Osborne & Rose (1999), “Governing cities: notes on the spatialisation of virtue“ Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 17(6) 737 – 760
[T]he image of urban space as providing a multitude of spontaneous encounters, of sudden glimpses of architectural oddities and esoteric markets, of bustling yet safe public spaces, this urban experience seen by its celebrants as arising out of the intersection and accumulation of thousands of spontaneous histories and schemes, has been transformed into calculated, rationalised, and repetitive programmes for reshaping waterfronts, dockland areas, sites of old buildings, palaces, warehouses, piers, vegetable markets, and the like into tourist attractions. Urban theme parks, each more hyperreal than real.
Disused wharves become craft markets. Victorian structures that accommodated carcasses of sheep and cows on their way to butchers, sacks of potatoes and cauliflower on their way to cornershops are now filled with trendy boutiques and cafes.
Sectors of space once occupied, for specifiable economic and other reasons, by people of Chinese extraction become ‘Chinatown’, proclaimed by street signs with elaborate and publicly funded festivals to mark the start of the Chinese Year of a particular animal. Each ‘conservation area’, each ‘heritage trail’ is populated not by the spontaneous movements of the urban inhabitants, but by those transported by tour coaches, clutching guidebooks, video cameras, and postcards.
The city becomes not so much a complex of dangerous and compelling spaces of promises and gratifications, but a series of packaged zones of enjoyment, managed by an alliance of urban planners, entrepreneurs, local politicians, and quasi-governmental ‘regeneration’ agencies.
[Images linked to original sources, please click through for additional info/context]
There was a certain amount of that going on. In the New York indie scene at that time, there was Maxwell’s in Hoboken and there were about five clubs in New York, including the Pyramid and CBs and a few other clubs I can’t remember off the top of my head, that we’d go to all the time to see bands. And people looked at us like, “Who are these jerks?” Or that’s the impression that you got. We were definitely outside the scene. It kind of ticked us off. After Pavement, and after people started realizing that me and Malkmus were in Pavement, then suddenly people liked us. Because before they knew we were in Pavement they thought we were these spoiled brats from Virginia.
It was a weird time. There was a lot of tension. David’s a rebel, you know? If people are rude to him or snotty to him, which they would be, at that time, around there, he would get really, really pissed off. There’d be, like, a revenge mode with him. For me, I would just take it on the chin. Even record stores in the late ’80s and ’90s, they were filled with people that were so snobby about music. When you were buying records, and they had to write down the record on little pieces of paper that you’re buying as handwritten receipts, they’d just be judging you by what you bought, you know? You’d get sneered at a lot. It was kind of fun. I don’t know if that really exists anywhere today.
New York Public Library archival image via NY History Walks
A. J. Liebling, Back Where I Came From (“People in Trouble”, pages 140-143)
Open air markets are a picturesque feature of many regions in the sticks, and I am proud to say that New York has an out-door market too. It is called the Tin Pan, but the cops chase it around from one corner to another on the lower East Side, so it will be hard to direct visitors to the World’s Fair to this cheerful glimpse of colorful city life…
From Essex Street to Suffolk the sidewalk was jammed with men pushing from one end of the block to the other. As each walked he carried in his hand a fountain pen, a pair of mules, a flutter of dirty handkerchiefs, a ragged sweater. A few had watches. Any object exposed was for sale or barter…
Hundreds of men of all races and ages attend the market every day. Where they get their stocks no one inquires.