm usually gonna side with the oldsters.

Eventually the two sides reached a compromise: a timer was put on the clock which limited the bell ringing to the hours of 9:00 am to 9:00 pm. Things quieted down after that, and the new folks moved out a little while later.

So with that in mind, pardon me while I shed a single solitary tear for the inhabitants of an overpriced "luxury" co-op in Harlem who think that by using their Amazing Gentrification Powers, they can oust a drum circle that is more a positive part of the community than they could ever hope to be. I mean, let's be real here; this is the type of upscale resident who flee from home in the morning to find refuge in a 6 train and a Starbucks downtown. They wouldn't do anything to help make Marcus Garvey Park a safe place for the community other than to loudly complain about the Horrible Shocking Rising Crime Epidemic.

Gentrification is a bitch.
posted by Spatch at 10:08 AM on July 9, 2008 [62 favorites]


someone thinks it's reasonable for a group of drummers to bang away for up to ten hours a day until ten o'clock at night in a residential area -- also a twat.

So, all those people who thought it was reasonable for 30 years are twats!! Woooo!! Now, some new twats move in, and they have different TRC (Twat Reasonableness Criteria). Whose twatness wins? There should be an independent TRB (Twat Reasonableness Board) to mediate the TRC and judge a TRF (Twat Reasoableness Factor) and deterimine how the old twats can co-exist peaceably with the new twats.

[NOT-TWATIST]
posted by spicynuts at 10:08 AM on July 9, 2008


I wonder if we can have this conversation without using the word "twat". I bet we can!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:09 AM on July 9, 2008 [18 favorites]


PeterMcDermott: the noise is only an issue now that white yuppies live there.

Not according to the article:

Complaints about the drum circle began long before the co-op was built two years ago. In the past, however, if neighbors objected, the drummers simply found a new place in the park without engendering ill will, longtime residents said.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 10:10 AM on July 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


If a group of rich black people moved to the suburbs and agitated against the presence of lawn jockeys, would your pansy ass say these newcomers should shut their mouths and bend to local tradition, too?

That may be justified; plus a very poor analogy on your part.
posted by peeedro at 10:10 AM on July 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


Other residents said he told people that he had not sent the message, and that his computer had been hacked into.

Okay, let's leave the technical details out of it - how "they" might have hacked his computer, how "they" got his email address in the first place. That's not what makes this such an absurdly lame excuse. Instead, let's ask what this supposed anonymous hacker could possibly stand to gain from sending out a one-off, incredibly subject-specific email about a topic that few people besides the residents of this building care about. My guess would be, not much (aside from possible mean-spirited laffs).

That's why this kind of excuse is so funny. Inventing a scenario like a hacker just so happening to break into your email just in time to send out a horrible and inflammatory email about a subject close to your heart is so far removed from the most likely everyday explanation (that the guy is just a racist asshole) that I can't believe he actually expects people to believe his explanation. More likely he doesn't actually expect anyone to believe his story and just wants to save a minimal amount of face after realizing that racism actually isn't as okay as he thought it was.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 10:11 AM on July 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


A lot of people soundproof their windows, but I saw no mention that the residents are doing that.

Plus..let's be honest. These twats will be upstate in their summer twat-cottages/ski lodges sipping twat spritzer and discussing their twat fund investments. They won't be around on Saturdays to be annoyed by the twat-drumming. So they should just shut their fucking twatholes.
posted by spicynuts at 10:11 AM on July 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Here's a different perspective.

If you spend a million dollars on anything, and are dissatisfied with it in some way, aren't you going to complain until the problem is fixed? In other words, are you really surprised that people who spend over a million dollars on an apartment expect that money to buy them some peace and quiet?

Also, I love how in this thread people are complaining about gentrification while simultaneously arguing that a million dollar apartment doesn't make you rich. So 'gentrification' now means 'development suitable for the middle class'? And by the tone of some the comments, evidently there is something wrong with that.
posted by Pastabagel at 10:12 AM on July 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


There's an obvious fix if they're rich. I always find that real villains are lazy and unimaginative and really just want to control others.
posted by cowbellemoo at 10:13 AM on July 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


That may be justified; plus a very poor analogy on your part.

How exactly is it a poor analogy? I think it's spot on as an example of a seemingly passive feature of a neighborhood, with deep historical roots and nods toward racism and classism, that upsets people greatly.

Isn't that what we're really talking about when we speak about "white yuppies" and gentrification -- racism and classism from both sides? Don't try to bullshit me and tell me it's otherwise.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:18 AM on July 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


Go outside; join your community.
posted by fiercecupcake at 10:19 AM on July 9, 2008


Brings to mind a new film -- The Visitor.
"[Richard] Jenkins plays Walter Vale, a beanstalky, slightly hunched economics professor who's been teaching the same course for years and who leads a life that's uneventful and solitary. He lives alone in a spacious, silent Connecticut house that seems underfurnished and under-lived-in.... He's kept an apartment [in New York] for years, an East Village walkup....When he unlocks the door, he's startled to find that two people -- both of them illegal immigrants -- have taken up residence there: A Syrian musician named Tarek (Haaz Sleiman) and his girlfriend, Zainab (Danai Gurira)....Tarek is by nature open and friendly (Zainab is more guarded, although she eventually warms to Walter as well), and when Walter expresses an interest in African drumming, Tarek sits down and gives him an impromptu lesson. Not long after, he brings Walter to a drum circle in Central Park, where the two take their places -- Tarek eagerly, Walter reluctantly -- among a group of musicians playing an array of percussion instruments and various flutes."*
“Oscar, take note.”
Peter Travers, ROLLING STONE

“Best movie I’ve seen all year? Hands down.”
Lou Lumenick, NY POST**
posted by ericb at 10:20 AM on July 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


people are complaining about gentrification while simultaneously arguing that a million dollar apartment doesn't make you rich

I can't find an instance of the same person saying these two things
posted by grobstein at 10:20 AM on July 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


We just went through almost the same thing with a long term drum circle in downtown Asheville. I'm relieved to note that the new resident yuppies lost: the drum circle, two years later, is going strong every Friday night. The new people in their half a million dollar condos (which does make you rich, really really rich, here) still complain occasionally but it falls on deaf ears. As many others have pointed out, it behooves you, as a new resident or wannabe resident of a neighborhood, to find out about what goes on there all the time - nights and weekends too - before you move in. I live in a rapidly gentrifying town full of transplants and wow, can they ever be annoying. I find I don't have much sympathy for people who move somewhere and immediately want to change it.
posted by mygothlaundry at 10:23 AM on July 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


PeterMcDermott: "in the past, if neighbors objected...[they went to the park and talked with the drummers, and] the drummers found a new place..." is how I read that sentence: meaning most longtime residents knew that noise complaints to the police would fall on deaf ears. A lot of noise happens in parks in the summer in New York: residents overlooking Central Park on the Upper East Side put up with the concerts that occur there. Thus my statement that the "noise" on summer Saturdays in Marcus Garvey Park is only an issue was meant in the sense of it being an issue that would involve police or the press or lawsuits or threads on metafilter.

These new residents paid good money to live in a new co-op in a formerly derelict neighborhood, and they are raising their own proverbial and predictable ruckus because of a social, community function that occurs in a public park on Saturday nights in the summer and ends well before midnight. I can speak from first hand experience when I say that noise complaints in non-gentrifying or rougher neighborhoods are generally ignored, while they are generally listened to in wealthier neighborhoods. This goes for trash collection, graffitti, etc.
posted by ornate insect at 10:24 AM on July 9, 2008




There have been similar problems here in Seattle, where massive condo developments are built in small, culturally vibrant neighborhoods, and then the condo owners complain about the noise from live music and force the city to crack down, destroying the character of the neighborhoods.

