Posted in music on July 16, 2009

Squatters

Heroin-addict hobos from around the country are overrunning hipster haven Williamsburg - living in stalled luxury condo projects in the trendy Brooklyn neighborhood.

The newcomers, who call themselves "gutter punks," are stirring outrage among residents and shopkeepers who charge the bums brawl on the sidewalk, shoplift and shoot heroin in trendy cafe bathrooms.

"It's like St. Marks in the '70s," said Williamsburg activist Philip DePaolo, referring to the notorious East Village hangout. "It's the bad old days all over again. There's crack and heroin all over the neighborhood." [Daily News]

PREVIOUSLY
* Jay Mundy returns with another Williamsburg rant (listen)
* Williamsburg trust-funders affected by recession! (NY Times)

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Comments (108)

yeah, it's like st.marks in the '70's or...williamsburg in the '90's.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 9:54 AM

2009, the Summer of Scum

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 9:57 AM

Gutter punks vs Trustafari - it's so ON!

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 9:59 AM

Well now that gutter punks are calling themselves "hot" and "crusty," I'm sure they'll make some bangin' pastries.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 9:59 AM

SWEET NY IS FUN AGAIN!!!!! Now maybe all the hipster douchebags who come here and call themselves New Yorkers will fuck off.

Posted by Stinky Pete | July 16, 2009 10:00 AM

@9:59- 2 sides of the same coin.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 10:01 AM

whoa- williamsburg has ALREADY come full circle?
somebody, quick- yell "MEH!" from your high-rise!

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 10:03 AM

if i lose my job because of the economy, i'm going "gutter punk"... see you at Death By Audio.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 10:04 AM

The primrose path to destruction never ceases to attract.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 10:08 AM

i want to see a gang brawl - hipsters vs the gutter punks.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 10:11 AM

i love seeing bums smoke cigarettes. no better use of $9 than a pack of smokes.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 10:12 AM

All you guys talking about how gutter punks sound like JAMC just show your own ignorance. Real music fans would take them on their own merit, but hey, BV commenter douchery is like death and taxes.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 10:13 AM

I'd noticed an increase. They're a migratory creature. They'll go back to Florida and NOLA in the fall. We'll have to bait their summer nesting grounds with bear traps and swine flu contaminated needles while they're gone this winter.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 10:14 AM

We're living the life in memory of Dash Snow... when you make 150 bucks a day begging, you can afford a pack of smokes!!! sucks to be all you office monkeys LOL

Posted by Gutter Punks FTW | July 16, 2009 10:16 AM

I don't mind the gutter punk's lifestyle, but lose the cliche hobo dog.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 10:17 AM

Can any former or current (ABC No Rio computer lab say ho!) gutter punk say what the ideology of the gp's generally are? Do they read Marx and Engels or do they just fantasize about the rest of the world being as farty as them?

Posted by nagasaki nightmare | July 16, 2009 10:17 AM

How can you ever say you're out of luck with a pair of heart shaped sunglasses?

Posted by Big Perm | July 16, 2009 10:17 AM

now if they could only bring back the 70's punk music.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 10:19 AM

Well Bedford's burned down look at it smolder
I wanna live for today don't wanna get any older
You can't show us nothing we don't wanna be shown
Don't wanna eat brunch at Harefield Road

Everywhere we go they shout:
"You got a chip on your shoulder"
"A chip on your shoulder"

I'm gonna shout gonna scream don't wanna job too soon
I wanna play kickball on a Saturday afternoon
Runnin' riot might as well
Begging for change and smokes outside the L.

We don't need none of your aggravation
The kids need more than masturbation
You can't show us nothing we don't wanna be shown
Don't wanna eat brunch at Harefield Road

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 10:32 AM

This ain't news. It's summer in NYC, so the summer squatters are here (or summer campers if you like). They ALWAYS come during the summer. It's gotten so that if they weren't here I'd think something was weird...

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 10:40 AM

No, they're definitely crustier this year.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 10:45 AM

Nothing is more invigorating than waking up in a pile of your own vomit with a needle in your arm! Hurray, happy days are here again!

Posted by Duke Puke | July 16, 2009 10:48 AM

they got nothing on the Manhattan "homeless"... nothing like seeing a clean-shaven man beg for change.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 10:52 AM

now if they could only bring back the 70's punk music.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 10:52 AM

Saw a girl with a sign the other day: "Too ugly to prostitute." Made me laugh.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 10:55 AM

the guy in the picture looks like he was cast to play a bum in a sitcom.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 11:01 AM

"Saw a girl with a sign the other day: "Too ugly to prostitute." Made me laugh"

It's impossible to be "too ugly to prostitute".

