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Westbeth Artists Housing

 

Westbeth is located in NYC in Manhattan’s Far West Village, @ 55 Bethune Street
corner of Washington Street.  It is a complex of 3 buildings of which the main building is for artists’ housing, the L Building which is the New School, and the I Building which has artists studios and commercial spaces. It originally was built as a complex of 13 buildings in 1868 for Western Electric.

In the lobby, young students of the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance and the New School for Drama, both housed in the building, zip between shuffling senior citizens sporting brightly dyed hair and artfully disheveled, hipsterish clothes. These bohemian elders are the original residents of Westbeth, a keen, active group of people who have spent a lifetime challenging convention.

When it opened in January 1970, Westbeth became the first and largest federally subsidized artists’ colony in the country.

Edith Stephen, 98, a dancer, choreographer, and documentary filmmaker, moved into the complex the year that it opened, when she was 50 years old. Her 2010 film Split/Scream, A Saga of Westbeth Artist Housing turned the lens on Westbeth. Photo by Frankie Alduino.

Edith Stephen, 98, a dancer, choreographer, and documentary filmmaker, moved into the complex the year that it opened, when she was 50 years old. Her 2010 film Split/Scream, A Saga of Westbeth Artist Housing turned the lens on Westbeth. Photo by Frankie Alduino.

“It’s like a hive in here,” Elizabeth Gregory-Gruen said of Westbeth, a theme that recurs in the radiating fire escapes in the building’s interior courtyard. They don’t lead to the ground—in case of fire, residents are meant to crawl to a neighbor’s incombustible, concrete apartment. Photo by Frankie Alduino.

“It’s like a hive in here,” Elizabeth Gregory-Gruen said of Westbeth, a theme that recurs in the radiating fire escapes in the building’s interior courtyard. They don’t lead to the ground—in case of fire, residents are meant to crawl to a neighbor’s incombustible, concrete apartment. Photo by Frankie Alduino.

Jack Dowling entered Westbeth in 1970 as an abstract painter, but almost immediately turned to a career in writing. These days, he has plans to finally complete his last painting, which has remained unfinished since the 1960s. Photo by Frankie Alduino.

Jack Dowling entered Westbeth in 1970 as an abstract painter, but almost immediately turned to a career in writing. These days, he has plans to finally complete his last painting, which has remained unfinished since the 1960s. Photo by Frankie Alduino.

Edith Stephen’s first Westbeth application was rejected; as a university dance teacher, she made too much money to qualify. She was later admitted while unemployed. Photo by Frankie Alduino.

Edith Stephen’s first Westbeth application was rejected; as a university dance teacher, she made too much money to qualify. She was later admitted while unemployed. Photo by Frankie Alduino

Theater artist Ralph Lee, 83, loves spending time in his studio located in the apartment he moved into with his wife and three children in 1970. He curates a rotating array of his fantastical puppets in an unused guard booth in the Westbeth courtyard. Photo by Frankie Alduino.

Theater artist Ralph Lee, 83, loves spending time in his studio located in the apartment he moved into with his wife and three children in 1970. He curates a rotating array of his fantastical puppets in an unused guard booth in the Westbeth courtyard. Photo by Frankie Alduino.

that”) while aligning with the nascent off-off-Broadway scene.
Theater artist Ralph Lee, 83, loves spending time in his studio located in the apartment he moved into with his wife and three children in 1970. He curates a rotating array of his fantastical puppets in an unused guard booth in the Westbeth courtyard. Photo by Frankie Alduino.

Theater artist Ralph Lee, 83, loves spending time in his studio located in the apartment he moved into with his wife and three children in 1970. He curates a rotating array of his fantastical puppets in an unused guard booth in the Westbeth courtyard. Photo by Frankie Alduino.

For Jonathan Bauch, “Westbeth was a savior. To afford a studio, I would have had to work full-time.” At 78, he has the freedom to work on his steel sculptures five days a week in a studio in the building that he shares with another resident. Photo by Frankie Alduino.

For Jonathan Bauch, “Westbeth was a savior. To afford a studio, I would have had to work full-time.” At 78, he has the freedom to work on his steel sculptures five days a week in a studio in the building that he shares with another resident. Photo by Frankie Alduino.

received a new apartment.
At 92 years old, Gloria Miguel, a Kuna/Rappahannock elder, continues to perform with Spiderwoman Theater. The company, which she founded with her sisters in the mid-1970s, produces plays about women’s and indigenous issues. Photo by Frankie Alduino.

