Anxious about LES gentrification, 1977

Vivien Goldman, from “To Hell & Back,” Sounds, 8 October 1977:

“I WONDER whether the bright spark who thought up the new Sire Records slogan Don’t Call It Punk realised exactly how spot on he/she was. Take a musician like Richard [Hell] – he isn’t a punk. True, he lives in a highly unsalubrious area of New York, way down on the lower east side, ideal turf for young punks to hang out on corners and shoot the shit, but Richard isn’t there because he’s a first generation American whose folks have just pulled in from Puerto Rico. He’s there because he’s one of the new generation of artist types flocking to low-rent areas, a process which will inevitably result in the rents slowly rising, the scabrous tenements being tarted up till the immigrant families can’t afford it any more and have to shift camp to somewhere even less advantageous. Right now, it’s still funky in the fullest sense of the word – mean, dirty and low down, just the kind of area your mother wouldn’t let you play in.”

Tags: ,