Post tagged with


Amid Recession, A Return To Bartering

IMG_9710Maya Millett A group of artists gather at East Fourth Street’s WOW Cafe Theater and study the “Haves” and “Needs” wall they created at a networking event hosted by bartering website Bartering has enjoyed a resurgence in the neighborhood in the wake of the recession.

The concept of bartering often conjures an aura of myth: Jack’s storied magic beans, as it turned out after all, was a pretty fortuitous trade for the cow he handed over to the butcher in exchange.

In the wake of the recession, bartering has captured a renewed interest among the cash-strapped or habitually thrifty. In its most recent incarnation, bartering thrives on the Internet. Craigslist, that great Wild West of an online forum, is a barterer’s goldmine. And niche websites like Swap Tree, Neighborgoods, ThingHeap, and countless others are tailored to specific trade interests like tools, books, electronics, furniture and other miscellany.

While the web has ushered bartering into a new era of resource exchange, in artistic communities like the East Village, swapping creative work or services has long been an inherent part of the culture.

“Probably everyone in the low-budget artist class in the East Village has bartered,” says Ayun Halliday, an author and Bust magazine columnist who in 1996 created the cult-coveted “East Village Inky” zine, which chronicles her adventures in motherhood.

Though Ms. Halliday and her family moved to Boerum Hill in 2000, she’s still entrenched in the East Village’s creative scene. Zine publishers, she says, are some of bartering’s most famous traders. Zine making “is definitely a labor of love — and barterers are often purveyors of that.”
Read more…