Monday, June 1, 2009

The Windemere

Lascelle Wright surveys what's left of the apartment he called home for nearly 30 years. What's left isn't much - some moldy clothes, waterlogged books, an old Rolling Stones Hot Rocks record that might have once conjured Keith and Mick from the room's dead air, but not now. Anything of value was looted after Lascelle was forced to leave the building with the rest of the remaining tenants in 2007 due to the structural degradation allowed by the previous owners. The building, known since 1871 as The Windemere, played an important role in the development of New York City, rose, fell, and rose again with the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood around it, and at one time was at the epicenter of the New Woman Movement. Now, despite being designated as a Landmark Building by the city, its sits gutted and desecrated by the forces of greed, its beating hearts long since exiled. There were only seven left at the end: one still and silent, one claimed by the ravages of Alzheimer's, three spread by the winds that whip through these streets, Lascelle and one other returned. A new owner means a new chapter for the Windemere, and the close of 30 years of neglect and abuse for Lascelle and the other tenants.