It’s hardly the sort of thing you usually read in the mainstream press, but some major outlets are siding with us, sort of, on the possible benefits to New York of the new depression.
The proprietor of Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York, the oft-melancholy blog that chronicles the replacement of old city places and traditions by new, modern hideosities, says in a Daily News op-ed that “we keep hearing that the bad old days of the 1970s are returning,” but “many of us are feeling giddily optimistic about this city for the first time in a decade.” In the recent boom years “many New Yorkers have watched with grief and anger while the city we love was crushed” by overdevelopment and overconsumption, he writes, into a place “for only the superrich seekers of safety to enjoy.” He considers the downturn “a corrective to what I considered a Dark Age” and hopes for a more “healthy, dynamic and textured city” to come from it.
Jeremiah’s not the only one saying these things. In the new Atlantic, Richard Florida says that concern over the crash’s effect on New York “seems overheated,” and that “the financial crisis may ultimately help New York by reenergizing its creative economy.”
And the Observer’s John Koblin announces “Gays Love a Depression,” or at least the club-going ones do. He cites patrons of newly-energized nightspots who declare, “I went to so-and-so and it was packed” and “Oh I’m loving the recession.” As the bridge-and-tunnel traffic dwindles, Chi Chi Valenti tells Koblin, “New Yorkers finally getting a few of our clubs and downtown streets back.” Also, Valenti claims, the city is less likely to fine clubs for violations because “they’ve got other things to worry about.” (We’re not so sure about that.) And Voice alum Richard Goldstein expects a “style of cruising [that] is less virtual and more tangible.”
Is downsized the new upscale? Will the ’10s be the new ’70s? We’ll find out soon enough. Photo by Emily Peet-Lukes.