Wednesday, August 10, 2011

211 Madison Street Today And In 1996

Located in the basement
At the ER Lounge, we comfort and take care of you with live entertainment every Thursday through Saturday, billiards, live bands and a growing list of top drinks/shots/shooters. Dance the night away while the live band performs the newest Latin hits on Saturday or come for Happy Hour on Thursday from 8pm-10pm and Friday from 5pm-10pm. Whether a dj or live band, the music caters to all. Celebrate your birthday there: parties of 10 or more get a complimentary bottle of Moet and a cake.
an excerpt from a 1996 nytimes story
For Poor, Life 'Trapped in a Cage'
On a corner of Clinton near Delancey, up a narrow stairway between a pawnshop and a Dominican restaurant, Ana Nunez and her three children live in a single, illegal room that suffocates their dreams of a future.
It is a $350-a-month rectangle, with no sink and no toilet, that throbs at night with the restaurant's merengue music. Ms. Nunez's teen-agers, Kenny and Wanda, split a bunk bed, while she squeezes onto a single bed with little Katarin, a pudgy 4-year-old with tight braids. Out the door and down the linoleum-lined hallway is the tiny bathroom they share with five strangers.
In this cramped room on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the Nunezes suffer the consequences of their poverty in ways that eerily recall the pathologies of turn-of-the-century tenements. Last winter, tuberculosis traveled from Kenny to his mother and younger sisters in a chain of infection as inevitable as their bickering. Inevitable, too, is their fear of fire: life in 120 square feet means the gas stove must stand perilously close to their beds.
This so-called apartment, this life, preys on them all, but most of all on Kenny, who, at 18, is a restless young man in a female household. Ask him what bothers him most and he flatly states that he has only one way to get some privacy: ''I close my eyes.'' Partly because he had nowhere to study, much less to think, Kenny dropped out of school last year, a fact that his mother found herself too depressed to lament. She changed the subject instead.
''At night,'' she said, ''when the mice crawl over us in bed, it feels even more crowded.''
Across the city, tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of poor families like the Nunezes live in miserable, crowded conditions from which they can see no way out. But they suffer privately, captives of a hidden housing crisis that has been masked for years by the more public crisis of homelessness.

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