Storm Damaged Their Art, and Now It May Take Their Studios

(The New York Times) Christina Maile has lived at Westbeth, a massive artists’ complex in the West Village, for more than 40 years. For about half that time, she worked out of the building’s sculpture studio, a yawning space with whitewashed brick walls and a soaring ceiling that sits just off a large interior courtyard. There, Ms. Maile and a dozen other sculptors used table saws to slice wood and pipe benders to manipulate metal, creating large-scale pieces for galleries and museums.

But the tools have been cleared away, and the only indications that this once was a working studio are a half-peeled sticker on the window and an iron winch hanging dejectedly from the ceiling.

And some personal thoughts on the story....


This is my first piece for the Metro section of the newspaper. There was so much in the story that I couldn't include. Westbeth is the poster child for gentrification in the city and its story is really one of disappearing New York. 

One person I interviewed who grew up there told me of life during the AIDS epidemic. When she was a child, she saw a man who had hung himself after receiving a diagnosis of HIV, and her friend called for help, managing to save his life. He still lives down the hall from her all these years later.