So, while I generally try to avoid schadenfreude, the pain of these clueless gentrifiers brings a warm glow to my morning. No sympathy here.
posted by arcanecrowbar at 10:27 AM on July 9, 2008


Doesn't the whole idea of a neighborhood connote community? One would think that these twats would want to be a part of the community that they moved into. A way to not engender good relations with the people already in the community? Threaten to lynch them.

Ways to engender good community relations:
Work with the community - get to know the neighbors, actually hang out (wow!) and talk to the people drumming; let the community know you're actually interested in the fabric that's been woven since before you moved in. You'd be surprised to see that a little bit of neighborly good intentions goes a long way.
posted by jivadravya at 10:28 AM on July 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


Burhanistan It wasn't laziness, it was reading comprehension. Even on a second read I managed to gloss over the end time, but thanks for being an ass.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:30 AM on July 9, 2008


Uh, soundproof much? If you can afford a million-dollar apartment, you can afford the kind of acoustic insulation that keeps the residents of East Boston happy while living at the foot of the Logan runway.

Also, I live across the street from a hospital. The ambulance ramp opens out right onto my doorstep, and that's where the drivers first turn on the siren. They usually do this until around 2AM, when the streets empty out enough so that the siren's not necessary anymore. This was annoying at night during the summer, until I discovered the magic of earplugs.

Honestly, it's part of living in the city.
posted by xthlc at 10:30 AM on July 9, 2008


How exactly is it a poor analogy?

Because drumming isn't racist?

If a group of rich black people moved to the suburbs and agitated against the presence of lemonade stand parades every Saturday, would your pansy ass say these newcomers should shut their mouths and bend to local tradition, too?

YES!
posted by cashman at 10:32 AM on July 9, 2008 [6 favorites]


The new people in their half a million dollar condos....still complain occasionally but it falls on deaf ears.

Heh! No one can hear them because of the incessant drummng ! ; )
posted by ericb at 10:32 AM on July 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


Well I'll be damned, ericb, that's the story right there. And there's quite a few details in it that I never knew when it was happening (then again, I was in my early teens who didn't hear everything the grown-ups said.)
posted by Spatch at 10:32 AM on July 9, 2008


That article made me really angry when I read it the other day.

Someone who objects to *any* drumming is obviously a twat. Similarly, someone thinks it's reasonable for a group of drummers to bang away for up to ten hours a day until ten o'clock at night in a residential area -- also a twat.

You misread the article. They used to drum for up to ten hours a day, when the park was dangerous, as a way of ensuring the children's safety. Having a bunch of guys drumming away and giving the stink eye to the dealers allowed the children to play in the park for those few hours, one day a week:

For many years, Marcus Garvey Park was an uninviting place littered with garbage, home to squatters who lived in the landmark Fire Bell Tower, and beset by muggers and drug dealers. On some days, the musicians would drum for as long as 10 hours, which provided a window of time for the neighborhood’s children to play in safety, residents said.

Now that things are safe, they still drum, but they cut things off by 10pm. They've been doing this for three or four decades. I'm sorry, but if you don't want to hear some African drumming you need to buy an apartment in a different building. Now, that doesn't mean that the drummers shouldn't get moved to a different spot, or that some hedges or berms can't be put in place to mitigate the noise -- even some small changes may be enough to ease the worst of the problem.
posted by Forktine at 10:32 AM on July 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


It sounds like the NY Times article failed to mention that this whole thing was resolved a little while ago. Brian Lehrer show discussion this morning (the president of the co-op board calls in at 15:30.
posted by Drab_Parts at 10:34 AM on July 9, 2008


Some more on the gentrification of Harlem. The gentrification of Harlem is quite a big story here in NYC.
posted by jivadravya at 10:35 AM on July 9, 2008


Okay, I'm just poking my head in here...but didn't they have this on the Brian Lehrer show this morning?

And didn't the residents and somebody else agree that the solution had been to build a separate area for the drum circle and that this was over and done with?

And didn't the resident also say that the EPA discovered that the above ground pool that the drum circle performed in front of acted as a bandshell/amphitheater and that it focused the sound directly towards that one building and that 50 feet to either side of the building you couldn't hear it at all?
posted by Brainy at 10:36 AM on July 9, 2008 [3 favorites]


News flash: New Yorkers annoy New Yorkers.

Film at eleven.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:37 AM on July 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


Yay, happy ending.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:37 AM on July 9, 2008 [4 favorites]



How exactly is it a poor analogy? I think it's spot on as an example of a seemingly passive feature of a neighborhood, with deep historical roots and nods toward racism and classism, that upsets people greatly.

Isn't that what we're really talking about when we speak about "white yuppies" and gentrification -- racism and classism from both sides? Don't try to bullshit me and tell me it's otherwise.


Um, it's a stupid analogy, because, and I'm risking the accusation of stereotyping here, black people are generally smart enough not to move into a neighborhood where the residents proudly display their fucking lawn jockeys.
posted by milarepa at 10:37 AM on July 9, 2008 [10 favorites]


...acoustic insulation that keeps the residents of East Boston happy...

Also, similar to soundproofing city homes (especially in the North End) during the construction of the Big Dig.
"...for those who have complained about the constant noise generated by the $10.8 billion "Big Dig" project, officials have announced a solution: a program to 'soundproof' residential buildings by installing special thermal windows."
posted by ericb at 10:38 AM on July 9, 2008


From the link Drab_Parts posted:

from what i understand the drummers were given a permanent location that was designed and built specifically for them, and based on the prospect park drummers circle. they are now under the protection of the parks department.
posted by elfgirl at 10:40 AM on July 9, 2008


In the law, this is called "coming to the nusiance." Whatever the problem, you bought the place when the problem was there.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:44 AM on July 9, 2008


A $500,000 apartment in Harlem does not make someone rich. It means they live in a studio or a smallish one bedroom apartment.

Um, yes it does. The fact that rich people can only afford a small apartment in the now-expensive neighborhood they want to live in does not make them poor.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:47 AM on July 9, 2008 [4 favorites]


How exactly is it a poor analogy?

I don't think it's quite fair to equate the passive racist tradition of lil black sambo lawn jockeys with a drum circle which, according to one of the participants, is an event where "Anyone can bring a drum and sit in or bring a blanket and watch." There isn't much of a parallel between objecting to a racists tradition that taps into hundreds of years of cultural ugliness and a people saying "hey, can you turn that noise down a little?"

I agree with everything else you're saying here, that it should not be forbidden for people to work to change their neighborhood. But it seems to me that the missteps some people have made there seem like the primary driver of the story and I hope the parties involved can move past that and find a way to make the neighborhood welcoming to all.
posted by peeedro at 10:47 AM on July 9, 2008


WTF? Are you suggesting that these are people who live in the city and work in the suburbs? Or do you really mean that they're *really* people who've come from hick towns to work in the city -- like virtually everyone in NYC?

