Whassup with Dixon Place?

The real-estate buzz never stops in this town. Chatter among developers, artists, landlords, and tenants is so loud that no one can hear you scream. The “frontiers” of Brooklyn and Queens are really not-so-very-new, and many wonder whether NY Times coverage signals attention that will bring audiences further out on the G Line, or just more condo-mongers to push the boundaries of “East” Williamsburg, Carroll Gardens “West,” and “just minutes” from Grand Central.

Many are grabbing for bigger, better, and more high-tech, and nearly everyone longs for that permanent home (for a theater, a school, a bed) that will take the terror out of that recurring dream about Bruce Ratner, er, Robert Moses, er, you get the picture.

Strangely nestled in this scaffolded mise-en-scene is Dixon Place. The grassroots organization, which for the past 20 years has been run mostly out of founding director Ellie Covan’s living room, has been working over the past several years to build a “new facility on Christie Street will house a fully flexible professional performance space, administrative offices, box office, community space, lounge with a smaller second stage, and a subsidized rehearsal space.” Sounds nice, right? And if inside sources, construction deadlines, and capital funding can be trusted, (insert sarcastic comment here), the new space will be finished in time to kick off DP’s Fall 2007 Season.

And the living room? The place where it all began? Where scores of curious artists and audiences gathered over the past 2 decades to experiment? That motley arrangement of couches and chairs that witnessed moments of brilliance and failure, supporting each alike with intimate attention? Well, it’s for rent, but not in the way you might think. For $1200/month, $400/week, or $100/night – a surprisingly affordable rate, considering it’s NoHo or NoLita or whatever they’re calling the Bowery these days – you, your friends, your family, (apparently anyone) can stay at Dixon Place.

Maybe you embrace the shiny New York growing sparklier around us every day, or maybe you hide under your Salvation Army blankets blasting The Velvet Underground to drown the sounds of construction. Or maybe you, like Dixon Place, are trying to make your peace with both.

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