Bassoon Maker Is Leaving Lower East Side for Cheaper Rent in Maine

(The New York Times) There are not many places to sit amid the jumble of metal tools, piles of maple and boxwood boards, and bassoons crowding — and even hanging from the ceiling of — Leslie Ross’s studio on the Lower East Side.

This is only about half full,” Ms. Ross, 54, said recently while surveying the room, on the top floor of a small commercial building on Essex Street, where she has spent years building bassoons and inventing unusual instruments of her own.

Now, after nearly three decades in New York City, she is swapping her crammed studio for a sprawling former canning factory in the tiny coastal town of Penobscot, Me., population 1,263.

And some personal thoughts on the story...

I received an email from Christina Maile, an artist who lives at Westbeth who I had met while working on a story on the artist housing complex. She had been contacted by Zeke Finkelstein, a writer and professor at City College (who also works at Left Bank Books, an old-school West Village hold-out that has managed to stay put despite the neighborhood's soaring commercial rents). Zeke's girlfriend was leaving town after decades in New York, and moving to rural Maine. And he was desperate:

"Someone should 'cover' this," Zeke wrote in a pleading email. "Not so much Leslie's move itself, which should rather perhaps be noted in Jeremiah's Vanishing New York, or some other melancholy column of New York losses, but rather her decades of great, honest, beautiful maker's work and art in this studio and workshop where Leslie made not only her baroque bassoons, dulcians, bocals and related parts and instruments but also, of course, her outrageous, brilliant musical, mechanical, electrical inventions, pieces and contraptions, and where she designed her many sound installations."

I agreed. And voila! The day the story was published happened to be Leslie's last as an official New Yorker.