Posted December 2, 2007 in Life • Tags:

A fifth-grader champions Rudy Giuliani:

There are few things more irritating than listening to some pale, behoodied ectomorph hold forth about how much better New York City was before Rudy Giuliani got hold of it.

And one of those more-irritating things is when a “serious” writer resorts to grade-school strawman rhetorical techniques in order to bash his enemies.

What the rat–I mean hipster–population always forgets is that what seems colorful and diary-worthy when it can be escaped at a moment’s notice is considerably less so when you’re stuck in it forever.

Yes, because a disdain for New York’s current cycle of hyper-gentrification automatically means a desire to return to the bad old days of 2,000 homicides a year and rats chewing on your heels. Because the character of New York must be one or the other extreme; there is no middle ground. You know… the one that people who care about the city actually show a preference for: a city that is both interesting and livable. Because the fact of the matter is that while New York is indeed much more livable now than it was in 1990, it (and here I mean specifically, Manhattan) is also undeniably much more boring. The Meatpacking District serves as a convenient example of the progress that New York has made in the last ten or fifteen years. A neighborhood that once contained fascinating nightlife and affordable housing (and I don’t mean the faux “affordable housing” required by city codes and which nobody who has a job can actually qualify for–I mean actual, market-rate affordable housing) now contains million-dollar condos and Crate & Barrel. The corner of West 14th and Ninth Avenue that used to bristle with trannie hookers is set to feature a super-mega-deluxe Apple Store. The hookers are long since gone; doubtless they can’t afford to live anywhere in Manhattan. Our grade-school writer would probably cheer the loss of a harmless group of hookers as a win for “decent” society. Never mind that hooking is a victimless “crime”–there’s property values to think of! And seven-figure Wall Street whizzes don’t want to live amongst such scum. The Meatpacking District is the new Tribeca: unaffordable to mere mortals and devoid of interesting street life. The same pattern has changed other once-affordable neighborhoods such as Hell’s Kitchen (sorry, “Clinton”), the East Village and even much of the Lower East Side. What we’re left with in Manhattan is a core of long-time, relatively low-income residents who managed to hang on to their rent-stabilized apartments (a regulation I don’t support, but that is another story) and a massive influx of wealthy new residents who can afford rents that have been jacked up into the stratosphere and who move to Manhattan to enjoy the all the city has to offer, and who unwittingly have made it such a dull place. The rest of us live in Brooklyn and Queens.

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