Author John Strausbaugh, speaking on a panel made up of contributors to a new book about how New York was better back then, basically declared the entire island of Manhattan culturally dead because everyone has been priced out of it besides that Hearst girl and Jared Kushner. And then he described gentrification in v. v. loaded language: "What's kind of going on now is a benign ethnic cleansing of the borough of Manhattan, and that mix is going to be gone for a very long time."
First off, maybe he should try Washington Heights? Cheaper than Jersey City! But also, he should listen to his fellow panelist Mike Wallace, of the Gotham Center for New York History. Mike has some good news!
We're in this kind of mild, benign, seemingly post-political moment, maybe because we are riding an economic wave of, it seems to be, a dubious basis. If the response to the subprime crisis in fact continues and expands, we're looking at the possibility of 1973 starting all over again. If that happens, are these cultures going to be cross-fertilizing or at each other's throats?
You hear that? 973's almost back! We cannot wait for Mean Streets 2 and for Johnny Thunders to return to life to join the re-formed New York Dolls! Thanks, Wall Street! We'll hop a turnstyle and mug an old lady just for you guys once the revolution comes.
Gentrification as 'Benign Ethnic Cleansing'? [NYT City Room]