No. What I really mean is that the new inhabinants of Manhattan come from white, upper-middle class suburbs and expect to move to NYC, find the job of their dreams, and turn the new environment that they are living in into what they left; an urban version of the white picket fence. Manhattan is the only borough in NYC that has actively lost diversity over the last ten years (less poor, less working class, less minorities) and those individuals have been fleeing to the Bronx which is one of the few places where rents are reasonable enough for a poor working class family to actually survive BUT that won't last forever as long as NYC continues to gentrify. My neighborhood of Washington Heights is still the prime hub for cocaine distrubution for the North East US but, because the area was cleaned up in the mid/late 90s, the average income level for people living there skyrockets from 26,000 a year to 50,000 a year in less than 3 years. One bedrooms that were considered "outrageous" at 900 a month a few years ago now go for 1400. And who is driving that rent increase? The suburbanities and young professionals who moved to NYC and now complain about the noise and try to take an existing neighborhod and turn it into what it wasn't. Which is, actually, how all cities work. Washington Heights use to be Irish and German. Then it became Russian Jews. And then Dominicans. And now middle class suburbanities. It's white flight in reverse.
posted by Stynxno at 10:50 AM on July 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


There was an article just the other day in New York Magazine about a broker named Willie Kathryn Suggs who has been, for years, pushing up real estate costs in Harlem and selling buildings and apartments to white people.

I think a reasonable comparison to this situation is the south end of Union Square Park. There are a handful of upscale condos and co-ops facing or near to the park on 14th street. When there are events there they're guaranteed to be noisy as hell and last for hours. In the aftermath of 9/11 people gathered there to do things like argue about politics and cry together.

Its the reality of NYC. When there is an open space in the middle of a cramped city of millions of people, noise happens. Tune it out or move to a different reality, like Westchester or Jersey. For that matter there are shiny new condos sprouting up on 4th avenue in Brooklyn that guarantee the same commute time to midtown as these places in Harlem, but with none of that annoying "public gathering" stuff.

I don't have any sympathy for the residents of the condo. As a bunch of other commenters have said, its caveat emptor when you shop for a neighborhood.
posted by ben242 at 10:51 AM on July 9, 2008


I've been involved in litigation regarding gentrification issues. I do find that many of the people are problematic. One person in the controversy involving my area (which has been historically inhabited by Hispanics), commented that the neighborhood had changed because now there were "young children in the neighborhood." It is as if the person was blind to all of the brown children that were living there from the beginning
posted by Ironmouth at 10:55 AM on July 9, 2008 [4 favorites]


[bizarre derail removed - go to metatalk if you want to argue UK vs. US language, thanks]
posted by jessamyn at 10:55 AM on July 9, 2008


As a person who is extremely easily irritated by noise, I have a small degree of sympathy for the complainers. Not much, but a small amount.

As a person who is extremely irritated by rich fucktards, I have a great deal of sympathy for the drummers.

So I guess I side with the people who argue that if a person is too stupid to find out that the drummers exist screw 'em. Also, if they can afford spend more on an apartment than a person making minimum wage will earn in their entire working life, I figure they can afford to soundproof.
posted by sotonohito at 11:03 AM on July 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


The drummers were there first, but I'm not sure how much that matters. It's a public park, after all, not their own private space. Neighborhoods do change, and along with them, public norms. I get the impression from the article that it's a small but vocal minority who object to the drumming, but what if it were 90% of neighborhood residents? At some point, something has to give. I don't think the drummers should have to shut up, but I also don't think the residents are in the wrong or presumptuous for trying to effect changes in their neighborhood. That the drum circle has been there for decades isn't some kind of immutable fact that must be respected in perpetuity, despite what goes on in the neighborhood around it.
posted by decoherence at 11:10 AM on July 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


Um, yes it does. The fact that rich people can only afford a small apartment in the now-expensive neighborhood they want to live in does not make them poor.

I wasn't suggesting that they were poor. I was suggesting that $500,000 is pretty close to being the average cost of middle class housing most places these days. It certainly is where I live. It's inconceivable to me that this wouldn't also be the case in Manhattan. Others who live there seem to be suggesting that that's the case and they'd know better than me.

Manhattan is the only borough in NYC that has actively lost diversity over the last ten years (less poor, less working class, less minorities) and those individuals have been fleeing to the Bronx which is one of the few places where rents are reasonable enough for a poor working class family to actually survive BUT that won't last forever as long as NYC continues to gentrify.

And I think that's profoundly regrettable, but my own experience of growing up in working class neighbourhoods is that the people who live in those areas -- particularly if they happen to be families with young children -- tend to find incessant noise of *any* kind a genuine quality of life issue -- whether because they want to get their kids to sleep, or simply because they want to chill out and watch TV because they've spent all day working their ass off or taking care of their kids.

But perhaps they need to move to the suburbs too? Abandon it all to the Yuppies?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:13 AM on July 9, 2008


lotta self-hating yuppies in this thread
posted by Eideteker at 11:18 AM on July 9, 2008 [3 favorites]


Isn't that what we're really talking about when we speak about "white yuppies" and gentrification -- racism and classism from both sides?

The problem with the reverse racism argument is that more is going on here than just prejudice. It's not just that there are two race/class groups that don't get along, but that one race/class group has had most of the power in the US since its inception and has continually screwed over the other group. It would be very difficult to come up with a list of violations against rich white people by poor black people that could match the amount of damage done in the other direction.
posted by burnmp3s at 11:24 AM on July 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


I remember that Hatfield belltower fracas - I was living in Northampton at the time, and I remember wondering what people expected when they moved to a New England town with churches on the Green.

I lived in a small town in Maine, and we were right next to the volunteer fire department. The GIGANTICALLY LOUD horn that blew to alert firefighters to get to the station was....well, it woke us up sometimes. But hey, firehouse next door - you're going to get sirens.

I was living in DC a few years later and there was a stretch of 17th St NW that was slowly gentrifying. It had a bunch of gay bars/restaurants on it, most of them with outdoor seating. People who moved to the neighborhood to take advantage of newly renovated condos and apartments and hey - night life within staggering distance! - were shocked to learn that bars are noisy! Drunk people are loud! There were complaints, there were fights, there were lawsuits. It was, honestly, pretty fucking weird. I mean, you move to a block that has, oh seven or ten bars on it, and then you're surprised that it's noisy?

I'm glad to see that this situation has been (somewhat, at least) resolved. I still think the complaining newcomers were dicks. But then, I live across the street from a freeway, and half a block from a hospital with an active ER, then there's the fire station two blocks down...
posted by rtha at 11:30 AM on July 9, 2008


Cool Papa Bell writes "If a group of rich black people moved to the suburbs and agitated against the presence of lawn jockeys, would your pansy ass say these newcomers should shut their mouths and bend to local tradition, too?"

So ... the drummers are a racist vestige of a time in history?
posted by krinklyfig at 11:31 AM on July 9, 2008


But perhaps they need to move to the suburbs too? Abandon it all to the Yuppies?

Yeah, but then it wouldn't be a cool neighborhood any more and you'd lose points on the Kool-Whitey scale.

Fighting gentrification, IMO, is an absolutely useless endeavor. Unless you own your property, can band together with your also-owner neighbors, sit on the local board(s) and can project your influence beyond your geographical location, the yuppies will slice and dice you. And even if you can do all of the above, you'd better have resilience, thick skin and deep pockets.

Like our man in Hatfield said, if you want to protect your culture against the yuppie scourge, you have to get lawyers involved, understand that minority rights have to be respected (grrr) and then reach the unfortunate "compromise", which in itself is not a victory for either side, but's just a harbinger for what's to come.
posted by jsavimbi at 11:34 AM on July 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Cool Papa Bell writes "Read that summary again. You're saying a newcomer to a neighborhood can't take steps to change it."

Yeah, you know, I suggest trying to move to any little island off the coast of Maine and start making demands when you get there. Make sure to complain about well-worn traditions.

Tell me how that works out for you.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:38 AM on July 9, 2008


I suggest trying to move to any little island off the coast of Maine and start making demands when you get there.

