On Friday night, a “Slacktivist” protest took place in front of that famously polarizing symbol of gentrification, Christodora House located
on East 9th Street and Avenue B.The two cops assigned to keep the peace
never even broke out the silver metal barricades stacked up on the cor
ner; they just sat there being drizzled on. Infamous “Slacktivist” leader John Penley, a
stocky man in a black fleece, set his “Adopt Homeless Vets Now” sign
down for a moment and looked out at his handful of aging protesters.
Despite a much-publicized announcement last October that he was leaving
NYC and its yuppies for good, Penley is currently couch surfing in the
“I tried to get the cops to put up the
barricades,” he told me, “it would have looked more like a protest.”
Two Mohawk-sporting punks slowed down for a moment, perhaps confused by
the use of the term “happy hour” and a PBR can in the ads for the
“Thanks for coming out guys,” Penley called out to
them, as they made some noises of embarrassment and picked up their
pace. I asked one of the militants, a weatherbeaten looking man in
baggy pants and a floppy hat, if the Christadora, with its softly lit
brick facade and aging bohemian tenants, wasn’t actually a harmless
relic now.Why weren’t they hurling bricks through the windows of The Avalon on
East 13th Street? “I don’t know what that is,” the man said glumly.
Sadly, he had come in from out-of-state to rage.
thirty-something woman walked out of the lit art-deco entrance and
said, “Excuse me, can you move your stuff?” to one of the radicals. She
lit a cigarette; they sheepishly moved their backpacks and any dream of
a new tent city died. But five protesters climbed the entrance steps
and began their chant. Earnest calls of “Die Yuppie Scum!” quickly
dissolved into laughter and shouts of “Dim-Sum, Dim-Sum.” That’s when
I took off, thinking that it didn’t sound like such a bad idea.