Alarming News

November 23, 2009

You don’t like a clean, prosperous NY? There’s the door.

I don’t think I hate anyone more than the people who glamorize a dangerous and dying New York. This is from an article in the London Telegraph about how NY has lost its edge:

There is always a tinge of sentimental pride in my friend Roger’s voice when he recalls the story of how he was humiliatingly mugged as a teenager in his home town of New York. Roger, a paradigm of that species of neurosis-laden, neophytic, obnoxious intellectual that used to inhabit the city in droves, was at the time 13 and hanging out with two equally nerdy friends, the way teenagers do, outside a petrol station for no reason in the middle of the night.

Somehow they were leapt on by a gang who robbed them not only of their money but all their clothes. For good measure the gang spray-painted their tag across the naked chests of the three boys, who were forced to walk home naked, petrified and yet altered: “That day” Roger likes to reminisce, not altogether ironically, “we became men.”

Those things don’t happen in New York any more. But some people wish they did.

YA.  People are just dying to get mugged.  Or, even better, to have their 13-yr old kid get mugged.  I hear it all the time.  If only little Roger would get mugged, have to walk home naked and have his body spray-painted, that would make that fey boy into a man.

But, actually, tied for my hatred with the aforementioned people who glamorize a decrepit NY are people who pretend to hate money.  So, bankers are apparently like, so “out” maaaaan.  Fine.  But to say money isn’t “cool”?  Dude.  That’s a special kind of stupid:

As an exercise in damage limitation, some nightclubs in the city have now refused to renew annual membership to those working in the financial sector. “We want to distance ourselves from bankers, even if they helped to set us up in the first place,” one told me. “They’re pariahs. Money is just not cool any more.”

As I’ve written before, send me that uncool cash.  I’m willing to live with the trauma of being unpopularly rich.

Finally, sure, it’s always sad when institutions like CBGB close down.  But anyone who has lived in NY for a hot minute may remember that the Bowery was just about the most disgusting place in the city.  Hookers, crackheads, violent homeless all congregated on the Bowery.  So really, we’re supposed to be upset that now it’s the location of designer shops?  No.  Not if you’re actually a New Yorker and not someone who came here after college looking for a way to piss off their parents.
Gawker rips London a new one over this piece (”Your tabloid newspapers make the New York Post look like The Paris Review” and “Your nightlife is just stupid. Pubs close at 11, our bars don’t close until four. Who goes to bed at 11? Are you serious? So you guys open up clubs that close at 2AM that have two kinds of people in them: the kind who get unceremoniously drunk and piss on everything, or the places Prince Harry goes.”) which is kind of unfair because this woman doesn’t speak for London.  London is a fine enough city, but ain’t anything in the world like New York.

Posted by Karol at 05:38 PM |

Actually, London is quite a bit like New York was in the bad old days – graffiti is everywhere, people watch kids get beat up on the bus and on the street but they “don’t want to get involved.”

They also have the worse laws against self defense and the “blame the victim” mentality. London used to be a fine city…

Posted by: Mary at November 23, 2009 at 5:55 pm

Heh. New York’s fading edginess is probably a lot easier to appreciate if you’re living an ocean away.

Posted by: Eric at November 23, 2009 at 8:40 pm

Mary, go back as far as you like (I mean centuries) to the Roman foundation of London. It’s always been notorious for crime. Oh and smaog at one time (which killed ten thousand in one week in 1952).

Posted by: bryan at November 23, 2009 at 10:08 pm

Yeah, other than standing in line for a football (soccer) match, a Coldplay concert, or a government entitlement check, Londoners refuse to get involved.

But keep in mind, we Americans need to be “more” like them !
(Ha, ha, ha.)

It is what happens when generations of Brits have been conditioned to depend upon the government for everything…it creates citizens who not only do not get involved in helping themselves, but they also do not get involved in helping out other people.
After all, getting involved to help other people is what government bureaucrats are for !

Had Charles Dickens grown up in the American Midwest rather than London, he probably never would have been inspired to write about Oliver Twist.
Instead, he probably would have written a novel about the self-determination and Judeo-Christian charity which is so prevalent among the mid-19th century American Midwest.

Posted by: IAmTheWalrus at November 24, 2009 at 6:40 am

“…London. It’s always been notorious for crime.”

During New York’s darkest days (the ’80’s) I spent a fair amount of time in both London and New York, and in those days London was a much better place to be. There wasn’t graffiti all over the place, you could wander through Hyde Park in the middle of the night after an evening of pub crawling, without too many worries. When my friends came to visit New York, they were shocked. They thought it looked like a war zone.

Posted by: Mary at November 24, 2009 at 12:08 pm

Mary, my response to that is simply that London is a big, no huge, place. I’m not trying to compete with you but London and crime have always gone together.

Posted by: bryan at November 24, 2009 at 12:57 pm

Well, I’m just trying to point out that things have changed in London, and not for the better…

Posted by: Mary at November 24, 2009 at 1:14 pm
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