Try suggesting that to Dean Kamen. See where that gets you.
posted by jsavimbi at 11:52 AM on July 9, 2008


So ... the drummers are a racist vestige of a time in history?

Read the article. "The musicians emphasize the spiritual and cultural elements of African drumming, an activity that was banned during slavery."

Tell me how that works out for you.

How about you move to my neighborhood and you complain about my (insert your pet peeve here)? When I tell you to "step off, newbie," you tell me how you think you'll feel.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:52 AM on July 9, 2008


[seriously please, metatalk for your cunt/twat discussions]
posted by jessamyn at 11:57 AM on July 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


I was suggesting that $500,000 is pretty close to being the average cost of middle class housing most places these days.

Let me be clear--$500,000 for the square footage of a condo isn't average in the United States of America. It isn't starter housing for most Americans. Salaries in NYC are high, and these people aren't plumbers making $30,000 a year.

Most houses here probably don't cost that much. A person who buys such a place is usually relatively well off by U.S. standards. I'm not sure how your example from the UK is applicable.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:22 PM on July 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Cool Papa Bell writes "Read the article. 'The musicians emphasize the spiritual and cultural elements of African drumming, an activity that was banned during slavery.'"

Education of blacks was banned during slavery, too. What's your point, that we should continue the racist tradition of banning African drumming to appease the new neighbors?

"How about you move to my neighborhood and you complain about my (insert your pet peeve here)? When I tell you to 'step off, newbie,' you tell me how you think you'll feel."

So, are you having a problem with your neighbors, or are you just especially sensitive about this subject?
posted by krinklyfig at 12:22 PM on July 9, 2008


It wasn't laziness, it was reading comprehension. Even on a second read I managed to gloss over the end time, but thanks for being an ass.

You're welcome. And thank you for sharing your comprehension issues and thank you for escalating into name calling!
posted by Burhanistan at 12:26 PM on July 9, 2008


As a white guy living in a condo-conversion building in Harlem, I'm already extremely sensitive to how I act within the neighborhood. Even though my building is set up in what I feel is a reasonably equitable manner (people who are already renting stay, with stabilized rents, while the building amenities go up and only apartments that are already vacant can be converted- in addition, a large number of the people purchasing condos are minorities), I know that- by simply walking around the neighborhood with white skin- I am presenting an example to white people looking at the area that is certainly leading to further gentrification. By dint of my skin color and my mere existence in the neighborhood, I am driving up rents and displacing people, and while I feel pretty terrible about that, a) it's not my apartment, and b) I could literally not afford to live in a place where I am not a visible minority. A couple weeks ago, some guy on the train just railed on me for about 30 minutes about how I was destroying his neighborhood, and- while I was really pissed at the time- I came to realize that he's correct. We are ruining Harlem- and while I can vote for low-income housing and try to help out this community, I still don't feel like it's enough. White people are at best outsiders in this community, at worst invaders, and we should probably try to be as unintrusive as possible. I don't know what to do about my own guilt for living here, but holy crap, the absolute last thing I would do is complain about a 30 year neighborhood tradition.
Maybe this is chat-filter, but- as a white person in Harlem, what can I do to help integrate into the community? Is moving out the best thing I can do?
posted by 235w103 at 12:27 PM on July 9, 2008 [4 favorites]


How about you move to my neighborhood and you complain about my (insert your pet peeve here)? When I tell you to "step off, newbie," you tell me how you think you'll feel.

Simply put, when a person moves to a neighborhood, they are buying with full knowledge of what the neighborhood is like.

Call me a crazy moralist, but when one moves in to such a neighborhood, one does not have the right to dictate to those who were there first what they should do.

For example, if a person moves to a neighborhood where a neighbor is doing an activity which is considered a nusiance, they have no right to sue to stop that activity, because it was there first. See Spur Industries, Inc. v. Del E. Webb Development Co.,
494 P.2d 701 (Ariz. 1972).

This is a moral principle which our society has enshrined in its law.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:30 PM on July 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


I agree. This is kind of a non-story, aside from the race-based threats, which were pretty sad, but the drummers are assembling peacefully and not breaking any laws, as far as I can tell.

This is fucking America. People can play drums outside on Saturday.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:31 PM on July 9, 2008


How about you move to my neighborhood and you complain about my (insert your pet peeve here)? When I tell you to 'step off, newbie,' you tell me how you think you'll feel.

How about I move to your neighborhood, but I put up with your nonsense as long as it's within reason? I don't complain about every single thing that I dislike.
posted by 23skidoo at 12:35 PM on July 9, 2008


How about you move to my neighborhood and you complain about my (insert your pet peeve here)? When I tell you to "step off, newbie," you tell me how you think you'll feel.

Did you just switch sides in this debate, or is it a MY property issue, regardless of how long you've been living there?

The only thing more obnoxious than a NIMBY is a NIMBY in a new neighborhood. One of the reasons I moved to my present locality is how successfully it has absorbed 'local irritants' ranging from a prison and a state mental hospital to a nuclear power plant (there was plenty of static when it was first built - static that resulted in more safeguards; I now reside exactly 5 miles downwind from it with no problems but I oppose increasing its size as a 'solution' to our energy problems; real issues are complex). Around here, when the walls in a narrow alley became the final resting place for thousands of wads of used chewing gum, it became a local landmark.

And if the agreed-upon location of the drum cycle is such that the noise is projected to a single newly-built building, then the building's developer should be sued by the residents. Then again, regardless of your income, if you're paying $500,000 to buy a no-bedroom apartment, you have more money than sense.
posted by wendell at 12:35 PM on July 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Let me make another point.

Gentrification is a problem. People move to these neighborhoods because they like the urban environment which exists there.

But like Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, their very act of moving to that neighborhood destroys much of the environment that exists there. In order to get away from the Pottery Barns and Pier Ones which inevitably follow, the people move to more "edgy" areas, and repeat the cycle.

In the process they destroy much of what makes an urban ethnic neighborhood something to be cherished.

Should it be banned? It cannot be banned. Americans have a constitutional right to live where they please. But careful urban planning will do a lot to limit the effects of gentrification and preserve the very values that people are seeking when they move to these areas.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:38 PM on July 9, 2008


what can I do to help integrate into the community? Is moving out the best thing I can do?

I'll quote Ms. Suggs to you on that one:

"There's nothing that says Harlem has to be black!"

I wouldn't sweat it. Populations shift all the time and have done so since my viking ancestors nearly succeeded in wiping out Christianized western culture. The sonsabitches were *this* close, too.

Where's the guilt? You don't live up to the notion that white people can't be poor? Check the welfare rolls some time and get over it.
posted by jsavimbi at 12:39 PM on July 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


I strongly disagree, 235w103. If we're ever going to survive as a species, we're going to have to figure out how to live with one another. Race mixing (especially interracial marriage) can only be a good thing, imo. Tribalism is so 2nd millennium (... or the entire human existence until now; one of those).

Protecting low-income housing is tricky, but I think it can go hand and hand with interracial neighborhoods.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:40 PM on July 9, 2008


I'd just like to chime in here, way late in the thread, to say fuck these rich assholes.

And yes, rich. I don't care how much room you have, a million dollar ANYTHING means you are rich. Are you gonna tell me that someone who has a .5 carat million dollar ring isn't as rich as the person with a 4 carat million dollar ring?

Give me a break. The gentrification in NYC is out of hand. All the things that make the city great are disappearing because corporate fucktard twats can't handle the things that make the city great when they have to live amongst them.