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 11:02 AM

these comments are weak today

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 11:05 AM

that guy is too good looking to be a gutter punk.

I call bullshit on this.

Posted by haha | July 16, 2009 11:05 AM

>>Can any former or current (ABC No Rio computer lab say ho!) gutter punk say what the ideology of the gp's generally are? Do they read Marx and Engels or do they just fantasize about the rest of the world being as farty as them?

The East Village and the Lower East Side were incredibly active in the 80s in terms of punk and squatter culture. I think if the economy continues to tank, it will do good things for the counter-culture that contextualizes music. San Fran continues to push politics and music together in interesting ways. The fashion scene has really fucked NY music . . . we need to lose the pretense and get back to the streets.

And yes, there was a real theoretical/political/historical sensibility to the Tompkins square riots . . . check it out.


Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 11:08 AM

11:08 - you need you're ass kicked.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 11:13 AM

Back off Warchild.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 11:16 AM

Seconding 11:13s motion to place kicks on asses of 11:08.


Fetishizing homeless glamor = young stupidity for romanticized, non-existent lifestyle. Anyone who disagrees is a dumb motherfucker if they think NYC of the late 70s was some great utopia of arts. Most of those punks would kick your whiny hipster bullshit pussy asses.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 11:35 AM

You can't tell the difference between those scum bags in the picture and your average Bedford hipster.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 11:35 AM

11:13,

Enjoy your cubicle. You deserve the water-front apartment you are living in overlooking Newtown Creek. You've really done an amazing job of shaking off your Danbury-roots too. Oh, and the Hold Steady will rock your world again this summer, so you don't need to be embarrassed about being in a Frat during your college days.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 11:37 AM

like i said, 2 sides of the same coin.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 11:38 AM

You told him, 11:37!

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 11:39 AM

"squatter culture". HA!

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 11:42 AM

The best thing about squatter culture is all the free dancing.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 11:45 AM

There's definitely been a lot more of them this summer than in summers past. Don't worry though...most of them will go back to mommy & daddy's mansion in New Canaan come the first hint of cold weather.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 11:47 AM

"I'll give you squatters' rights"

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 11:49 AM

This is stupid. These people are living blight. Nothing says excess of riches in a society like kids choosing to live like this because they can. What a weak article too. How about delving into the subject a little rather than just passing judgment?... that's our job, thank you very much..

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 11:49 AM

Now that the media is reporting on it, how long before it becomes "trendy" to be a gutter punk and we start seeing suburban high school kids coming to hang out in Williamsburg for the day to act all "gutter punky" before mom comes to pick them up in the family Volvo around sundown?

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 11:58 AM

yes, because surburban high school kids read the daily news to find out what's cool.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 12:02 PM

gutter hipster?

Posted by :: smo :: | July 16, 2009 12:03 PM

"Now that the media is reporting on it, how long before it becomes "trendy" to be a gutter punk and we start seeing suburban high school kids coming to hang out in Williamsburg for the day to act all "gutter punky" before mom comes to pick them up in the family Volvo around sundown?"

That basically happens every Saturday at ABC No Rio.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 12:03 PM

These kids are fucking turds. if they're such unique freethinkers, why do they all wear the same uniform?

Also, punk is officially over and has been for years. This is the era of Passion Pit.

Posted by Sacred Absolute Hipster Cow | July 16, 2009 12:09 PM

The East Village and the Lower East Side were incredibly active in the 80s in terms of punk and squatter culture. I think if the economy continues to tank, it will do good things for the counter-culture that contextualizes music. San Fran continues to push politics and music together in interesting ways. The fashion scene has really fucked NY music . . . we need to lose the pretense and get back to the streets.

And yes, there was a real theoretical/political/historical sensibility to the Tompkins square riots . . . check it out.


Thanks for the answer! Bill Weinberg's show on WBAI talks a lot about Tompkins Sq (i think he has a book on it) and Seth Tobocman and many others have chronicled the history of the area and the squatters/gutter punk movement(s). It's a history always on the verge of being lost because uptight assholes with a twinge of melancholy and barely suppressed rage get really annoyed by anyone rejecting the normal life they themselves plow ahead with, day after finite day.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 12:12 PM

The actual article has some gems, i.e.:
"I've got to sleep somewhere, and I might as well do it in Williamsburg"

My sentiments exactly. Wait, what?

