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Bowery Gentrification Watch: Varvatos Protest Tonight

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It's a little late to be outraged about what's happening to the Bowery, especially now that a John Varvatos boutique has opened its doors in the former CBGBs space. For those who don't remember CBGBs, it was a landmark nightclub at 315 Bowery that helped birth punk, then it spiraled into a depressing has-been that charged $6 for a Pabst Blue Ribbon before finally getting kicked out for not paying rent?to its homeless shelter landlord. Tonight, there's a benefit concert at the Varvatos boutique that's doubling as a glitzy opening party, and some activists are not pleased. In fact, they plan on picketing outside the Varvatos boutique, Brooklyn Vegan reports, but it's not about the loss of CBGB, specifically (because it sucked for well over a decade).

This is not about one music space, or just about cb's, or whether you thought Hilly was a good businessman or not, or whether you gigged there - - but it is about the type of intense gentrification being used to sell the Lower East Side; it is about the co-opting of culture to sell overpriced luxury goods. This is about small music and cultural and community spaces getting pushed out of the city, so that the wealthy can position themselves as saving it (or just the buildings) ... but in fact, only using it as a marketing tool for their unaffordable wares.Marketing tool whatnow? And wait, the Lower East Side isn't already a lost cause? Should we tell them about the pedestrian mall?
· protest outside CBGB tonight [Brooklyn Vegan]
· Now Open Saturday Special: John Varvatos on Bowery [Racked]
· From Flop Houses to Food Courts on the Bowery [Curbed]