LES Locals Fight For & Against Change

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Silly me, when I first heard of the effort to [reopen the LaGuardia Bathhouse], I thought by some miracle this was a radical attempt to restore some of the Lower East Side's kinky charm of yesteryear. But alas, those who get all veclemped at the sight of marble lobbies and roof-deck apartments probably won’t be comforted by the move to save a senior center. It remains to be seen whether yesterday’s rally of more than 200 neighborhood activists and local politicians will result in a restoration including a new pool, basketball court, fitness room, computer center and space for after-school programs—a project that would cost between [$20 million and $30 million](http://www.nypost.com/seven/10092007/news/regionalnews/battle_of_the_bath_heats_up.htm). Asked why so passionate about this project, locals say it’s for the kids. Scared of the new, family-centered LES? Think of it this way, at least the Bathhouse would get the tiny tots off the streets and out of your way.

But then there’s also the anti-gentrification movement, which must be made up of the post-menopausal set of LES locals. A community forum is scheduled for Thursday to discuss the [rapid upscaling of the Bowery], with residents urging rezoning that would limit building heights and density.

Photo courtesy of [moriza on Flickr]

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