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 12:15 PM

11:01 - lol

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 12:18 PM

For all the old-timers lamenting the passing of the good old smacked-out NYC daze of the 1970s, don't worry, they're coming back big time. Forgive me as I chortle at the Billyburg trustafari having to deal with some actually dangerous roving scumbags. Can't play pretend forever!

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 12:36 PM

Tits cock pussy

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 12:37 PM

Have a heart people. Yes, these kids may come from whatever backgrounds, but they are fucked up enough to live on the streets and use drugs. I don't think people should be giving them money and enabling thier habits, but they arent "living blight".

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 12:41 PM

Have you ever met any of these kids? Most of them, somewhere down the road, chose to live like this because they thought it was cool or intriguing (just talk to them and listen to them brag about all the trains they've hopped and places they've tagged). They aren't real homeless people, they've chosen this path and can get out any time they want. Sure, there are a very few that have no outs, but they are the minority. There's nothing unique about their lifestyle and they aren't bucking the system. They are in the system and leeching off of it. That's fair enough, but what comes with that is the contempt of some of those you leech off of.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 12:52 PM

fuck. these. kids.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 12:55 PM

12:52 = most accurate comment yet.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 1:04 PM

I was in Olympia when a gutter punk once handed me a bottle of hot sauce and said, "Tabasco will get you fucked up. You should drink this."

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 1:30 PM

pseudo homeless people? only in new york. i am sad now.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 1:36 PM

Hi, Central Casting?
We need a couple of "squatter punks."
Thanks.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 1:45 PM

$15 an hour, $150 a day!?! If they were "working" 22 days a month (taking weekends off), they'd be making $3300 a month or $39600 a year ... TAX FREE! That's way more than I make. That's a great fuckin job!

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 2:21 PM

also in agreement with 12:52

and i thought this was quite funny:

"They're a migratory creature. They'll go back to Florida and NOLA in the fall. We'll have to bait their summer nesting grounds with bear traps and swine flu contaminated needles while they're gone this winter."

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 2:25 PM

"Well now that gutter punks are calling themselves "hot" and "crusty," I'm sure they'll make some bangin' pastries."

HHAHAHAHAHHAHHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHAHHAHAHAH

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 2:31 PM

Indeed 12:52.... so true. Lots of them are from the city and part of rich families... they just leave their apartments and wander around trying to get a reputation of being homeless...

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 2:34 PM

Here's hoping for an overly pure batch of heroin to hit the streets *crosses fingers*.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 2:42 PM

I just hope mom is okay... I gave her those heart-shaped sunglasses for Mother's Day. At least she's still smoking... that'll get her through the pregnancy okay.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 2:55 PM

motherfuckers, most of these kids/young adults have been victims of child abuse or molestation or other severe family tragedies. it's true a lot of them come from middle class or upper middle class backgrounds but they hit the streets to escape their abusers/demons. some of them are activists, many just wanna be anaesthetized to escape their pain. anyway, the majority needed help and couldn't find a community let alone a person anywhere to help them. better this than carrying guns and shooting people. the only thing that needs to be retired is the outfits.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 3:03 PM

awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 3:09 PM

hahah - @ 3:03 - You're too funny!

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 3:14 PM

Is this strictly an urban phenomenon? Like, if a bunch of people lost their jobs in rural Wisconsin would they become Butter Punks?

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 3:22 PM

Daft Punk >>>>> gutter punk

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 3:23 PM

"Is this strictly an urban phenomenon? Like, if a bunch of people lost their jobs in rural Wisconsin would they become Butter Punks?"

Wisconsin has gutter punks too, they just smell like butter (and cheese and beer).

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 3:26 PM

@3:22 - Yes, Butter Punks. But most would develop diabetes and other weight-related illnesses due to such a rich diet, so Butter don't mean Better.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 3:27 PM

303 - There is almost always a better option to overcome personal tragedy and abuse than just "hit the streets".