Don't like it? Too bad. Deal. Or better yet? Sell your million dollar pad to people who belong in the neighborhood and who enrich it, and go move to the Upper East Side with the rest of the soulless quiet people who love to shop.
posted by nevercalm at 12:44 PM on July 9, 2008


Call me a crazy moralist, but when one moves in to such a neighborhood, one does not have the right to dictate to those who were there first what they should do.

Well, I think it's wrong, because the end result is an exclusion of people from participating in their own community, simply because of poor timing.

if a person moves to a neighborhood where a neighbor is doing an activity which is considered a nuisance, they have no right to sue to stop that activity, because it was there first. See Spur Industries, Inc. v. Del E. Webb Development Co.

Oh, come on. There are plenty of legal counter-examples. You're an attorney, and can cite narrow-example case law up the wazoo, but you just have to look to nearly any environmental (e.g. groundwater seepage) or noise-restriction case (e.g. airport noise) to see a counter-example. The gas station on the corner was here before me. I can't sue when its waste plume (which every gas station has) reaches the town water well? Baloney.

So, are you having a problem with your neighbors, or are you just especially sensitive about this subject?

No, I just hate weak-minded, knee-jerk reactions that are ultimately based on racist, classist assumptions. More than anything, I hate when seemingly progressive ideas (let's all drum in the park because it's cool and drives the drug dealers away) are turned on their heads toward placing limits on other people (let's all drum in the park, but the drug dealers are gone now, but we still like it, and since we were here first, fuck anyone that says otherwise).
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:46 PM on July 9, 2008


Gentrification is a problem. People move to these neighborhoods because they like the urban environment which exists there.

But like Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, their very act of moving to that neighborhood destroys much of the environment that exists there.


Doesn't that depend who moves in there? Let's say I'm a suburban gardener who moves to a primarily low-income hispanic neighborhood and starts a community garden for the underprivileged kids to work on ... am I still destroying the neighborhood?

Or does gentrification only apply when rich assholes (not just rich people) who shop at chain stores move into a lower-income neighborhood?

If I move into a low-income neighborhood and genuinely spend a considerable amount of time "improving" (interpret as you will) that neighborhood, yet I am still white and rich, is that gentrification? I think so, based on the common definitions.

Yet isn't it the very opposite of the white flight that took all of the money out of the cities in the first place? Isn't that a good thing to reverse?

Too many questions. Life iz hrd.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:47 PM on July 9, 2008


I wasn't suggesting that they were poor. I was suggesting that $500,000 is pretty close to being the average cost of middle class housing most places these days.

Not in the US. The median home price in the US is $196K. So $500K is very fucking far from being the average cost of middle class housing.

Yes, Manhattan is expensive. That does not mean that rich people living in Manhattan are not rich. It means only that they are rich in an expensive area.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:48 PM on July 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


22:00 on a fucking Saturday night isn't late, grampaw.
posted by chuckdarwin at 12:49 PM on July 9, 2008


235w103 writes "Maybe this is chat-filter, but- as a white person in Harlem, what can I do to help integrate into the community? Is moving out the best thing I can do?"

I live in an area which has families going back 400 years. They are all pueblo Native Americans or Latinos. Although I'm a third generation New Mexican, I'm white, and I'll always be an outsider here, but it is possible to live here comfortably as an outsider, as long as you're aware. I could complain about the local traditions, but I'd probably not be very welcome at all. People who don't accept the way it is here don't last too long. Of course, because of these entrenched cultures there are some entrenched problems, but I'm talking about treatment of animals, spousal abuse, alcoholism, not noisy music played well before noise curfews (which also happens a lot here).
posted by krinklyfig at 12:55 PM on July 9, 2008


I would love to have this "noise" every Saturday where I live.
posted by CitrusFreak12 at 12:56 PM on July 9, 2008


Cool Papa Bell writes "Well, I think it's wrong, because the end result is an exclusion of people from participating in their own community, simply because of poor timing."

Ever hear the saying, When in Rome, do as the Romans do?

There are plenty of neighborhoods where I know I wouldn't like to live, because of certain traditions or attitudes. It's a bit much to move from without and start demanding that the neighborhood change its traditions on your behalf. I know you think this isn't so, but my experience tells me you'll be much happier if you realize these things, plus you'll probably end up in a neighborhood you like, rather than one you don't.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:57 PM on July 9, 2008


Oh, come on. There are plenty of legal counter-examples. You're an attorney, and can cite narrow-example case law up the wazoo, but you just have to look to nearly any environmental (e.g. groundwater seepage) or noise-restriction case (e.g. airport noise) to see a counter-example.

That case is the leading case on the issue, not "narrow-example" case law. It is first-year, black-letter property law. It isn't cherry-picked. It was in my Property book and I suspect it is in almost all the property books. I had to type in "coming to the nuisance" and "arizona" to find it in google. I just remembered it from school, that's all. Google the concept and you will see exactly what I am talking about.

"Nearly any" of the type of cases do not involve persons who moved to an area in which the nuisance existed prior to their arrival. That is the key part of this case.

The type of environmental cases such as the ones you allude to (and do not cite) usually involve violation of other laws which prohibit such activity and usually involve persons who already lived there at the time.

But I stick to my original point. It is a moral principle that someone who comes to an area knowing of conditions there and then asks others to cease activities which they have been engaging in years has much less of a case than someone who has lived there for a long time and has been affected by a recent change in the activity.

A similar moral situation exists in the idea of adverse possession--if one allows someone to drive over their property for 30 years and then suddenly decides to cut off access, will not be allowed to do so.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:01 PM on July 9, 2008


Yes, Manhattan is expensive. That does not mean that rich people living in Manhattan are not rich. It means only that they are rich in an expensive area.

Do you say someone is "rich" based solely on how much money they make, or do you consider the material conditions of their life? Cost of living varies from place to place, and is a driver of salaries in those places. It's very high in Manhattan. So, while Manhattan is full of people who are indisputably rich, it's also full of people who are living materially much poorer lives than others making the same amount of money somewhere else.
posted by grobstein at 1:05 PM on July 9, 2008


mrgrimm writes "Yet isn't it the very opposite of the white flight that took all of the money out of the cities in the first place? Isn't that a good thing to reverse?"

It's a tricky balance. Investment in a community is a good thing. It's even better when it can happen from within the community, rather than having someone from outside coming in to "fix" everything, which sometimes has a habit of backfiring. Developers often only want to make a profit, and they're not really concerned about the community itself, and that sort of money is often behind the "investments" that are so many times touted. People interested in enriching the community are good additions, usually, although good intentions don't always produce good results for the people who already live there. For instance, if the community improves and property values jump, so will property taxes, and in low-income neighborhoods that can spell massive displacement. People interested specifically in displacing communities for their own gains are often met with hostility, unsurprisingly, but it can happen unintentionally. Sometimes displacement is a good thing, overall, like if a neighborhood has become unliveable, but it can have negative effects on individuals who are left with nowhere to go.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:08 PM on July 9, 2008


Indeed, I see now that the Arizona legislature has codified that particular rule: (sorry for all caps:

12-714 . Nuisance actions; affirmative defense; inapplicability

A. IN ANY CIVIL ACTION ALLEGING A COMMON LAW NUISANCE, THE DEFENDANT MAY ALLEGE AND PROVE THE AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE OF COMING TO THE NUISANCE. IF PROVEN, THE AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE IS A COMPLETE BAR TO RECOVERY FROM A COMMON LAW NUISANCE ACTION.


