Tuesday, August 15, 2017
Once upon a time (2007, actually), two New Yorkers got brilliant ideas for blogs about their favorite city ... one was called Mr NYC; the other, Vanishing New York.
Unlike Mr NYC, Vanishing New York hit the big time. The eponymous Jeremiah's blog about the demise of Old New York City has attracted vastly more readers than Mr NYC ever did (and now a legit book deal and lots of media attention too).
I bear no umbrage; Vanishing New York deserves its success. Its single-minded, determined effort to chronicle the changes of the NYC landscape is impressive and, especially these days, badly needed. It's a beautifully presented and extremely well-written blog.
Mr NYC has always been more general-interest and ramshackle. It's about everything and anything NYC. It has no specific focus. It has no specific theme. That's both its virtue and, I suppose, its shortcoming.
But both blogs were born of a love for NYC and everything it means to people.
I do take some pride, however, that, while both Vanishing New York and Mr NYC started in 2007, mine started in March of that year and Jeremiah's began in July -- so this blog, technically, has some seniority.
And yet, to quote Christopher Walken in "True Romance", that's of minor importance. What's of major effing importance is that both blogs started within months of each other at what was, in retrospect, an inflection point in NYC's history. Back then, the city was still recovering from the trauma of 9/11, the psychological wounds still raw, a sense of inertia still intact. But things were changing -- slowly at first, then faster and faster. NYC was, to quote then-Mayor Bloomberg, going from "open to business" to "back in business." The buildings were getting bigger and glassier, the mom and pop stores and old neighborhood businesses were disappearing at a quicker rate, and the already hot real estate market was turbo-charging thanks to the influx of foreign money. It was, many of us felt at the time, going to be a very different city in the years ahead.
How right (unfortunately) we were.
NYC in 2017 looks quite different than 2007. There are more and more big buildings, more and more chain stores, and less and less neighborhoods that look and feel like actual neighborhoods. This is still a great city but its spirit has been enervated by gentrification.
Still, that spirit has not died completely. That spirit is reflected, in part, by Mr NYC and Vanishing New York and the fact that both blogs have lasted more than a decade. That fact should be a point of pride for both of us. So kudos to to both of us. May both blogs last another decade -- and more.
Monday, August 14, 2017
Great family show this past weekend. When there's so much sadness in the world, it's important to remember that there's still lots of beauty and joy.