Saturday, December 22, 2007


Poet John (Swami ) Lesko at Lucy's Bar on Avenue A

Friday, December 21, 2007


The 1994 Memorial Day Riot in Tompkins Square Park ...

Back in 1994 before there were true modern-day "Crusties" and before a row of seating in Tompkins Square Park came to be named for them , "Crusty Row" ( which see here at NMNL ) , there was a riot after a concert .
As the music of the 1994 Memorial Day concert ended in the recently rennovated Tompkins Square Park a group of beer-drinking locals decided that they should not be without music : they would make their own . A metal-jam began with numerous individuals beating on cans ,buckets , auto gas tanks , metal sheets , etc. . Barrel fires were started in the trash receptacles to help complete the tribal and primitive atmosphere of this ad hoc festival of rhythmic percusive sound .Of course NYPD did not approve of this improvised musical rebellion ; the music permit had after-all expired .
Shortly many cops were all over TSP siezing cans , buckets and assorted bits of metal paraphernalia . As beer bottles flew through the air , fires were extinguished and the ad hoc festival of tribal rhythms in TSP quickly ended .Very little real violence occured with most participants and lookers-on simply walking slowly out of TSP very slowly and purposefully with attitude ... just inches ahead of the cops .
The park was emptied of people in no more than an hour and locked until the next day .
The riot seems to have come as a surprise to NYPD but it or some other disorderly event had been predicted by some . The rennovated park had been re-opened in the late summer of 1992 and throughout that summer and the following summer of 1993 the park had seen no social disturbances . The park had remained in a pristine and orderly condition during these two summers but 1994 was different .
By the begining of 1994 NYPD had reduced the amount of attention it was giving to TSP and problems grew in the park as a result . The physical condition of the park had become less pristine showing signs of use , trash and disrepair .
We remember talking to a Lt. about problems in TSP 2 weeks before the '94 Memorial Day riot . The Lt. at the time claimed that there could never possibly be another riot in TSP ; NYPD was on top of everthing going on in the park . On Memorial Day there was a riot involving perhaps as many as 300 people with a hard core of active participants numbering 75 or so .

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Signs of Winter : Salt and a Little Snow Give FDNY and the East Village Electrical Power Grid Hot Fits....

As an electrical fire in a manhole smoked a Mercedes like a ham with toxic smoke at the corner of 7thg street and avenue B , FDNY waited for a Con Edison emergency repair crew to arrive . About the only thing that FDNY could do at the scene was occasionaly hose down the fire when the flames periodically rose to the extent that they could possibly ignite the Mercedes ..
Con Edison could not give an estimated time of arrival for an emergency repair crew at the site because their emergency crews were all engaged in extinguishing numerous other manhole fires throughout Manhattan .
FDNY could not remove the grey Mercedes from over the smoking and flaming manhole because all FDNY rescue teams that could pull the car off the smoking and flaming manhole were already busy with other problems associated with all the other the numerous manhole fires .
Salt that is spread on the streets during snow and ice storms increases the conductivity of water from snow-melt . It also corrodes electrical connections resulting in unaccepably high resistivity of the connections which with current flow through these high resitance connections causes the connection to heat and melt and burn the wire's insulation producing much toxic smoke . The increased conductivity of the water in and around the wiring in the manhole causes an increase in the shorting of current to ground and to the wires of other phases in the manhole raising temperatures to a point that wire insulation softens and even melts .This softening and melting of the insulation allows metal wire and connectors to force their way through the insulation and to touch other connectors and wires causing shorts that melt and burn insulation producing much toxic smoke along with steam .
Ultimately the wire insulation is consumed and bare copper comes into contact with bare copper over a sufficiently large surface area and an even more intense shorting of current occurs producing in some cases a small explosion accompanied by a loud growling sound produced by a very large AC current flow ....for a very short period a current in excess of 100,000 amps .
As we were photographing this event a large NY Sanitation salt-spreader drove by spraying us with salt .... and covering the area adjacent to the fire with even more salt .


120 St. Marks Place : "The Cave" Artist's Commune ...

Jim Power and Biker Bill Walker
Paintings by : On the left Mike Matel and on the right by Maze

Jerry with 40 oz. malt liquor

Painted interior

Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer

Mike Matel

Jery Faust

Painted interior and supplies

Myles Emery and Shelby Voice's space

Jerry painting

Jerry painting

Jerry painting

Eddie's space

Eddie's space

Eddie's space

Painted wall

Jim Power's space

Jesse Jane

Jim's space

Jim incognito

Rear of the "Cave"

Without getting into the right-or-wrong-of-it-all or the for-better-or-worse-of-it-all we'll just say tonight that the East Village is changing and has changed irreversably . The "Cave" artist commune was the last of the illegal East Village squats and it has now been gone for nearly 2 years . The building at 120 St. Marks Place that the "Cave" occupied has been demolished and replaced by a new building of which we have posted many times here at NMNL .
Most recently we posted again of this new 120 St. Marks Place building 5 posts ago on 12 December . Tonight we just ammended that post ( PLEASE RETURN TO THIS PREVIOUS 12 DEC. POST AND READ THE ADDITIONAL COMMENTARY ) adding more damning comentary to the story of the new 120 St. Marks Place .
The "Cave" commune was started 5 years or so ago by Mike Matel , Demetrius and Maze . Many were soon to join the commune including Eddie ,Myles Emory and Shelby Voice , Jerry Faust , Noah Ryder ,Lisa Renko and of course Jim "Mosaic Man " Power and super-star dog Jesse Jane .
It is difficult to say whether the "Cave" was more a drinking and drugging society or more a society of artists . Probably it is fairly represented as all of the above . Many an evening was nothing but a ribald drunken frenzy . But along with all the dissipative behavior some painting and sculpture was done ... things were created and sometimes actually sold .
Here we present a selection of veiws of the "Cave" and some of it's members and their work .

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