Can You Make It Here?

Sam’s comment on our modern art wrap-up got me thinking about the city. Patti Smith said young artists should seek other cities now because New York is not as accommodating as it once was:

Patti recalled coming to New York without money, when it was “down and out,” and you could get a cheap apartment and “build a whole community of transvestites,” artists or writers, or whatever.

Today, she said, “New York has closed itself off to the young and the struggling. But there are other cities. Detroit. Poughkeepsie… New York City has been taken away from you… So my advice is: Find a new city.”

Patti’s words picked up steam when the Huffington Post ran it, but the original source was a blog called “Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York“. In both places, the item stirred a number of reader comments:

This is true only if you consider downtown Manhattan to be the horizon line for “the city,” which would be unfortunate. #

To “build a whole community of transvestites or artists or writers” is to start the gentrification process. This can be accomplished in the South Bronx or other places in the “outer boroughs.” #

The need to be close to the art scene in New York to get noticed is negated by the internet. We’re talking actual freedom here, not just slightly cheaper rent. #

If you’re good and you have talent you can make it here, no problem. #

Between the Guliani [sic] effect (although crime stats were already down before his mayoralty), Sex and the City, and the real estate boom, the city has become extremely homogenized and lost most of its soul. The newbies brought too many cars with them, and think it’s weird to talk to strangers. #

As I was following the links last week, I became wrapped up in this blog Vanishing New York. Before I knew it, I’d spent most of the morning reading the archives. The writer focuses on what was just touched on in that last comment: gentrification and what he calls the “yunnie” phenomenon – Young Urban Narcissists. Think Patrick Bateman in American Psycho. Have you seen or read it again lately? Though it was set in the 80s, it doesn’t seem dated at all. You can see Bateman-style condos for sale all over the city.

Check out some more Vanishing New York, this is a great blog:

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