Back in 1978, Mick Jagger sang about “rats on the West Side, bed bugs uptown” in the Rolling Stones’ eponymous New York song, “Shattered”. Hey, those guys really did know a thing or two. And now it’s over thirty years later and people from all over the world still look to our fair city as the modern-day Rome. It’s still the perceptual global center of culture─for better or worse, finance, media, food, arts and attitude. And despite the news reminding us each day of how our western world is crumbling, like millions of others, I choose to live here.
But What About Paris, London, and Shanghai?
There are lots of great cities spanning the globe and as new media and mega brands shrink our planet, there is only one New York City. Having traveled extensively, although far less than some, I can honestly state that no city has the mash up of people and energy of New York. Everyone here seems just a bit more intense and into what they’re doing, even if they aren’t doing much of anything. From the Central American guy spinning pizza dough, the sidewalk bucket drummers, the struggling artists who’ve been forced to create the next great neighborhoods beyond Manhattan, to the titans of a damaged Wall Street, New Yorkers are a buzzing group that refuses to be stopped. How can you not like that?
But It's So Damn Expensive!
I have no sane response to this except that the runaway cost of living and punitive taxes we face make every New Yorker scrap a little harder. That’s what we do. We make it happen. We may vent about the snail-paced subway service on weekends, having to spend $10 for that sandwich we wolf down at our desks, or the stifling aroma of broken garbage bags landscaping Manhattan’s sidewalks during summertime, but we still chose to live here and we’ll be damned if anyone is going to say anything negative about our town. That’s what sets New York apart and that’s why people from all over the world continue pouring into our city. And many of them never leave.
Not necessarily a pretty picture, so are you convinced that this is the place to be?