B. A DEFENDANT IN A COMMON LAW NUISANCE ACTION MAY PROVE THE AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE OF COMING TO THE NUISANCE BY PROOF OF THE FOLLOWING:


1. THE DEFENDANT WAS LOCATED AT THE SITE OF THE ALLEGED NUISANCE FOR A PERIOD OF TWO YEARS OR MORE BEFORE THE PLAINTIFF'S INTEREST IN THE ACTION ACCRUED.


2. THE DEFENDANT WAS ENGAGING IN THE SAME OR A SUBSTANTIALLY SIMILAR ACTIVITY OR OPERATION FOR THE TWO YEAR PERIOD AS THAT ALLEGED TO BE THE NUISANCE.


C. THE AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE OF COMING TO THE NUISANCE PRESCRIBED BY THIS SECTION DOES NOT APPLY TO A DEFENDANT WHOSE ALLEGED NUISANCE ACTIVITIES CONSTITUTE A VIOLATION OF STATE OR FEDERAL LAW.

It is an affirmative defense to a nuisance suit. Note also the reference to the violation of law in subsection C. I believe this deals with most of the suits you referred to.

Apparently the doctrine dates back to English common law, a case known as Rex v. Cross.

I see an article here from 1953 on the question.

This is an ancient doctrine. It also fits with my personal morality as well.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:14 PM on July 9, 2008


hey: "coming to the nuisance" is not the firm rule you're making it out to be. The law only sometimes recognizes the "coming to the nuisance" defense. Where the late-coming use of land is the "efficient" or proper one, the nuisance will typically not be protected (see a discussion with case-law examples here, under 3.)

You also seem to be getting Del E. Webb wrong, or at least not acknowledging the extent to which it's an oddball case (even though it is rightly taught in Property classes). The judgment in Del E. Webb was that the nuisance would have to go away (the plant shut down), but the late-coming developer would have to pay the resulting costs. This would be analogous to ordering the drummers to go away, with compensation from the building developers or residents. Regardless, the holding probably rests on the fact that the developer did wrong by building condos next to the plant. This is a pretty specific (and unusual) fact situation, so you're not representing the case accurately when you hold it up as a blanket "coming to the nuisance" rule.

Is this relevant to the discussion at hand? Only to the extent that Ironmouth is overstating legal rules to bolster his argument of "moral principle."
posted by grobstein at 1:19 PM on July 9, 2008


Addendum (didn't preview): yes it's an old doctrine -- it's just one to which there are now gaping exceptions.

(If the Arizona law does what it says it does, it's not very representative.)
posted by grobstein at 1:21 PM on July 9, 2008


The gas station on the corner was here before me. I can't sue when its waste plume (which every gas station has) reaches the town water well? Baloney.

The waste-plume seepage is illegal. Of course you could sue them. The drummers, however, are not breaking any laws.

If you moved to a place with a gas station on the corner and then decided to sue because the gas station has traffic going in and out...well, it's America, so you can sue. But you'd probably lose.
posted by rtha at 1:23 PM on July 9, 2008


gentrification: The restoration and upgrading of deteriorated urban property by middle-class or affluent people, often resulting in displacement of lower-income people.

Why do people talk about gentrification like it is a bad thing?
What is the opposite of gentrification? Sluminization?

Sounds like 2 groups need to meet and work out some compromises or it is going to be a long hot noisy summer.
posted by a3matrix at 1:27 PM on July 9, 2008


Is this relevant to the discussion at hand? Only to the extent that Ironmouth is overstating legal rules to bolster his argument of "moral principle."
Grobstein,

I do think it is relevant to the moral principle at hand. Obviously, from a legal standpoint, the drummers are not property owners engaging in activities on their land, and no nuisance action would lie. I would also point out that the statute I cited goes a lot farther than Spur does. I do not think I have overstated my case in terms of an analogy. The principle is well supported in other contexts. For example, Maryland allows the acquisition of a prescriptive right to operate a nuisance via adverse possession for 20 years. Hoffman v. United Iron & Metal Co.,108 Md. App. 117.

Furthermore, I'm strongly suspicious that the judge in Spur was giving a pyrric victory to the developers, as they would likely not pay for the moving of the feedlot in the case. It is a way to give them the nominal win, while really ruling in favor of the feedlot owners.

But my point was simple--that I believe that it is a moral principle that one cannot complain of an legal activity which has existed prior to one's move to the area. "Coming to the nuisance" is a legal principle which enshrines that principle and that the courts, the common law, and legislation reflects this.

My point is that in our legal system and in our shared morality, it is considered improper for newcomers to try to stop traditions which existed long prior to the arrival of the newcomers. I'm arguing via analogy here.

I'd like to have your input on whether or not such a principle exists. I'd argue that the sheer volume of responses in one direction supports the existence of such a principle. Do you disagree that it was wrong for the condo people who had just moved in to be irate because a situation that had existed for 20 years bothered them?
posted by Ironmouth at 1:44 PM on July 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


gee. 10pm on a saturday night. OH NO! these people would never hack it in reality in a big city (like, say, NYC) where there is street noise almost 24/7. i'd prefer some african drumming over the street fights and cat calls and horn honking i hear all night long (especially if it ended as early as 10pm!).
posted by misanthropicsarah at 1:54 PM on July 9, 2008


"22:00 on a fucking Saturday night isn't late, grampaw." RTFO.

WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU PEOPLE DOING AT HOME AT 10PM ON A SATURDAY? YOU LIVE IN FREAKING MANHATTAN, FER CRISESAKES! CENTER OF THE MOTHERFUCKING UNIVERSE!

And someone is not rich if they're poor in spirit. I think that's what he's trying to say. The poor rich people!

Next time I'm in NYC, I want to go to this thingy. Any other mefites fancy a meetup in a few weeks, when my gf's car is fixed?
posted by Eideteker at 2:16 PM on July 9, 2008


It's too bad. If they weren't white I would suggest that they could just join the drum circle.
posted by brevator at 2:24 PM on July 9, 2008


The young white professionals can go fuck themselves. They should have known about it before they moved there, and if it bothers them they shouldn't have moved there. The drum circle was there long before they were and shouldn't leave just because some new people don't like it. They should leave instead.
posted by mike3k at 2:26 PM on July 9, 2008


Why do people talk about gentrification like it is a bad thing?
What is the opposite of gentrification? Sluminization?


Gentrification is bad because it tends to destroy what made the neighborhood attractive in the first place. Take the Lower East Side, still in NYC. It was bombed out, abandoned buildings, a warzone.

Lower-income folks and artists started to occupy the area, because of low rents and general funkiness. Street art flourished. Punk was (depending on who you ask) born there. There was a great vibe for a number of years. There were tons of fantastic clubs, music, strange stores. Everything was unique.

Then the suit-and-tie wearers moved in. Suddenly the streetkids were a nuisance. The clubs that all those corporate drones loved? They're not nearly as fun when you live in the building, what with the noise until 2am. Those strange stores? They don't carry the preferred brand of after shave, so the chains move in. The rents increased obscenely, in some cases over 1000%. CBGBs, that club that's so fetishized for the hip and in-crowd? Yeah, closed. They sell $300 jeans there now.

Then higher class restaurants and stores follow the money into the area. The artists and funky people that made the place an interesting area can no longer afford the place, and leave in droves. The culture disappears, leaving only a vague general feeling that capitalizes what used to exist in that place....sort of like naming a street "Sitka Place" in honor of the forest you razed to build the street. What's left is just a crass commercialization that capitalizes on the reputation of what not longer exists. The neighborhood dies, occupied by men and women who are driven to work by car services that idle outside their million dollar condos at 530 am.

