Saturday, January 17, 2015


I never lived in the part of New York with tall buildings and famous stores, penthouse apartments and Broadway shows,  nannies running babies around and hot and cold running taxicabs. Or the part of New York with funky artists' hangouts and little old shops and great bookstores. The kind of places they shoot TV shows and movies in (or at least some establishing shots while the rest is filmed in Toronto). Most people within the five boroughs don't live anywhere like those places. 

The maintenance fee alone is more than your mortgage, and if you don't tip the doorman a pile your life will be hell.

Most live in small apartment buildings, clustered houses, or dumpy housing projects.

One of the nicer dumpy ones.
I've mostly encountered four types of people who live in New York: Those who can do math and those who can't. No, I mean, I've known people like me who were born in the city and know it's not that big a deal, people who come from other places with big dreams who have a lot of money and connections from family or colleges, people who come from other places with big dreams who have nothing and barely hold on to that, and people who were born in New York with a lot of money and connections who talk a game of charity and live with a hand clutched on every throat they can reach.

I don't think it's generally true that in America the rich are always getting richer while the poor are getting poorer. For one thing, poor has a cellar -- nothing -- while rich is unlimited, so anytime rich people are getting richer there will be growing income disparity (as Kevin Williamson has pointed out). I think if it is true, it's true in Manhattan and places like that, where the rich have made rules for decades that have chased the middle class out. No one cared much when the Ronzoni pasta or Domino Sugar factories closed down, but those were places where good middle-class livings were made, not miserable food sweatshops with impoverished urchins working nine days a week. What was the middle class supposed to do, live on the dole? Like those lunch pail-toting slobs should have some pride?

Out in suburbia the middle class can roam free and breathe easier. I don't miss living within the five boroughs at all.

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