New York magazine is looking for New York newcomers, offering them a chance to take part in “a photo shoot of recent arrivals to New York City this Friday” if they have an interesting story to tell. Yeah, that’s what they all say. Given the venue, and the accompanying photo of Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada, we suspect they’re looking for something like this. It would be nice if some of them said, “I came to New York because that’s where the bus my mother put me on was going,” but that’s not likely.
Obsession with the new is part of New York’s (and New York‘s) character, but as we’ve said before, we’re not getting the interesting kind of noobs we used to get, and if there’s anything our self-image and sour stomach doesn’t need it’s a bunch of well-scrubbed kids telling us how excited they were by the Statue of Liberty, the cool shops and clubs, the “energy,” etc.
Meanwhile AskMen, who recently ranked us #6 among “cities for men,” offers 5 Things You Didn’t Know about New York City, some of which you probably do know. It’s a bit of whitewash, destined to spread our reputation as a dazzling fun park (“New York City has the lowest big-city crime rate”). They tell readers, for example, the origin of the term Big Apple, without adding, as Luc Sante did, that the town was previously known as the Big Onion and the Big Schmear. And though they mention public executions in Washington Square Park, those were at least legal; they could have told people how sailors on leave used to get rolled, shanghaied, or murdered, back when times were tough — which they are rapidly getting again. That might have scared some people off, and left the rest of us with a little more elbow room.
Why are we constantly selling New York? Confident cities talk to their newcomers like this.