Gentrification tends to destroy what birthed it. Sure, it leads to increased property values and less crime. But it turns vibrant, colorful, creative neighborhoods into shopping malls, and attracts people who want to live in shopping malls, thus destroying the neighborhood. It's great for landlords, but terrible for everyone else.

I guess the alternative to gentrification (because the opposite is...well, nonsense) is a slow, gradual rise in incomes for the entire "native" population of the area, in that they can all afford rents as they increase slowly, and the people who created and nurtured an area can stay in it and keep it alive.
posted by nevercalm at 2:30 PM on July 9, 2008 [5 favorites]


nevercalm writes "Lower-income folks and artists started to occupy the area, because of low rents and general funkiness. Street art flourished. Punk was (depending on who you ask) born there. There was a great vibe for a number of years. There were tons of fantastic clubs, music, strange stores. Everything was unique."

Ah, but that's always how it starts. I love neighborhoods like that, but it's important to realize that they seldom stay in that perfect state, and they almost always precede the high income wave that ruins everything.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:35 PM on July 9, 2008


brevator writes "It's too bad. If they weren't white I would suggest that they could just join the drum circle."

Well, if they didn't have a bug up their ass, I don't think it would matter what color of skin they have, if you got a drum, bring it!
posted by krinklyfig at 2:37 PM on July 9, 2008


Those of you saying the buyers should have known about the summer drumming assume the buyers bought during the summer.
posted by ryanrs at 2:56 PM on July 9, 2008


Gentrification tends to destroy what birthed it. Sure, it leads to increased property values and less crime. But it turns vibrant, colorful, creative neighborhoods into shopping malls, and attracts people who want to live in shopping malls, thus destroying the neighborhood.

Gentrification is like Walmart. Walmart comes to town and puts the 'vibrant, colorful, creative' small stores out of business in the same way that gentrification supplants a local culture with a more homogenized one.

What detractors of gentrification fail to realize is that people are free to choose and support whatever type of culture they want to live in. What really distresses gentrification opponents is the fact that more people are choosing the homogenized culture.

Hating on gentrification is really just a tarted-up way of pining for the 'good ole days'.
posted by jsonic at 2:58 PM on July 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


"Screw you, long-standing community with deep roots! I spent a million dollars without doing any research on what I was buying or where I was buying it! That entitles me to change you!"

These people will never do for a community the kind of selfless good that this circle has done.
posted by Mikey-San at 3:18 PM on July 9, 2008


Why do people talk about gentrification like it is a bad thing?

Because the definition of gentrification includes displacement of lower income people. The idea that people move into a neighborhood and have some energy and some money to revitalize it is actually a good one.
I lived in West Oakland, in a warehouse, with other mostly white people who were definitely not rich but had some money to spend. I walked a half mile to ride the train to work, and waved to my neighbors on their porches and talked to the neighborhood kids. There was a corner store near us that two Yemeni brothers ran. They had grown up in the neighborhood, and were in the store every day, from 7 am to midnight. About 50 people total lived in the warehouse, and between all of us and all our friends spending money, the grocers actually saw a rise in their income. They stopped selling fortified wines, limited their hours, brought in a juice refrigerator and opened a small sandwich bar. All good things for them, and for us, too. It's a nice organic sort of change, and seems to work out well. However, because this neighborhood is so crappy, land is cheap. New condos and "live-work lofts" have been built. The people that live in these new buildings do so because they could afford it, and because it is nearly adjacent to the Bay Bridge on ramp, enabling them to drive out of their gated parking garage to San Francisco where they work, eat, shop, drink, and socialize. They get nothing from living in the neighborhood, they don't give anything either. They definitely don't shop at the corner market, or ride their bikes down the street, or wait for the bus, or talk to the people that have been there long before them. How do you change this pattern? The city of Oakland isn't going to change it; they need the developer's money and they want the property taxes that home ownership generates. You can't get the new condo residents to suddenly care about the shithole they've moved into, because they just wanted somewhere they could afford to buy a place with bamboo floors and granite countertops. They can afford to ignore the neighborhood because they don't know anybody and won't get to know anybody. The homeowners of the fragile old victorian houses probably appreciate that their property values may rise a bit, but I don't know how real that is, since they still have the trash and the drug dealers congregating on their front lawns. They used to live in a middle income neighborhood, in the 1960's; do we force them to continue to live in a now poor, lower class neighborhood for fear of gentrification, or end up losing these people as their friends move away when the neighborhood grows less familiar and the new people want different things?
posted by oneirodynia at 3:19 PM on July 9, 2008


What detractors of gentrification fail to realize is that people are free to choose and support whatever type of culture they want to live in.

What supporters of gentrification fail to realize is that moving is a giant pain in the ass.
posted by 23skidoo at 3:20 PM on July 9, 2008


What detractors of gentrification fail to realize is that people are free to choose and support whatever type of culture they want to live in.

Wait, so all those lower class, rent-controlled black people want to be forced out of their neighborhoods? Whoa, that makes it so much easier, so much more moral!!!!!

Sorry, bullshit. Under- or unemployed lower income families have no choice about who moves in. People with money can live wherever they want. What you lack is the ability to see the lack of choice people without any excess (or negative monthly) cash flow actually possess. They have no choice. The landlords and CEOs and upper management whitebread assholes moving in hold all the cards.

What really distresses gentrification opponents is the fact that more people are choosing the homogenized culture.


Again, there are whole counties of homogenized people I couldn't care less about. Long Island, for instance. Connecticut. What I can't stand is when people who can afford to live wherever they want choose low-rent neighborhoods and force out people who can't go anywhere else.

Hating on gentrification is really just a tarted-up way of pining for the 'good ole days'.

Heh heh, with all due respect, blow it out your ass. The only people pining for the "good ole days" are the right wing, wealthy, corporate assholes who are interested in low buy-in and forcing out "the darkies" and their noisy, drum-circling culture.
posted by nevercalm at 3:43 PM on July 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


What detractors of gentrification fail to realize is that people are free to choose and support whatever type of culture they want to live in.

The reason gentrification happens is that the nice, middle and upper class neighborhoods are not only expensive, they have no room for more housing. The only place left to expand is where the poor people live. Not only do poor people often rent, they often don't have cars, or money for deposits, and sometimes they have been living in a rent controlled place. Now, if the middle class people are expanding into the lower class neighborhood because there's no more room in the middle class neighborhood, where do the poor people go, with their lack of deposits and no cars and low income?
posted by oneirodynia at 3:48 PM on July 9, 2008


I live close to Marcus Garvey (and am white) and the great thing about Harlem is the vibrant culture. It's funny though to see these new wealthy white people living in relative splendor across the street from the projects. Generally, these people who live isolated in their wealthy bubbles are not welcome as they drive the prices up. There is also plenty of crime and poverty around Marcus Garvey, in fact a few weeks ago there was a shooting where 8 people were shot and I think three were killed. Which of course should drive prices back down I guess.
posted by freshundies at 4:28 PM on July 9, 2008


What detractors of gentrification fail to realize is that people are free to choose and support whatever type of culture they want to live in.

And the rich, white yuppies complaining about the community chose to live there. I just don't see how this is the burden of Harlem, which seems content with and appreciative of the drumming circle. If the financial district crowd doesn't like it, they can leave.
posted by Mikey-San at 4:36 PM on July 9, 2008


I live close to Marcus Garvey (and am white) and the great thing about Harlem is the vibrant culture.

