The Hip Hop Hoodios are a unique band who layer Latin and American Jewish cultures over rap. We've broadcast their videos "Ochos Kandelikas" and "Gorito Cosmico" and thoroughly enjoyed the band's cheesy, smart (and smartass) attitude. I really like their latest video "Times Square," but it simply won't fit into the definition of "world music" with a shoehorn. And you KNOW I'm a moderate when it comes to that category. But still, the subject is close to my heart, so I'm presenting it here anyway.
I went to high school in Manhattan, on 46th Street and 6th Avenue, and so I have watched the gentrification of Times Square with a combination of nostalgia and unease. I don't know if it makes sense to mourn the passing of an area that was admittedly dangerous and seedy. It's easy to say the place has "lost its edge" and is now totally "Disneyfied." Yet, for some reason, I do feel that there is something that has been lost...and what about the ongoing re/de-construction on the Bowery (lower 3rd Avenue) where a new generation of young professionals will soon be living in renovated flophouses? On the bright side, maybe they can exorcise the sad karma of a million ruined lives. But what has happened to those souls who used to inhabit both of these urban areas; the impoverished, the hopeless and the addicted. Where do they go now? Is our trend towards gentrification simply putting a bandaid over a larger social wound?