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Recalling a Pre-Gentrified East Village in Black & White

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[Photo from Tompkins Square Park by Q. Sakamaki]

On the eve of the 20th anniversary of the Tompkins Square Park riots, gentrification is (remains?) a popular topic of discussion. The Times checks in on the issue with a feature on photographer Q. Sakamaki, who chronicled the misery of the ruins around him with his camera (he just released a book of Tompkins Square photos):

Upon arriving in the city in 1986 he settled in the East Village, where he was alternately charmed and horrified by what he found. Dilapidated and abandoned buildings lined the streets. Entire blocks were filled with little more than rubble and bricks. Heroin was sold in candy stores, and gunshots sounded in the night. In the morning he sometimes spotted the bodies of people who had been killed or had died of overdoses.And his thoughts on the East Village of today, where he still lives? "We lost our culture, and we lost control of our dreams." ?EV Grieve
· East Village, Before the Gentry [NYT]
· Tompkins Square Park coverage [Curbed]