When a young person moves to “The Big Apple,” the experience can be so overwhelming that he is moved to write a powerful essay about it in noted millennial blogspot Thought Catalog. What’s that? Or, uh, National Review, sometimes.
Urbane go-getter and five-year-long New York City resident Stephen Miller hath stepped up, thankfully, to weigh in on this whole political debate over “New York Values”—from the perspective of a real New Yorker. All of us are afforded the rare opportunity to hear what an average young conservative internet writer in New York City thinks about his adopted hometown—New York City—and its values. Its bedrock, conservative values, just as Wu-Tang always said. We begin:
I took my first trip to the Statue of Liberty in May of 2011, a year after I moved to New York City. I’ve never been big on tourist traps — and New York City is full of them — but I felt an obligation to pay a visit to the lady in the harbor at least once.
As an American who is sick of hearing “New York Values” debated by those who were not even visiting the Statue of Liberty in May of 2011, I for one am already “hooked.” Stephen Miller can speak to the heart of “New York Values” in a way that Ted Cruz can only dream of.
For all his Texas swagger, Cruz has been more than happy to embrace the metropolitan consultants and penthouse schmoozers that he now claims to disdain. This is a man, recall, who was quite open to the overtures of a Manhattan-based gay couple. It was a savvy move that played against the stereotypes progressives try to paint him with and it’s not something he should now deny. In his public moments, Cruz is accustomed to lionizing those “folks who know what salsa should taste like”; in his private life, he is as comfortable as anybody else in his social milieu with the high-priced picante you’d find at a gourmet market on the Upper West Side.
Bumping into Ted Cruz at Zabar’s—the oldest New York story in the book.
But what is this town, this seething metropolis, really like? What is this place we call Gotham’s throbbing soul that cannot be adequately described in words, except for those of this paragraph in National Review?
At its best, New York is a real, functioning, unglamorous, unforgiving machine. And it’s all of that despite what the balance in your account says. It’s not Times Square on New Year’s Eve. It’s the hidden neighborhoods, tucked out of the reach of the sightseers. It’s the concrete canyons filled with natives hunkering down in hooded jackets and earplugs, not the European visitors searching for Mad Men or the Kardashians. New York is the person on the subway with an overstuffed bag and unfashionable walking shoes, just trying to get to and from work or home. It’s the wind-bitten locals rolling their eyes at the throngs of out-of-towners lined up to see The Daily Show, just as they do to the local Occupy Wall St. and Black Lives Matter protesters.
New York City: it ain’t the tourists in Times Square. It’s the locals, rolling their eyes at the tourists and the black people.
This is New York.
Brooklyn, which I call home, is filled with every urban gentrified hipster cliché under the sun. But it’s also filled with families pushing strollers past Abraham Lincoln stencil-art that has been sprayed strategically on brick warehouse walls. Not exactly a symbol of liberal-elite values.
Abe Lincoln stencil art—not exactly a liberal elite value. Got it?