Martin Greenfiled in today's NYT

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by mack11211, Apr 16, 2005.

  1. mack11211

    mack11211 Senior member

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    Article is about illegal loft conversions in the East Williamsburg industrial park, not far from where I live. << Inside the park on Varet Street, Martin Greenfield Clothiers employs about 150 tailors in a building that has been used for garment-making since the 19th century. As evidence of the loss of blue-collar jobs, Tod Greenfield, one of the owners, cites the marvelously obscure statistic that Greenfield is the last union hand-tailored men's clothing factory with more than 100 employees in New York City, where there were more than 3,000 businesses fitting that description as recently as the 1960's. In the past decade, the L train has served as a sort of hip Oregon Trail, bringing waves of artists, followed by graphic designers and finally investment bankers and lawyers, eastward from Union Square. Mr. Greenfield said that this was making nearby residential neighborhoods unaffordable for his workers, who make an average of $11 an hour and are likely to have families to support. Some blue-collar workers are able to live near their jobs only by virtue of rent control. Laura Vera, 55, a tailor at Greenfield who said she had lived in a $550-per-month apartment in Bushwick for 30 years, said both her job and her home had become irreplaceable. "This is the only shop around here," she said. "Everything is condos, apartments. And for people working, it's hard to get an apartment." >> Full article: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/04/16/ny...16convert.html
     
  2. lisapop

    lisapop Senior member

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    It's particularly difficult finding skilled workers in NY accustomed to doing quality custom work. For example, there are only a couple of pant makers good enough for the few remaining custom tailors in NY to use. It's a dying trade, literally.
    Grayson
     
  3. Horace

    Horace Senior member

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    Thanks for this. I haven't opened up the paper yet. Friends of mine had (and some continue to rent) enormous lofts outside of Williamsburg (before the revival) near the Navy Yard. Dirt cheap (less than 30c per sq. foot) and totally off the "grid" -- it's like something out Ralph Ellison.
     
  4. mack11211

    mack11211 Senior member

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    I imagine this is under pressure as well, from two sources: (1) Chasidic Jewish area in South Williamsburg expanding farther southward, and (2) redevelopment of the Navy Yard itself, which now has some massive soundstages and may get several more.

    I lived in South Williamsburg, a few blocks from the water, and just south of the Williamsburg Bridge in the early 90s. The changes I've seen in the Williamsburg/East Williamsburg/Navy Yard area have been massive.
     
  5. Mark Seitelman

    Mark Seitelman Senior member

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    The pressures on the industrial area are neither from the Chasidic community nor the Navy yard. The pressures are from creeping &quot;gentrification.&quot;

    BTW, Greenfield's factory is in an industrial section bordered with City housing projects. It is a good distance from residential Williamsburg. It is closer to Bushwick. It is down the block from a Chinese food plant which bakes fortune cookies. There are parking lots for commerical vehicles and one story factories and workshops in the area. This is not charming SoHo.

    Indeed, the Chasidic community feels the same pressures in its small section of Williamsburg. The community is not wealthy, and good numbers are poor. The former Gretsch guitar factory was sold to a developer who converted it into condos. There was much concern that this could be the beginning of gentrification and out of control land prices.
     
  6. Horace

    Horace Senior member

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    This industrial section of which you speak -- I know it. There've been people living there in the industrial section for quite some time. Of course it's not charming Soho. But neither was Soho until it became charming. And then it wasn't Soho anymore. As for the pressures, I wouldn't know.
     
  7. Shirtmaven

    Shirtmaven Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I worked at Driggs and North 9Ths street in 1980-81 for Julie Hertling. He still has a pant factory in greenpoint. I ran the special order department. Badly, I must say. I did not even know what a half waist measurement was.
    Hertling industries made natural shoulder clothing for everybody. Made Flussers first line of clothing.

    It was a factory with several 10 people. Italian,spanish and Polish. These were neighborhood people. Lunch used to cost me $3.00

    The building has now been turned into condos.

    Carl
     

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