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From CBGB to Community Editor

Colin MoynihanColin Moynihan.

Although I was born in Manhattan my first trips to the East Village came as a teenager in the 1980’s when I traveled to the Bowery – CBGB! – and to St. Marks Place, where I spent hours in used record stores and book stores.

Later, in the early half of the 1990’s, I moved to Suffolk Street, a few blocks below what is generally considered the southern end of the East Village, although I always tended to consider the territory above East Houston Street to be the northern zone of the Lower East Side. (There will be more, in future posts, on the nature of geography and labeling of neighborhoods.)  I have lived just south of Houston since then, but my travels and my interests have always extended beyond that borderline.

In the late 1990’s I began writing newspaper stories about the area and it was then that I began to see events not so much in terms of what they meant to me but in terms of how they affected others and how they fit into a historical or cultural context.  Some of my first stories were about local landmarks, squats, the struggles surrounding the future of the Charas / El Bohio community center, the community gardens – during both celebratory moments and times of tension – and the nearly ceaseless battles over real estate and development that have shaped so much of the recent history of the East Village and continue to do so today.  (More, also, in future posts, on that.)

Over the last eight years, I have reported and written more and more about the world beyond the East Village.  But I have never stopped roaming the neighborhood, talking with people and paying attention to what is going on there.

I have also continued to write about the East Village: The departure of a market, a cafe, or a large, eccentric piece of public art; the possibility of privatizing public space; the troubles faced by a mainstay of the local landscape; the tradition of protest and debate; the death of a neighbor and existence as it is experienced on a certain stretch of Avenue A.  To me these are not just interesting stories.  They are narratives of vital concern to the people who cherish the neighborhood’s streets and parks and buildings and sense a connection to the other lives that are lived here. I know that I am not the only one who feels that kinship.

I’m fortunate to be able to start off in this job with the benefit of a solid base established by my predecessor, Kim Davis and the site’s chief editor, Richard G. Jones. (Kim and Rich, thank you.)  And I’m hoping to help continue making The Local a site where people go to read about –– and to write about –– the events and occurrences that make life in the East Village something worth caring about.

To all contributors: I look forward to working with you.  And to all members of the community: consider this an invitation to become a contributor.

Colin Moynihan is the community editor of The Local East Village. If you are interested in becoming a contributor to the site, please email him.

Farewells and Arrivals

Kim Davis PortraitKim Davis.

My last day as Community Editor of The Local East Village finds me looking back on what has been a long and eventful journey. For me, the journey didn’t begin with a phone call from Rich Jones, or even with the friendly interrogation to which I was subjected by Jay Rosen and his Studio 20 journalism class.

The journey, for me, began more years ago than I would like to think, still living in London and devouring everything I could read about downtown New York. The history, the legends, the tales of the artists and poets. Books by Joseph Mitchell and Ronald Sukenick, photographs by Fred McDarrah. I even subscribed to “The New Yorker” – not uncommon, I know, but I used to check “Goings on About Town” and plan what I might do with my evening if only I wasn’t 3,000 miles away. Danny’s Skylight Room at the Grand Sea Palace sounded like the most exotic joint on earth.

Almost 15 years ago, I saw my chance and seized it, moving first to Midtown with a temporary job, before settling in the East Village and beginning the process leading to residency and something like permanence. My daughter was born in New York, has grown up in the East Village, and will have the memory of it always. Call me a romantic, but one day she will realize what a wonderful gift that is.

Although I’ve been a writer of one kind or another as long as I can remember, I could hardly have imagined when I set out on this trip that I would have the opportunity to help edit and even modestly shape a site like this. That will be a great memory for me going forward: like celebrating my green card by going out and buying a Yankees jersey (number 42), this has been another ritual of arrival in the pre-eminent city of arrivals. Thanks to The Local, to Rich and the rest of the team, for giving me this home. And you haven’t heard the last from me.

All the best, of course, to Colin Moynihan in taking this all to the next level.

Kim Davis is the founding community editor of The Local East Village. He blogs at

Meet The Next Community Editor

Colin MoynihanColin Moynihan.

We at The Local are happy to announce that Colin Moynihan, a reporter who during a period of 12 years has written about the East Village for The Times, is joining the blog as its next community editor.

Mr. Moynihan, who has also written for The New Yorker, New York magazine, and The
Village Voice, succeeds Kim Davis, who recently completed a six-month rotation as the site’s founding community editor.

“I’m looking forward to joining in the intrepid journalistic experiment that The Local began five months ago,” said Mr. Moynihan. “The East Village has a rich history and a legacy of great reporting and writing. It will be exciting to be part of a project that will try to contribute to that legacy while helping to write the next chapter in the neighborhood’s history.”

Richard G. Jones, the editor of The Local, praised the depth and breadth of Mr. Moynihan’s journalistic experience.

“We are extremely fortunate to have an editor of Colin’s caliber who brings an understanding of The Times’ standards and values, an innate knowledge and appreciation of the East Village’s distinct culture, and absolutely impeccable reporting chops,” Mr. Jones said.

The Local’s Next Community Editor

The Local is pleased to announce that Colin Moynihan, a reporter who has written about the East Village for The Times over a period of 12 years, will join the blog as its next community editor. Mr. Moynihan succeeds Kim Davis, who recently completed a six-month rotation in the position. We will have more details and a fuller post tomorrow. —The Local