Wednesday August 9th, 2017 13:03 Stop the presses: changing thing changes

It’s an unholy rite of passage for a New Yorker. Once you’ve been around for 20 years, you’re obligated to blather on about how the city is changing for the worse.

Gentrification. My favorite store closed. Younger people have different expectations from restaurants or retail outlets. The rent is too damn high.



Myself, I’m only around the 10-year mark here in the city*. I too have noticed that things have changed. But what I’ve noticed most is that things always change. Constantly. It’s a feature, not a bug.

So, when I read something like this [from the venerable LongReads, no less], I can’t help but think the author an imbecile for not realizing they’re penning the exact same swan-song bullshit that every single era before them has written. If they take the time to look around (or possibly stop shoegazing for a minute and listen to the constant stream of complaining all around – which is our right as New Yorkers), they’ll find their story not as original as it may feel.

Because here’s a fun fact: the neighborhood you’re whinging about, the very buildings and stores and restaurants you strive to keep around – were all, at one time, instruments of gentrification themselves.

New York City was founded in 1624. That ‘indispensable’ neighborhood locale that’s been around for 50, 75 or even 100 years only ended up there after 300 years of change. There’s an excellent chance it used to be the location of someone’s home or another much-beloved neighborhood staple that the New Yorkers of the time were thoroughly pissed off to see replaced.

Now, gentrification is a very real thing and certainly no laughing matter. A lot of these chain businesses are vastly inferior and are unfairly supplanting their predecessors, to the detriment of all. That said, gentrification is a complex situation and not every Starbucks (pronounced ‘The Devil’s Failing Kidney Piss Dispensary’) that replaces a bodega is a pure travesty that sucks the ephemeral ‘soul’ out of the neighborhood.

Change is the soul of New York. Your favorite deli, no matter its fascinating backstory, is not.

*If I try to pull this crap next decade, feel free to force-feed me a printout of this little ditty.

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IT guy, dev, designer, writer.

Got a degree in print journalism from UF but history dealt some bad cards to that industry, so I moved back to an earlier love: the computer.

Was recently at ZMOS Networks, but am now the Senior IT Associate at the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation.

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