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sean mcdaniel

you know, it wasn't boring back then. Times Square was wild and frightening as soon as the sun sank into new jersey. I don't really miss the mess, but i can't embrace the blandness either. there's gotta be something in between...which has always been my stance about most things discussed here.

sean mcdaniel

you know, it wasn't boring back then. Times Square was wild and frightening as soon as the sun sank into new jersey. I don't really miss the mess, but i can't embrace the blandness either. there's gotta be something in between...which has always been my stance about most things discussed here.

Jonathan Potts

One of the criticisms of nostalgia for 1970s New York is that it is largely confined to people who lived in Manhattan and had a certain amount of money. Working-class eople who lived in the outer boroughs, those most affected by the rising crime, failing schools and crumbling social services may not have such fond memories.

Sam M

"One of the criticisms of nostalgia for 1970s New York is that it is largely confined to people who lived in Manhattan and had a certain amount of money."

Good points. But I wonder if it would be even more applicable if you put it in present tense. That is, even Manhattan seemed to be a bit of a dump back in the Death Wish days. And even the rich people started wondering.

So I think it is interesting that the people waxing nostalgic are people in their 30s. You know. The kind of people who read The Observer. Whatever that means. (I read it. And I don't think I fit the profile I am talking about. So that shows what I know.)

Still, I think this seems to be nostalgia for an "authentic" or "gritty" city. One with "real" people. What you have now is a lot of professional, upper-middle class people in the city, all looking around for authentic New York, and instead finding--a lot of upper class professionals.

This is not limited to NYC, of course. You can go to a lot of small towns, especially ones on the edges of big cities, and find the same thing. People moving there, looking for Andy Griffith. But when they get there, they discover that Aunt Bee sold her house to an attorney who drives a Range Rover and makes $650,000 a year. Which pisses them off. (Of course, then you realize that the attorney living in Aunt Bee's house is looking at you the same way.)

Or you see it in farming communities, when people looking for "real America" buy a lot on a recently subdivided farm, then start passing laws that make it illegal for other farmers to subdivide. You know. Because its ruining the culture of the place.

It gets confusing. I think I need a beer. Or a latte. I am not sure what I am supposed to be drinking.

sean mcdaniel

I'll add a bit more here.

I used to go to NYC a lot in the 1970s. Yeah it was wide open fun. If you were young, too. Artists, musicians, writers, swingers, disco-ers and anyone who was looking for a "good" time of any type loved that new york. and they didn't all have money. the "artistic" street cred is gone.

i mean, come on, a lot of us here bitch about cheesecake factories and pottery barns replacing klein's restaurant (do you guys know that one) and hardware stores downtown. It's sort of the same.

Yes, Downtown in the 1970s was "lively." Porn shops, strip clubs and massage parlors were everywhere. So were drug dealers, hookers and muggers. For better or worse, when the "bad" element got swept out of Manhattan, something "better" replaced it. Unfortunately, that hasn't happened here to the same degree.

Fred Mullner

The search for authenticity is a recurring theme around here, but I've yet to see anyone define it. There are plenty of examples of authenticity--and we probably know it when we see it--but nobody's put their finger on it just yet. That could be a blog unto itself and would be worth the bandwidth.

Maybe it's just the cynical snob-hating part of me talking, but I suspect that many of these authenticity-starved thirtysomethings like the idea of authenticity but don't actually want to get too close to it. Taking their car to the local garage (rather than Jiffy Lube) for an oil change is great just as long as they don't have to hold a conversation with the mechanic.

In any event, it strikes me that these people are living vicariously through other people's lives, as if by being near something real they too will be real. It's sad, really, when you think about it.

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