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 4:03 PM

sisterfuckers, most of these adolescents have been victims of severe stuff. it's true a lot of them have honda civics, but they hit the streets to escape their bills. some of them are hippies, many just wanna be high. anyway, the majority needed help and couldn't find a shrink let alone a trick anywhere to help them. better this than carrying puppies and shooting speed. the only thing that needs to be retired is the comments.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 4:09 PM

4:09 - youhaveanobrain.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 4:20 PM

listen, 4:20, i invoked eyehategod, primal scream, and the adolescents in one damned post. you invoke joe dolce? please.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 4:27 PM

as Jon Bon Jovi says, "the streets are tougher than you are"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22yHMCjNtk8

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 4:31 PM

"This is the era of Passion Pit" by Anon12:09pm

The most ridiculous statement of the day by far!

Posted by blackhat | July 16, 2009 4:32 PM

parasites. nothing but parasites.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 4:36 PM

nobody understands these kids...nobody but Bret.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=71gEULkXzec

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 4:41 PM

3:03, can you make up excuses for all my laziness and all the bullshit make other people put up with? I love your world where there is no personal responsibility.

Also, it's amazing that every kid that was abused ends up in the streets. I mean, wow! Every single kid that was abused ends up shooting drugs in the streets, begging change, stinking up subways cars while carrying 3 stuffed backpacks during rush hour whilst trying to control their unmuzzled mangy dog in an enclosed train, and then going to steal spray paint cans from hardware stores so they can tag bathrooms. I mean, wow! They have no choice, right? It's just simple cause and effect.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 4:54 PM

Williamsburg - sure - I was in the Union Square park last Friday afternoon - Crazy, it's like Tompkins Square in the 90's, mixed with tourists and the like of course, but it was nuts - screaming Bag in a Bag

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 5:34 PM

4:54, Do you hang with Rudy and Dick?

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 5:58 PM

these guys are kinda like keanu reeves in My Own Private Idaho

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 5:58 PM

"There is almost always a better option to overcome personal tragedy and abuse than just 'hit the streets'." What a conservative bunch of people on here. Hey, ever hear of Jack Kerouac? On The Road? Neal Cassady? Maybe some of these people have a more romantic vision of life than you do. You can learn things via a nomadic way of life. Not everybody is cut out for the 9-5 grind from the cradle to the grave. What a boring outlook.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 6:23 PM

12:12 speaks of "uptight assholes with a twinge of melancholy and barely suppressed rage get really annoyed by anyone rejecting the normal life they themselves plow ahead with, day after finite day." That's true. Joe Sixpack can't stand seeing anyone not slaving away in futility like he is. It makes him ANGRY. It's the same old story played out time and time again.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 6:31 PM

"I love your world where there is no personal responsibility." You sound jealous.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 6:33 PM

623 - I think you misinterpreted my comment. I meant that embracing a hopeless existence on the streets is not a great idea to overcome lifes problems.

Nothing conservative about that.....?

Go spend a night in a shelter and tell me how romantic the experience was.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 8:00 PM

"Joe Sixpack can't stand seeing anyone not slaving away in futility like he is. It makes him ANGRY. It's the same old story played out time and time again."

Yeah, you guys are real ubermenches out there showing your rich parents who's boss before you eventually give in, and get your picket fence and two and a half kids.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 8:04 PM

There's so many opposites,
So many opposites
So many, there's so many, there's so many [x2]

[Sung]
Let's have a war
So you can go and die!
Let's have a war!
We could all use the money!
Let's have a war!
We need the space!
Let's have a war!
Clean out this place!

It already started in the city!
Suburbia will be just as easy!

[Chorus]

Let's have a war!
Jack up the Dow Jones!
Let's have a war!
It can start in New Jersey!
Let's have a war!
Blame it on the middle-class!
Let's have a war!
We're like rats in a cage!

It already started in the city!
Suburbia will be just as easy!

[Chorus]

Let's have a war!
Sell the rights to the networks!
Let's have a war!
Let our wallets get fat like last time!
Let's have a war!
Give guns to the queers!
Let's have a war!
The enemy's within!

It already started in the city!
Suburbia will be just as easy!

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 8:26 PM

gutter punk trash. it's total b.s. they make $150 a day. most of these pussies come from decent backrounds. maybe some here and there come from shit. would NEVER give them a penny.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 8:26 PM

Wait until the gutterpunx discover which of the anemic, frightened hipsters have the biggest trust funds and start shaking them down for dough.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 8:47 PM

Gutterpunx declare WAR on the Billyburg trustafari.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 8:48 PM

"Yeah, you guys are real ubermenches out there showing your rich parents who's boss before you eventually give in, and get your picket fence and two and a half kids."

