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A Little Plug

Eagle-eyed New Yorkers will be able to spot a picture of me on page 52 of the current issue of Time Out New York (the 1/25-2/1 issue, with the ski bunny on the cover). Nothing very glam, just an unflattering shot of me addressing the rapt crowd at the last group meeting of the Brooklyn LiveWork Coalition. It's a great article, actually, with a broad discussion of the issues at stake with this whole crackdown on loft living here in Crooklyn.

It's been something of a revelation for me to get so involved with this whole thing. I’ve been spending about 20 hours week (you know, during all that spare time when I’m not scoping or working full-time) donating time to the Coalition, and I even seem to have become part of the leadership. It's a shock to me because this issue has so easily tapped into some real passions of mine, passions I never really know about. I always saw myself as very apolitical, never getting myself into much of a twist about anything. This time around I haven't felt any doubt or any apathy. Unlike times when I was faced with gay rights issues or presidential elections or whatnot, I really feel charged about the way my neighbors and I are caught in the middle of this time of adaptation in New York. As the city government reacts to the way life in the city has adapted on its own, I’ve realized that I am actually part of a community here in a way I haven't experienced before. I started out just making sure I wouldn't get booted to the street, but as I’ve gotten to know my neighbors and other painters, sculptors, musicians, designers, photographers, entrepreneurs and such I’ve realized that I really give a shit about making sure that we all have a way to continue living in a way that lets us unite our work lives with our domestic lives, uniting what might otherwise be disparate parts of ourselves. Not to mention it would be damn hard to pay for both homes and studios where we could really work.

It's a delicate balance the Coalition is after. We actually enjoy the mixed character of our neighborhoods, and we want to be able to continue working where we live. As much as we want to bring improvements to these neighborhoods, we don't actually want to see them overdevelop in ways that make it impossible for us to stay, the way things have gone overboard in soho and Tribeca. Even though North Williamsburg has exploded in recent years, it's still a long way off from that kind of exclusivity. I think that’s one way that living in Brooklyn may always make things a little easier for us: No matter how much things transform over here, New York's geography will still concentrate the money and the attention in Manhattan.

We'll see, I suppose. In the meantime, I have some more meetings to prepare for...

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