New York After Rent

(II of III)

Another installment of Benjamen Walker’s Theory of Everything.

For 30 years Kathy Kirkpatrick ran the Life Cafe — an East Village establishment that was made famous by the musical Rent. Kathy closed the cafe in September of 2011, media reports at the time alluded to an ironic landlord dispute.

Your host tracked Kathy down to her new home in Spain where she is working on her memoir. She shares the final chapter of her story — the Life Cafe after Rent.

For your host one thing that encapsulates the new New York is the Leslie Entrepreneurs Lab where entrepreneurs come to turn their ideas and inventions into startups

We meet the co-founders of Bäro — two young people inspired by Airbnb, two young people who hope to shape the future of New York.

In time startups will enable us to rent out our memories, feelings and dreams the same way we now rent out our extra bedrooms, and the stuff in our closets. Every flight of fancy will eventually be commodified.


the form of a city airbnbs more quickly, alas!

than the human heart

Your host got his first glimpse of the new New York in late September of 2008 at a major Advertising executive’s annual birthday party — but its taken him years to make sense of what went down that night.

Also, Essayist and Cartoonist Tim Kreider traces his steps from Avenue B to Bushwick.

In New York you can have either a crappy apartment in a nice neighborhood or a nice apartment in a crappy neighborhood. My current apartment is very nice.

I can see the Empire State Building if I stand in the middle of Wyckoff Street. It looks a lot farther away than it did fifteen years ago. The skyline has recently been skewered by disproportionately tall, skinny multimillion-dollar condominiums, like middle fingers a thousand feet high stuck up at the rest of us.

As artists have been driven outward in favor of high finance, this former artistic capital of the world has come more and more to resemble a high-end mall with a really well-reviewed food court. We inhabitants of Bushwick are like plovers picking gobbets of pre-masticated food from between the crocodile teeth of Manhattan.