Government Just Doesn’t Work. Except When It Does

abcnorio.jpgLiving in NYC, I’m never at a loss to find something to complain about, as far as local government is concerned. Oh man, the government. Don’t get me started about the government! I believe Mayor Bloomberg got most of his philosophies by watching Brazil and studying how to make citizens pay for their own punishment.

But occasionally, the city gubment can do good things. Like this past week, when they awarded a $1.65 million grant to punk landmark/Lower East Side community center ABC No Rio for construction of a new building.

After technically squatting at 156 Rivington Street for much of its existence, ABC was sold the site for one dollar on the condition they make necessary repairs. Problem was, the building was in need of more than a few repairs, and costs ballooned exponentially the longer it took them to raise the necessary funds. Then, a city architect told them the whole building would have to come down (which, if you’ve ever been inside it, should come as no surprise).

That seemed to be that, but thanks to grants from the Manhattan borough president’s office and the work of city councilman Allen J. Gerson, ABC will be able to build the new facility they need. I didn’t know you could even bribe the necessary city officials for less than $2 million, but apparently the grant will cover the cost of a smaller one-story facility with a basement (as opposed to the four-story tenement that’s housed ABC since 1980).

Having seen many, many shows there (and played in a few), I’m very happy that ABC can continue to exist in a city that seems bent on destroying everything organic and interesting. So kudos to everyone involved for finding a way to keep something vibrant and important alive in Manhattan. I don’t know what horrible, unspeakable deeds you committed to make this happen. I’m just glad that you did them