Happy birthday ya bastards! This is my 100th post and yeah, I’m not gonna lie, I’m proud about it. I wrote my first post November 14th, 2008 for Take the Handle (R.I.P.). That was kind of a long time ago. (How did that happen by the way – that 2008 is kind of a long time ago?) In looking back on it do I feel like I’ve come along in anyway? Well sure, well sure I have! I don’t possess negative money any longer, and I’m somewhat embarked on some kind of career path even (I mean, blogger counts right?). I still have holes in a lot of my clothes, which I’m fine with, and I still hardly ever buy anything, but then why would you really want to buy anything? It seems like if you don’t aspire to make a lot of money then you don’t have to work particularly hard, and if you don’t have to work particularly hard then you can work hard at all the more enjoyable things that you want to run around exploring. I don’t really drink on random street corners anymore, just in my kitchen after my wife and baby have gone to bed, and I don’t really hang out in different library branches either, which makes me kind of sad. Oh, and I still absolutely love New York.
What’s it gonna look like, by the way, in 10 or 20 years? I don’t know, but yes, there will probably be a lot more 50 story glass condos around. Does that suck? Maybe. I’m intellectually down with that kind of thing, while being spiritually and aesthetically opposed, I suppose. Density is good and 50 story condos allow for density. And yes, historic preservation can often be rightly seen as just (though not really just) locking in lower-density in neighborhoods that have beautiful housing stock and so ensuring that prices will rise and rise and rise (have you ever heard of the West Village?). But the problem is that these new glass condos are expensive as fuck! So that doesn’t really help things. But where do you go for solace? Railroad apartments in Greenpoint are apparently as expensive as (almost) fuck too, for example. I mean my god, where do all these people come from? Money, possibly. Or else they spend way too much of their income on rent. Statistically speaking it’s probably a good mixture of both. So yes to 50 story glass condos I guess but yes to 50 story glass condos that are rent stabilized. And while you’re at it rent stabilize all railroad apartments in Greenpoint too. I mean, politically speaking that’s gotta be really easy, right? Let’s throw in single-payer healthcare and a ban on assault rifles while we’re at it and call it a day – piece of cake.
Look, the reason I can’t ever get too worked up about things changing is that things have always changed. I like brownstones better than 50 story glass condos – and honestly I like unused brick warehouses better than 50 story glass condos – but, you know, there was a time when those brownstones and brick warehouses weren’t here. There was a time when they were replacing something else themselves – and if I’d been alive back then I probably would have missed what they replaced. I probably would have liked to live here when the whole damn scene was trees and streams (I mean, talk to the Indians about gentrification right?). The problem with holding up the past as better is that you can always go further back. Were the 1950s better than the 1960s?; the 1700s better than the 1800s?; the Roman Empire better than the Renaissance? And if it’s not just further back is better then are we saying that there was a 20 year, 50 year, 100 year period when the world was just the best?
Who knows. Looking back to November 14th, 2008 I’m nostalgic for a lot of things – but I still think my life is better now (okay, I do miss drinking on random street corners). And we can make it better yet. We can try to make it so that everyone who actually wants to live in New York – you know, like 365 days a year – can afford to do it. We can build 50 story glass condos with those people in mind. Or pretty brownstones, brick warehouses, whatever. Be inspiring about it, but don’t be angry. And stand on random street corners drinking from time to time, watching things change. That’s fun too.