The Village Getting Spruced Up…




…But Don’t Forget the Man in the Street

It seems like there have been quite a few building renovations in the Village over the last year or so.  Clearly lots of money has been spent.  One may thus be forgiven for asking, what about the regular man in the street?  The United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 1500 (NY’s largest grocery workers union) is fighting for a minimum wage increase to a mere $8.50 an hour.  That means no matter how hard the regular man in the street is working, there’s no way he’s going to be able to afford to live in the city and stay above the poverty line.

East 4th Street Building Restoration

Still, for those who want to live in denial and enjoy the bourgeoning beauty of the city, check out the new look for the building on East 4th Street. See how far it’s come in less than four years and try not to think about how that money could have been perhaps better used on the city’s residents.  Today it looks absolutely fabulous and yet has still retained a sense of New York’s modern history.  It just no longer has the decrepit look it was known for back in 2008 thanks to the Rod Rodgers Dance Company, Studios and Duo Multicultural Arts Center, along with NYC itself which all donated funds to ensure this renovation was made possible. 

This building has definitely been through some major changes during its history, ranging from a place to meet; a German music hall; ballroom; gay cinema; location for performances; hang-out for the likes of Andy Warhol, Jim Carroll and others who screened various controversial films, and more.

School Building Renovation

But this isn’t the only building in the Village that has undergone a rather expansive facelift.  Indeed, there was even a blessing delivered by Cardinal Egan to mark the huge amount of work that was put into improve the outlook and facilities of the St. Raymond High School for Boys at the end of last year.  The work that was undertaken is now enabling the staff to provide a better Catholic education – that is more modern – to the students there.  This was made possible by the construction of a brand new library/media center; music room; computer room; arts room; center for senior guidance and recreation area on the rooftop.

Library Opening

And then going back a few months to July of last year, the city saw the opening of the Morrisville Public Library, which took 9 months to complete.  The original building dates back to 1903, when it was opened to the public with a mere 760 volumes.  Donated by Susanna Phelps Gage, it was erected in the 1850 Gothic Revival–style home of Henry and Mary Phelps.  Today, the library boasts close to 18,000 volumes, and has thus certainly come a long way from its humble beginnings.

So there really are some exciting changes in the Village that are modernizing the city of New York while still retaining its tradition.  It’s just a shame many of the people living there are not enjoying such fancy renovations but are focused on where there next meal is going to come from.