At 92 years old, Gloria Miguel, a Kuna/Rappahannock elder, continues to perform with Spiderwoman Theater. The company, which she founded with her sisters in the mid-1970s, produces plays about women’s and indigenous issues. Photo by Frankie Alduino.

As the founder of the percussion ensemble Women of the Calabash, Madeleine Yayodele Nelson performed for eminent world leaders, including Barack Obama, in a quest to popularize music from Africa and the African diaspora. Nelson passed away last September at age 69; she joined Westbeth in 1982. Photo by Frankie Alduino.

As the founder of the percussion ensemble Women of the Calabash, Madeleine Yayodele Nelson performed for eminent world leaders, including Barack Obama, in a quest to popularize music from Africa and the African diaspora. Nelson passed away last September at age 69; she joined Westbeth in 1982. Photo by Frankie Alduino.

Rock photographer Bob Gruen’s famous 1974 portrait of John Lennon overlooks an apartment crammed with 50 years’ worth of negatives—an archive his wife, Elizabeth Gregory-Gruen, is painstakingly working to organize. Photo by Frankie Alduino.

Rock photographer Bob Gruen’s famous 1974 portrait of John Lennon overlooks an apartment crammed with 50 years’ worth of negatives—an archive his wife, Elizabeth Gregory-Gruen, is painstakingly working to organize. Photo by Frankie Alduino.

Latvian dancer and choreographer Vija Vetra, who will turn 96 on February 6th, stands in her front entry hall, surrounded by her artwork and posters from past performances. Vetra continues to conduct yoga and dance classes from her Westbeth studio. Photo by Frankie Alduino.

Latvian dancer and choreographer Vija Vetra, who will turn 96 on February 6th, stands in her front entry hall, surrounded by her artwork and posters from past performances. Vetra continues to conduct yoga and dance classes from her Westbeth studio. Photo by Frankie Alduino.

 

People Are Paying Millions To Reside In New York’s Basements

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  • The cost of living in Manhattan is more than double the US average.
  • The NYC cost of living is so high partly due to its exorbitant housing market — the average rent for a Manhattan apartment is $3,667.
  • The real estate market in New York City has gotten so expensive that many buyers are forgoing apartments in the sky for basements underground, according to a recent New York Times article

Underground apartments are becoming so popular that a pilot program is in the works for the creation of legal basement and cellar apartments in East New York, Brooklyn.

The cost of living in New York City is at least 68.8% higher than the national average. If you live in the city center, however, it’s even worse. The cost of living in Manhattan is more than double the national average.

Home Values in New York

After housing, the number one expense for most Americans is transportation. For car owners, that’s the cost of buying, maintaining, insuring, fueling and storing their vehicle, and for public transit users, that’s the cost of a transit pass (and maybe a good pair of shoes).

For car owners in New York, the number one cost may be parking. According to Colliers International, the average parking rate in downtown Manhattan is $533 per month. That’s more than twice the rate in other expensive cities like Los Angeles and Honolulu. While parking is less expensive in other parts of the city, like Brooklyn and Queens, you can still expect to spend at least a few hundred dollars per month to keep your car in a lot or garage. (Street parking is available in many areas, but requires frequently moving your car to avoid costly tickets.)

According to the Council for Community and Economic Research, groceries in New York cost between 28% and 39% more than the national average, depending on where you live. So, if you spend $200 per month on groceries living somewhere else in the country, you’ll spend something more like $260 when you move to New York.

Eating out in New York City is even less affordable. A meal at an inexpensive restaurant in New York costs $15, and a meal for two at a moderately expensive restaurant costs $75. Those prices are 50% and 67% higher the national averages, respectively. Your best bet may be to eat at one of the city’s many food trucks, although even those can be expensive. Of course, if you’re spending a lot on food, you can help yourself out by using a good rewards credit card that provides cash back or extra points for restaurant and grocery store purchases.

