Loft Living In Lower Manhattan, Before Gentrification


You may never have heard of James Wolcott, but the boy sure can write. Especially about New York in the CBGB days of the 1970s. It's a good analog to HBO's "Vinyl".

 "Loft living then wasn’t the luxury alternative that it later became with the rise of SoHo and gentrification with a vengeance in Tribeca and beyond, as lofts became synonymous with airy storage units of flooding sunlight, gleaming bowling-alley hardwood floors, and quirkily amusing, slayingly chic art pieces chosen and arranged just so as tribal taste trophies, a photo layout of a setup perfect to raise a super-race of test-tube babies. Loft living in the mid-seventies was still in its pioneer post-factory, rat-haven phase, the elevators lowering and lifting like a large, groaning apprehension (as if operated by Marley’s chain-hanging ghost from A Christmas Carol), the thick-piped plumbing still in its early Soviet phase, these industrial garrets too hot in summer, too cold in winter, but spacious enough to carry a bowling-alley echo.”


Excerpt From: James Wolcott's “Lucking Out.” Doubleday, 2011-10-25. iBooks.

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