I live out in the middle of Brooklyn, and sometimes on Sundays, there's a corner filled with local storefront churchgoers who sing gospel until they get tired. I imagine the same people complaining about Harlem would complain about this, too, and that's just a damn shame. Those whining are the same people who never contribute personally to their community, and have no idea what it takes to keep a neighbourhood strong when conditions are bleak.
posted by Mikey-San at 4:43 PM on July 9, 2008 [1 favorite]


Now, if the middle class people are expanding into the lower class neighborhood because there's no more room in the middle class neighborhood, where do the poor people go, with their lack of deposits and no cars and low income?

This is what I would like to know, I ask seriously. I live in a poor, dying neighborhood in Philadelphia. Not too far entire swathes have sunk into the ground. I'd love it if the remaining parts of the neighborhood can improve and gentrification seems to be the only hope for that, like what's happening in Baltimore and some North Philly neighborhoods not too far from mine. Where the old rundown factories are now condos, and new supermarkets move in and things start looking up.

But I'm also scared to death of rising rents and property taxes that would push us out. We can barely afford what we pay. I've always lived in this neighborhood. It used to be nicer and yes, my parents tell me there was "white flight". What happens when gentrification pushes the poor out? It's happened many times before, right?
posted by Danila at 4:46 PM on July 9, 2008


The landlords and CEOs and upper management whitebread assholes moving in hold all the cards.

Imagine that. The people who actually own the buildings are the ones who decide how they're used/renovated/sold.

I just don't see how this is the burden of Harlem, which seems content with and appreciative of the drumming circle. If the financial district crowd doesn't like it, they can leave.

Harlem, just like any other community, is comprised of the various people who live there. If the demographics of that community starts to change, then so will the culture of that community. The current culture of Harlem is not writ in stone, and does not have to persist unmolested throughout the future in order to appease some weird mefi sense of social justice.
posted by jsonic at 5:16 PM on July 9, 2008 [2 favorites]


Same kind of thing is happening in my neighbourhood in Baltimore. Militantly anti-lower income mostly white yuppies ignore all laws they don't feel like following (open container laws, leash laws, parking laws, etc.), but complain to high heaven, frequently in really offensive language, when lower income people do anything they don't like (litter, move trash cans, have drumline competitions, steal GPSes left openly in cars, etc.).

I've seen people argue openly that the laws shouldn't apply to them because they pay more taxes than "they" do.

Hint - anytime you are talking about "them" and "they", some introspection might in be order.

The city needs the tax base, but, man, it is enough to embarass a boulder.
posted by QIbHom at 5:46 PM on July 9, 2008


This all comes down to the question "did the new owners know about the drum circle beforehand?" The smart money puts the onus of this responsibility directly on the prospective buyers; you should fully research your neighborhood before you sign the papers and move in. That's a no-brainer. But if the information was intentionally kept from someone...that's a little different.

I live in a rental house in suburban Tokyo, and my wife and I were initially thrilled to have a tiny little strip of a yard--a rarity in this town, especially with a rental. So we planned to have a tiny garden, plant some grass...until our next-door neighbor informed us that the ground had been spoiled some 40 years ago from some local company dumping unhealthy things in the ground. Our landlord certainly didn't inform us of that when we moved in. Not a problem in our case, just a mild annoyance, but something we couldn't have known about.

If these new buyers really knew the neighborhood and had walked around and asked about how things work, they would've gotten their answer. As it is, they can soundproof their place--which, if this drum circle continues indefinitely, will only increase the value of the place.
posted by zardoz at 8:30 PM on July 9, 2008


From the article:
“The drummers are our friends, neighbors and brothers, and are an important cultural part of our neighborhood,” said Donald K. Williams, president of the Mount Morris Park Community Improvement Association. “But the new residents have said, ‘We have the right to live here too, and the right to have some aural privacy,’ and they do.”
"Aural privacy", surely, must be the most scratch-nails-on-a-blackboard-irritating newspeak term I've heard in a long, long time. Since when did what others do in a public park matter to their "privacy" concerns? Did anyone snoop into their apartments? Did someone tap into their phones, read their email perhaps? No? Then fuhgetit; your right to privacy has NOT been violated.

(And I say this as someone who's perennially irritated by the school next-door to my apartment playing the national anthem at 715AM sharp on every weekday. But that's more to do with my disdain for public education than anything else. I haven't complained to the IHT so far, though, nor to anyone else other than my flatmates.)
posted by the cydonian at 11:13 PM on July 9, 2008


Let me be clear--$500,000 for the square footage of a condo isn't average in the United States of America. It isn't starter housing for most Americans. Salaries in NYC are high, and these people aren't plumbers making $30,000 a year.

I know it isn't starter housing for most Americans. I said it's almost starter housing in the Manhattan Market. A glance at real estate costs there seems to put the average cost of a studio is over $300k and the average cost of a one bedroom apt is over $500k. That's in cheaper neighbourhoods as well. You can pay a hell of a lot more for one bedroom there.

Here in the UK, the average UK house price (where salaries are much lower than the US, and stuff like food, recreation, petrol, etc. is much higher) is currently 218,112 -- almost $450k.

Presumably, here in the UK, we do what they do in Manhattan: spend more of our income on housing, and less on brand new gas-guzzling SUV's. But my point remains that someone who lives in a $500,000 house here isn't rich -- they're right bang slap in the middle. And I'm struggling to see how that same principle doesn't also stretch to New York City?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:31 AM on July 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


It happened in 2004
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:38 AM on July 10, 2008


A lot of interesting viewpoints regarding gentrification. Made for some good reading and I learned a thing or two.
That said, I think you could also say that a neighborhood undergoing gentrification could also be going through demographic(?) evolution.
Nothing stays the same forever. And no one group has absolute rights over an area, just because...
Thanks to all who offered up answers and opinions. It was only a half troll :-) I think I got exactly what I wanted from it.
As for the drumming? Well, as long as they aren't breaking any noise ordinances (which is why they stop at 2200 I assume) they are legally allowed to do it. Seeing as it has gone on for ~30 years I would think it will continue and the new homeowners are going to have to find a way to coexist. But they will probably just sue someone instead.
Too sad.
posted by a3matrix at 5:18 AM on July 10, 2008


If the drum circle is a cultural institution, it's also a bunch of guys milking tip money from tourists who think they're having an experience.

I've seen the drum circle. I've listened to the drum circle. It can go anywhere, it could have its hours moved to any time, it could be reduced in volume. The drum circle is almost completely inconsequential to millions of New Yorkers, except the few who participate it and those who can hear it. Except for government officials who might adjudicate this, who else had a dog in this fight?
posted by Mo Nickels at 6:20 AM on July 10, 2008


If the drum circle is a cultural institution, it's also a bunch of guys milking tip money from tourists who think they're having an experience.

If any "tourists" actually went to Marcus Garvey Park to watch the drum circle (and let's face it...it's not exactly a stop on the Grey Line buses), they wouldn't be wrong to think that.
posted by JaredSeth at 6:47 AM on July 10, 2008


The drum skins are made from errant tourists.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:42 AM on July 10, 2008 [1 favorite]


If any "tourists" actually went to Marcus Garvey Park to watch the drum circle (and let's face it...it's not exactly a stop on the Grey Line buses), they wouldn't be wrong to think that.

I think that would be the Black Star Line bus you'd be waiting for, son. It stops there, ok. It just doesn't stop around here en route.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:27 AM on July 10, 2008


I'll say what I said in the Wiffleball thread. If you want peace and quiet, buy some land. You do not live in an apartment for peace and quiet.
posted by Eideteker at 8:29 AM on July 10, 2008


You do not live in an apartment for peace and quiet.

That's rather obtuse.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:37 AM on July 10, 2008


Great link, jivadravya. Thanks.
posted by Listener at 11:00 PM on July 12, 2008


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