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There are fewer people in poverty than ever before. The parks are in the best condition that I have ever experienced. The economy is strong as is the tax base. Tourism is booming, to say the least. Unemployment is low. There is enormous cultural diversity.

 

So? Is this the best of times? Of course, I'm not saying this is a perfect time because who can afford to even rent an apartment no less buy one, but taking everything into account, are these the glory days of the capital of the world? If you don't think so, when do you think it was better? Sure there were times when some things were better but taking all factors into consideration, was there a better time than now?

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There are fewer people in poverty than ever before. The parks are in the best condition that I have ever experienced. The economy is strong as is the tax base. Tourism is booming, to say the least. Unemployment is low. There is enormous cultural diversity.

 

So? Is this the best of times? Of course, I'm not saying this is a perfect time because who can afford to even rent an apartment no less buy one, but taking everything into account, are these the glory days of the capital of the world? If you don't think so, when do you think it was better? Sure there were times when some things were better but taking all factors into consideration, was there a better time than now?

 

We need to talk. ;)

 

On a daily basis, I (and my friends) certainly do have a better city to frolic around in than I can ever remember having. But, unfortunately, due to my work and other activities, I see another side of the city as well. I'm not capable of expressing this here, given the limitations of the board, etc. But, Omni's answer is pretty similar to mine overall. Sorry.

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Although many wonderful things have happened in the past 50 years or so, there's much that still needs to be done.

 

--Most subway cars are now fewer than 10 years old, and the air conditioning often works, but the signals and safety systems are 80 years old on most lines. Lack of ADA access in many stations denies use to some New Yorkers.

 

--There are far fewer public restrooms anywhere in NYC than there were even 30 years ago.

 

--The % of kids graduating from high school in four years is lower than it's been in generations, and the quality of that education is suspect in some cases. Greek, Latin, Music, and Arts are often absent in a child's 15 years of basic education.

 

--A free, high quality college education is now out of reach for most New Yorkers. In the 1930s CCNY accepted a huge number of qualified candidates.

 

--Health care is low and slipping for many people, esp those in the so-called working poor

 

--The manufacturing core has vanished from NYC as factories flee, and unskilled people find fewer employment options.

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I agree with Omni and Steve. A bright, shiny facade blinds people to the hollowness underneath. Jan Morris's New York 1945 makes a good argument for that year being the city's apex.

I'll have to read that book. On general principles I think he may have a point. The middle class flight to the suburbs hadn't yet begun and neighborhoods that would decline in the 50s and 60s were still thriving.

 

Having said that, tremendous progress has been made over the last 15 years in bringing the city back. The conventional wisdom had long been that New York was ungovernable. You don't hear that any more.

 

On the negative side there is one thing that needs to be said since no one has yet mentioned it. New York is a much different city now than it was on September 10th, 2001.

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On general principles I think he may have a point.

 

Having said that, tremendous progress has been made over the last 15 years in bringing the city back.

 

By the time the book was written, "he" was "she."

 

Yes, the contrast between the 70s and the present is striking, especially for those of us who have been here all along. It was hard to believe that NYC would ever bounce back from those dismal times.

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On general principles I think he may have a point.

 

Having said that, tremendous progress has been made over the last 15 years in bringing the city back.

 

By the time the book was written, "he" was "she."

Those unisex names are tricky. Pat. Kim. Dale. Jamie. You never know what you're going to get.

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On general principles I think he may have a point.

 

Having said that, tremendous progress has been made over the last 15 years in bringing the city back.

 

By the time the book was written, "he" was "she."

Those unisex names are tricky. Pat. Kim. Dale. Jamie. You never know what you're going to get.

 

You forgot Lola. ;)

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I agree with Omni and Steve. A bright, shiny facade blinds people to the hollowness underneath. Jan Morris's New York 1945 makes a good argument for that year being the city's apex.

I agree as well, and thanks Lippy for mentioning that book (I believe the title is Manhattan '45). Morris's wistful elegy to the pearl of the Adriatic (Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhere) forms a touching counterpart.

 

While much -- but certainly not all -- of both the current good and bad here are not unique to New York City per se, the homogenizing modernity that continues to drive many of the changes seems to have caused more deeply-felt losses given Gotham's intricate and idiosyncratic urban, cultural and historical fabric ... especially since it's turned out to be more vulnerable and disposable than it seemed it ever could be in its heyday.

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