The arc that New York City has swung, from the 1980s to the present

NYC
Two stories worth reading about  New York City, one set in 1981, one set in 2017. Read Jonathan Franzen’s recollection of being Hard Up in New York  (The New Yorker) first, then read about the current state of the city in Why the Upper East Side Is Now Cooler Than Brooklyn. What struck me was not that New York has become wealthier and gentrified, but that it has gone from being a place that was unlivable in one sense to being unlivable in a very different sense. Once you avoided parts of New York because of the danger: now you avoid parts because they are too expensive.

Of course New York is a massive city, and there are people that live in parts of it that can be still considered dangerous while there are other parts that could still be considered affordable. But NYC has changed dramatically since the 80s, and these articles — especially the one by Franzen — highlight this well. It’s hard to imagine Manhattan ever declining to the state it was in the 1970s and 80s, but in the 80s it would be hard to imagine it being as gentrified as it is now.

P.S. If 70s and 80s New York is your thing, I also recommend this.

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