The Trustafari, sure. But I think you're overreaching to suggest all the gutterpunx' parents are "rich." How many rich people do you think there are out there?

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 8:52 PM

LOL at the gutter punks....whiney liberal fucks who are probably busier worrying about judge SotaMEHyer being accused of her inability to do her job (because she isn't, as she's proven a countless number of times) than doing something worthwhile, like community service, religion, or taking a fucking stand to help a wholesome political party (i.e. CONSERVATIVES) get back on track to turn our socialist nightmare around.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 8:54 PM

^----- yeah, it's exactly like we're living in 1984 Soviet Union lately. Damn liberals!

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2009 8:56 PM

"the guy in the picture looks like he was cast to play a bum in a sitcom."

thank you

Posted by good looking bum with chops | July 16, 2009 9:15 PM

no one's said the obvious

(guy in the picture looks sting)

Posted by Anonymous | July 17, 2009 12:15 AM

^^You think he looks like Sting? Gov. Paterson, please get back to work!

Posted by Anonymous | July 17, 2009 1:35 AM

"Maybe some of these people have a more romantic vision of life than you do."

This is too funny. Right, dude, fighting for needles and smelling like shit, skin all burnt, is soooo romantic....coo-coo.

Posted by Anonymous | July 17, 2009 10:11 AM

Seth Tobocman is kind of a douche. He thinks he's one of the philosopher-kings from The Republic, but he's a pseudo-intellectual at best. I bought one of his books when I was a little kid. It was atrociously bad.

Posted by Sacred Absolute Hipster Cow | July 17, 2009 10:58 AM

Sting from Dune...a little.

Posted by Patmos | July 17, 2009 1:29 PM

"LOL at the gutter punks....whiney liberal fucks who are probably busier worrying about judge SotaMEHyer being accused of her inability to do her job (because she isn't, as she's proven a countless number of times) than doing something worthwhile, like community service, religion, or taking a fucking stand to help a wholesome political party (i.e. CONSERVATIVES) get back on track to turn our socialist nightmare around."

GO AWAY JAY MUNDY!!!

Posted by Anonymous | July 17, 2009 4:36 PM

Daily News is a disgusting rag that I use to clean up after my dog.Their audience are the stuffed shirts who think they own the streets because they move here to open lame businesess and build ugly condos.

Now I quote Lou Reed:"Holly came from Miami F.L.A.".

Posted by Anonymous | July 17, 2009 5:03 PM

these monsters are still better than the Hasids

Posted by Anonymous | July 18, 2009 7:54 AM

hahahaha jay mundy.

Posted by Anonymous | July 19, 2009 7:29 PM

id rather be self employed, pay hardly any taxes, and be as autonomous as possible..like we garden for some of our food, we only eat organic fair trade stuff, we use a military grade water filter to get out the fluoride the govt puts in our water, we stock pile food and water for when they suspend the constitution and declare martial law, we drive mopeds, we have the tools to make fliers and literature in the privacy of our own home so we dont go on the govt watch list...etc etc. these things cost money, more than you can make spanging. i work as a barber and will own my own home and itll be solar powered. being truly self sufficient is what anarchism is all about. off the grid. what do gutterpunks plan to do when they get old and cant get by anymore but still arent old enough to die. starve to death? doesnt sound like much fun

Posted by winston smith | August 20, 2009 12:43 PM

Ok first off punk is not all dead.the type of punk from the 70s and 80s is dead.the type from the late 90s to now is just the beginning.there are different types of squatters.theirs the gutter punks and the bohemian traveling homeless artists and what id like to call the new wave,which has been around but if you notice the aggressive punk scene has toned down.The folk punk squatters
.(they all mix up with each other to) I see a lot more of them with there banjos,dogs,and art etc. the punk movement is = big right now id say and going to be bigger because of Americas situation.its also pretty underground.(but that's opening up the bigger it gets) the folk punk squatters are friendly and you have a mix of the classic druggie/alcoholic to no lie,vegan straight edge squatters that are truly homeless as well.its still hardcore and a hard free life but not the same way as before.i am from Woodstock NY and new paltz NY and there are always no gutter punks coming and going threw out the year by train and hitchhiking etc. The ones i see mostly are legit some fakes..

Posted by ajax | November 3, 2010 3:14 AM

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