‘The Chintz Age’ and the Hyper-Gentrification of a New New York [REVIEW]

Posted on: December 1st, 2015 at 9:23 am by
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As we New Yorkers know all too well, we are living in an era of hyper-gentrification. (In case you missed it, we report on this very topic on a daily basis.) Longtime residents have historically felt that the world is spinning too quickly and that, eventually, many of us will be pushed out of the exciting neighborhoods – and perhaps the city – that we helped create. In recent years, this seems to be happening at a faster clip.

In his new book of short stories, The Chintz Age: Tales of Love and Loss for a New New York, author Ed Hamilton immerses us in a world of creative and unique city dwellers who are struggling with gentrification, a clash of cultures, and with the fear that they themselves are becoming obsolete.

Hamilton, who is also the author of Legends of the Chelsea Hotel: Living with the Artists and Outlaws of New York’s Rebel Mecca, sets each story in a different Manhattan neighborhood, ranging from the East Village to Washington Heights. We are introduced to a fascinating cast of characters, diverse within the somewhat homogeneous subset of “original” New Yorkers, including a used bookstore owner, a once-famous photographer, a musician who is moonlighting as a bellboy at a Chelsea Hotel-esque dive, a couple whose apartment overlooks the Highline, and a group of women whose number one goal is to meet men who have rent-controlled apartments. Some are hanging on by a thread in order to stay here, while others are on their way out. And some have already left.

Set in dive bars, flophouses and condemned buildings, the book is completely engrossing, feeling as though we had been to these fictional places and had met – and perhaps sympathized with – most of these characters in real life.

Upcoming events for the book include a reading at The Powerhouse Arena in Dumbo tonight at 7pm.

Events on the Lower East Side and the East Village include the following:

Thursday, January 14, 2016 at 7:00pm – Inspired Word’s monthly series, hosted by Michael Phillip Geffner, presents NYC writers at the Parkside Lounge, 317 E Houston St, New York, NY 10002

Friday, January 22, 2016, 7:00 pm – Bluestockings Bookstore, 172 Allen St, NY NY

Thursday, February 18, 2016 7:00 pm – KGB Bar “Drunken Careening Writers” series hosted by Kathleen Warnock

For more information, check out Hamilton’s blog, “Living With Legends: Hotel Chelsea Blog” here.

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