No man is a failure who has friends.
December 31, 2008 7:38 AM   Subscribe

Bohemian owner of bookstore/vintage clothing shop, forced out of his store last year and facing eviction from his basement apartment, is profiled in the New York Times in August 2008. NYT photog notices his paintings, contributes some art supplies and introduces him to a gallery owner. Heartwarming consequences ensue.

"The more he painted, the less he focused on the eviction, and the less depressed he got," says a friend. Four months later, Johnny Avery gets his own gallery show. Neighborhood fans—among them, kids who found safe refuge in his shop decades ago—gather and pay tribute. “People used to look at me like the little guy selling second-hand books,” Avery tells the Times in December. “This shows, hey, I can be lucky somehow. You know, it’s about time.”
posted by GrammarMoses (7 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
So . . . no pictures of the paintings?
posted by Outlawyr at 7:53 AM on December 31, 2008

A little bit here, but unfortunately that's all I could find.
posted by GrammarMoses at 7:57 AM on December 31, 2008

Who did he have to sleep with?
posted by spicynuts at 8:15 AM on December 31, 2008

I understand that Fats Waller was born in that bookstore/vintage clothing shop.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:32 AM on December 31, 2008 [4 favorites]

^ "[The New York Times'] 'values' and 'democratic ideals' included using eminent domain to forcibly evict 55 businesses--including a trade school, a student housing unit, a Donna Karan outlet, and several mom-and-pop stores--against their will, under the legal cover of erasing "blight," in order to clear ground for a 52-story skyscraper. The Times and Ratner, who never bothered making an offer to the property owners, bought the Port Authority's adjacent property at a steep discount ($85 million) from a state agency that seized the 11 buildings on it; should legal settlements with the original tenants exceed that amount, taxpayers will have to make up the difference. On top of that gift, the city and state offered the Times $26 million in tax breaks for the project, and Ratner even lobbied to receive $400 million worth of U.S. Treasury's backed Liberty Bonds--instruments created by Congress to help rebuild Lower Manhattan. Which is four miles away."
posted by ZenMasterThis at 8:36 AM on December 31, 2008

Just to give some context to ZenMaster's quote from a poorly-written Reason article: the State of New York used eminent domain to evict businesses so that the New York Times could erect their giant new headquarters on the block. Ratner is Bruce Ratner, the real estate developer involved with the project. I share Zen's disgust with the perversion of eminent domain, but don't see the connection to the paper publishing a story about a fixture of the community getting evicted because of a crappy landlord. This doesn't have anything to do with eminent domain.
posted by incessant at 11:56 AM on December 31, 2008

Chalk one up for my Fantasy New York.

Now bring back Kiev (and and and) and I'll move tomorrow...
posted by From Bklyn at 12:20 PM on December 31, 2008

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