I am not sure what this says about the state of Amercian cities. But it must say something. Check it out: It's a treatise about New Yorkers fondly recalling the dirt, grime and crime of the late 70s and early 80s. When you could smoke in New York, and catch a porno. And get stabbed. Methinks it has something to do with "authenticity" or some other thing I can't understand:
A lot has changed from a quarter-century ago or so, when our fair city was best known for graffiti-decorated subways, blasting boom boxes and the faint smell of urine rising from the summer pavement. There were no Tinsley Mortimers, no hedge-fund gods. No $1,000 pizzas or latte factories, no $50 million mansions or elliptical trainers at Equinox. Indeed, in 1975, the city’s government declared bankruptcy. “Ford to City: Drop Dead” blasted the Daily News, after the President refused to bail us out, and, two years later, it seemed like a serial murderer named Son of Sam was determined to deliver the sentence.
The rest of the country thought we were goners, collapsed in a sputter of crime, crack and fiscal disaster. There were landlords burning down their buildings—you couldn’t give ‘em away! Hookers hanging out on 83rd and Broadway—right near Zabar’s!
But you know what? We liked it.
The dog shit was piled so high in the streets you needed a mountain ax just to traverse the sidewalk—but we liked it. The buildings were so blackened by grime you could barely see them in the dark—but we liked it. The subways were so dangerous you felt you were descending into Hell—and we liked it, we loved it, hallelujah!
Makes our nostalgia for the steel mills look positively normal, no?
What's even stranger is that almost all of the people quoted in the article are in their 30s. Around my age. So they can hardly remember the Charles Bronson Death Wish era. Right?