Regarding the link below:
The sad reality, the one the writer didn’t talk about, is that he most likely left, and all those he interviewed are thinking of leaving, primarily because of the bad NYC schools.
He makes it seem like it’s all about the lack of culture in NYC or lack of cheap restaurants, but he could have moved to Bushwick or Bed-Sty or Brownville. But there’s no way a middle aged man or woman with kids, or a couple with kids, who can’t afford private school, is going to move to a cheap, hip, culture-rich NYC neighborhood. These people whine about a lack of culture, then move to a white, homogeneous, non-diverse place to get their kids into good public schools.
They want culture, but not African or Hispanic or Asian culture. What the writer fails to get is as NYC was a home for his immigrant parents or grandparents NYC is still home to immigrants. They’re just not white anymore. NYC has always been a tale of two cities: rich and poor (poor immigrants). The only thing that’s changed is that now the immigrants aren’t Europeans. (Generally speaking of course.)
NYC still has tons of culture, it’s still one of the most diverse and culturally rich places on earth. You can only say that it has lost its culture if you strictly define culture as punk, disco, and rap.
The reality, the factual history rather than the nostalgia, is that New York City in the 1970s was a shit storm. NYC nearly went bankrupt, and almost all public institutions and services were failing. The power went out. Garbage piled up on the streets. (Fun fact: when David Johansen in New York Dolls sang “Trash! Pick it up!!” it was actually a call to action not urbane commentary on dating.) Gangs and the mob controlled entire neighborhoods. Crime and drugs were everywhere. Prostitution too. And half the prostitutes were between the ages of 15 and 21 (according to arrest records). The police force was mostly corrupt and City Hall was about half corrupt. You literally were not allowed into an NYC park unless you were a drug addict or homeless, preferably both, and even then you had enough brains to never bring your child into one. City College was free because of basic economics: no one really went or wanted to go there, high school dropout rates were sky-high then.
And there was hardly a cultural explosion. Pop or avante guard culture, ok sure, but the orchestras, operas, ballets, galleries, theaters and museums were hit hard by NYC’s near collapse. The restaurant scene was stellar only if you liked Italian food and burgers. The fashion industry was unoriginal and ran scores of illegal sweatshops. Bars and restaurants were filled with cigarette smoke!
Yes the middle class is having a hard time making ends meet in NYC these days. As if that’s any different anywhere else in America???
How can you talk about NYC in the 1980s and first half of the 1990s and not mention the crack and AIDS epidemics? I was there for part of that time and while I had a great time then and would do it all over again twice, watching young people die is not something you forget. It’s certainly not something you omit from a discussion of NYC during that time. Just as you don’t omit the middle class, white-flight that occurred in NYC in the 1970s when writing about the middle class, white-flight occurring there now.
How did the New York Daily News manage to overlook so much NYC history? The article is a white-wash (pun intended) and fails to note any NYC progress since 1970.