Friday, June 9, 2017

Goals: Make a Life-Sized Felt Model of My Friends and Family Who Have Been Gentrified Out of NYC

Hear me out, fam.

I have nothing against art, God knows, or British artist Lucy Sparrow. I wouldn't even know Lucy Sparrow if I bumped into her in an artisanal iPhone case store in Bushwick, so I can't say whether she is or is not related to Johnny Depp a.k.a. Captain Jack Sparrow. I'm certainly not hating on Lucy Sparrow or her 100% felt bodega in the meat-packing district that sells "9,000 essential felt deli items."

I can't even dispute the admirable social message that prompted Lucy Sparrow to embark on this epic artistic undertaking, both in NYC and in her native London. The felt bodega arose "out of [Lucy Sparrow's] love for Mom and Pop shops which are often threatened by bigger chains." 

She "wants the work to make people think about the loss of community spaces when these small corner shops disappear; to remind them how valuable these corner shops really are and the color they bring to their lives."

I also can't blame Lucy Sparrow for the fact that neither I--nor almost anyone I grew up with in New York City who is not a hedge fund manager, married to a hedge fund manager, or the adult child of a hedge fund manager--can afford to live there anymore. 

To be fair, that's mostly the fault of the same Russian and Saudi real estate oligarchs that our current President is indebted to for his job and whose will he serves far and away above Pittsburgh OR Paris.

So I'm not spreading the salt on Lucy Sparrow, and by all means I wish Lucy Sparrow the best of luck with her felt bodega. In fact, I love Lucy Sparrow's felt bodega so much, that I'm inspired to make a full-scale felt model of myself and every single friend and family member who, like a real, actual bodega in the meat packing district, has been gentrified to all holy fuck out of NYC.

It's going to take some time and effort to gather the materials, but it will be worth it. I'll need yards and yards of multi-colored shades of flesh-colored fabric in the full range of human flesh colors, along with many spools of thread and some different-sized needles. (I'll also need artistic skill, which will be much harder to acquire, but that's another matter). 

I'll need to dig out all those old photos of me and my friends hanging out on the lower east side on a weekend night, and maybe recreate--out of felt of course--some used needles (the drug kind, not the sewing kind) and other garbage on Avenue C. 

I'll teach myself to sew, and then I'll sew all of my friends and a scale-model of the Museum of Natural History out of felt that does not have a 1,000,000,000 person line in front of it every single day, and maybe like an old school metal subway token? 'Member those?


It will take a lot of tedious effort to restore my hometown to its former felt-glory and make a statement about gentrification through felt, but it will be worth it. Way more worth it, say, than trying to work to solve the complicated root causes of non-felt gentrification and making fun of a British artist who makes an easy scapegoat for the fact that I can't afford to live where I grew up even if I wanted to, which I don't.

Still, I think Lucy Sparrow is on to something. I'm going to end this post now and start shopping for supplies.  Felt: the surprising answer to gentrification that's been in front of us at JoAnn fabrics all along.


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