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The Day | By the Numbers

rest stop, in blueMichelle Rick

Good morning, East Village.

We start this morning with the neighborhood distilled into neat statistical form. Nabewise, a data Web site, posted a chart of the East Village’s best and worst attributes to Neighborhoodr. It scored highly in the singles and nightlife categories and poorly in the quiet and parking categories. Seems about right to us, but what do you reckon?

Over on NearSay, Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Society for Historical Preservation posts an update on the former Sigmund Schwartz Gramercy Park Chapel building on Second Avenue. Once home to a funeral parlor, the site has been vacant for some years now. A Department of Buildings permit will give developers scope to add three extra storys to the building. The spot is between East Eighth and East Ninth Streets, so it falls outside the proposed historic preservation district.

Nearby, EV Grieve notes that the brownstone undergoing renovation on East 12th Street between Second and Third Avenues will become a Jewish cultural and education center, known simply as The Brownstone. According to its Web site, the center will partner with universities to offer 10-day and weekend programs.

On her Tumblr, writer Holly Hughes posted an intimate portrait of the WOW Café Theatre on East Fourth Street. She described the mini-memoir as “drafty, and partial” notes towards an introduction for a forthcoming WOW anthology, but it’s well worth a read in its current form.

Lastly, Fox reports that Ron Paul, the perennial presidential candidate, is gaining traction among East Village bartenders. The libertarian is proposing to make tips tax free, a policy sure to go down as smoothly as a cold beer on a hot day.

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.”
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