There’s something wrong with The Big Apple, according to one writer.
Does the recession get us to stop and smell the flowers? In Justin Davidson’s case, he even realized that his city is starting to change. In his article in New York Magazine, Davidson writes his observation: New Yorkers are slowing vanishing in high numbers, something that’s unusual even in August.
He states, “… Signs of vacancy are everywhere. Aging “For Rent” posters festoon storefronts. The defunct Barnes & Noble at Sixth Avenue and 21st Street hasn’t found a successor. The ample retail spaces at the base of two new towers on either side of Broadway at 99th Street have never been filled. “Shadow apartments” sit by the thousands, neither occupied nor available, their owners waiting for the market to revive. A saxophone on a subway platform enjoys an extra smidgen of reverberation. The apocalyptically inclined might see the specter of a metropolis disgorging its population, as it did in the seventies. A more temperate fear is that a shrinking New York could become less like itself and more like Cincinnati.
Drastic depopulation can boast some achievements, too—punk and the Soho art scene come to mind—but just now the city seems to be flirting with a generic version of itself. It will be a relief if the crowds return after Labor Day, bringing back that insufferable, electrifying closeness of strangers. We have nothing to fear from density, but a little more elbow room can stifle a megalopolis’s fragile soul.”
So is it really that strange in the city?
Well if your life is 16 hours of labor and rush hour blues; and you’d stop for a moment to think about your city (for whatever enlightened reason), you would feel its spaciousness, no doubt.
But for a tourist?… It would still be the same New York that he looks forward too. For those who retained their jobs, it would still be the same busy subway that they have to take. And for those busy with their mortgage payments, they’d know it still a difficult year for the economy.
But for those who were laid off, the city becomes too wide. For those who can’t take anything out from their pockets, New York has already made it less likely they’d bump into someone who’d lend them their payment. It’s all a matter of perspective. Suddenly, you realize the things that you don’t normally care about, the cacophony of cabs and commuters, the dizzying lights and growing garbage, and the disarray of Wall Street when the routine that you’ve gotten so used to is disrupted by the downturn in the economy.
It’s still the same New York, unless you’re forced to change your perception.