 

Is Airbnb Really Homesharing

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The decade-old service has now matured and the number of rental properties proliferated dramatically, a second genre emerged, one that focused on what the service was doing to the larger community: Airbnb was raising rents and taking housing off the rental market. It was supercharging gentrification while discriminating against guestsand hosts of color. And as commercial operators took over, it was transforming from a way to help homeowners occasionally rent out an extra room into a purveyor of creepy, makeshift hotels.  The number of rental properties proliferated dramatically, a second genre emerged, one that focused on what the service was doing to the larger community: Airbnb was raising rents and taking housing off the rental market. It was supercharging gentrification while discriminating against guests and hosts of color. And as commercial operators took over, it was transforming from a way to help homeowners occasionally rent out an extra room into a purveyor of creepy, makeshift hotels.

New York City is the third-largest Airbnb market in the world, and it’s also one of the oldest, so it could serve as a useful model for what smaller, newer markets might expect to see when home sharing takes off.

No More Black Harlem!

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Read All About It

Black residents have been present in Harlem continually since the 1630s, and as the neighborhood modernized in the late 19th century, they could be found especially in the area around 125th Street and in the “Negro tenements” on West 130th Street. By 1900, tens of thousands lived in Harlem. The mass migration of blacks into the area began in 1904, due to another real estate crash, the worsening of conditions for blacks elsewhere in the city, and the leadership of black real estate entrepreneurs including Phillip Payton, Jr. After the collapse of the 1890s, new speculation and construction started up again in 1903 and the resulting glut of housing led to a crash in values in 1904 and 1905 that eclipsed the late-19th century slowdown. Landlords could not find white renters for their properties, so Philip Payton stepped in to bring blacks. His company, the Afro-American Realty Company, has been credited with the migration of blacks from their previous neighborhoods, the Tenderloin, San Juan Hill (now the site of Lincoln Center), Minetta Lane in Greenwich Village and Hell’s Kitchen in the west 40s and 50s.[42][43] The move to northern Manhattan was driven in part by fears that anti-black riots such as those that had occurred in the Tenderloin in 1900 and in San Juan Hill in 1905 might recur. In addition, a number of tenements that had been occupied by blacks in the west 30s were destroyed at this time to make way for the construction of the original Penn Station.

In 1907, black churches began to move uptown. Several congregations built grand new church buildings, including St Philip’son West 134th Street just west of Seventh Avenue (the wealthiest church in Harlem), the Abyssinian Baptist Church on West 138th Street and St Mark’s Methodist Church on Edgecombe Avenue. More often churches purchased buildings from white congregations of Christians and Jews whose members had left the neighborhood, including Metropolitan Baptist Church on West 128th and Seventh Avenue, St James Presbyterian Church on West 141st Street, and Mt Olivet Baptist Church on Lenox Avenue.  Only the Catholic Church retained its churches in Harlem, with white priests presiding over parishes that retained significant numbers of whites until the 1930s.

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The Fastest Whitening Neighborhoods In The United States

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Hadrian Robot Can Build House In Two Days

 

Hadrian is expected to go into action next year

As robots get smarter, cheaper and more versatile, they’re taking on a growing number of challenges – and bricklaying can now be added to the list. Engineers in Perth, Australia, have created a fully working house-building machine that can create the brick framework of a property in just two days, working about 20 times faster than a human bricklayer.

The robot is named Hadrian (after Hadrian’s Wall in the UK), the robot has a top laying speed of 1,000 bricks per hour, which works out as the equivalent of about 150 homes a year. Of course there’s no need for the machine to sleep, eat or take tea breaks either, giving it another advantage over manual laborers.

At the heart of Hadrian is a 28 m (92 ft) articulated telescopic boom. Though mounted on an excavator , the finished version will sit on a truck, allowing it easier movement from place to place. The robot brick-layer uses information fed from a 3D CAD representation of the home for brick placement, with mortar or adhesive delivered under pressure to the head of the boom.

Fastbrick Robotics is now ready to launch the first commercial version of Hadrian at some point next year.

“The Hadrian reduces the overall construction time of a standard home by approximately six weeks,” Fastbrick Robotics CEO Mike Pivac told Gizmag. “Due to the high level of accuracy we achieve, most other components like kitchens and bathrooms and roof trusses can be manufactured in parallel and simply fitted as soon as the bricklaying is completed.”

Will  it take away brick laying jobs?

The machine will fill the void that exists due to shrinking numbers of available bricklayers, whose average age is now nearly 50 in Australia,” he says. “[Hadrian] should attract young people back to bricklaying, as robotics is seen as an attractive technology.

 

The Hadrian robot can lay up to 1,000 bricks per hour

 

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