I’ve been thinking a lot about the transformation that NYC is going through as this pandemic moves through us. Most businesses are shuttered now – many businesses will remain that way.
Will we see a less populated, poorer, and younger NYC in a year than existed a couple of months ago and for the past many years? What does this do to gentrification?
Some people are leaving, if they have the means. I am not one of them. I don’t have the means, and regardless I have no plans to leave this place. I’ve been in NYC for over 20 years, and I had been growing a little tired of it the past few years, tired of working so hard, tired of the stresses, done with a need to prove myself. I thought I was ready to leave then. But not now. Fuck it.
There is speculation that we will see a city much like the NYC of the 70s and 80s again. The population will thin not because people are afraid of crime this time, but because they are afraid of getting sick. Look around at your streets and your Instagram feeds. Listen to the relative silence. The population has already thinned, and its thinned more in the wealthier areas. Bring it on.
I’ve been reading more of Michelle Tea’s essays. Today I read a piece she wrote about her favorite movie, Times Square, filmed in 1980. She writes, “Times Square is an inspiring document of New York City during possibly its last lively era, its last era of possibility.” We’ll see about that, Michelle.