amalthya: (fuck off)
[personal profile] amalthya
I spent the majority of Saturday with Yenni in Soho and the Bowery looking for (and buying) a light fixture for my living room that didn't look like it came from a hospital ER.

And I came to realize that a) I barely spend any time downtown these days and b) downtown is not how I remember it.

Madonna made some comments earlier this week that New York had lost its buzz and while I find her personally offensive, what she said sort of rings true.

As I sat in my super trendy cafe on Spring and Lafayette, waiting for Yenni, I noticed that the cafe had STEVIA in the sugar jar. [Pretentious check-mark number one].

But as I people-watched out the window, I noticed too that no one I saw actually looked like a New Yorker. They all seemed to be obvious tourists, maps and shopping bags in hand, or people who are clearly NOT from New York but have moved to New York and are dressing/behaving how they see New Yorkers behave on TV.

And yes, this means 800 iterations of Carrie Bradshaw et al but I feel like more importantly, the spirit of what made New York, "New York" was lost. When I was in middle school/high school, what set downtown apart was that it was different, and funky. Extremes were the norm, and there was no Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen boutique in the Meat Packing district.

It bothered me, I suppose, that none of the people I saw out the window seemed real. With their matchy-matchy outfits, and designer strollers, and enormous-insect-sunglasses, they didn't look like people who had jobs, or families, or real lives. They just looked like characters they expected to be played by on Television.

I guess all New Yorkers have had this complaint, but it does feel like what characterizes New York nowadays is not its uniqueness, but it's expense. Numerous people have pointed out that no one could live the Carrie Bradshaw lifestyle now even if they wanted to.

I think it was funnily characterized by Yenni too who said "Not even Chinese people want to go to Chinatown now."

Anyway, I still enjoy my sojourn to Montien on Thursday nights, and at least some parts of the East Village still feel like real New York. But overall, I'm coming to appreciate "upper manhattan" more and more. It may be a little rough around the edges, but no one can deny that it's real.
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amalthya

November 2009

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