Tuesday, March 09, 2004

I Love the '80s
Was NYC better in the 1980s, when grafitti covered the subways and crack dealers controlled Northern Manhattan? Andrew writes to say no.

All you say about NYC back then is true. Also true is the dread, then giggles I get still today driving the stretch on Ft. Washington between the GWB and CPH. Back when the subway was a nickel and I was racing bikes all the time we'd roll up through what was then the scariest place I rode. I've been worse places but none in lycra. The kids in the smallish Accord type cars screeching off the bridge to score crack and the smackheads slow-motion mummy walking up the middle of the road made what is now a bucolic Hudson-upon-Hudson neighborhood a cold sweat for somebody on a (gasp!) 700 dollar bicycle! There was ever the feeling of impending doom in NYC in those days, it seems to me. It's true that after college I was making money and paying my Brooklyn rent on time, spending it on "Caramba" margaritas and trips to the real Canal Jeans, on Canal, before it was on Broadway, even, but there didn't seem to be any legs holding up the tables we drunkenly leaned on.

It seems things are better now to me. Especially for the people who live there. Maybe not good enough to stay with younguns, but a better place than the mid-80s.

Though the city was in many ways uglier, it was also more edgy, artistic, and spontaneous. I remember walking by crack dealers to see a poetry slam on Avenue B. Now the crack dealers are gone, but so are the poets, replaced by supermodels and trustfund kids. In the 1980s, I saw Luka Bloom play open mike at the Red Lion Inn, but the coke heads were doing lines on the table next to us. Now the Red Lion is a destination for tourists, and the music is bland. Our neighborhood might be safer, but my landlord is evicting all the old Dominicans in order to raise the rent. Artists, photographers, and teachers are leaving the area for cheaper locations -- Massachusetts, North Carolina, upstate NY. New York is no longer a destination for artists and writers; it is a destination for lawyers and investment bankers.

It's better and worse at the same time.


Toni was after me to write something about Martha being taken down by the women haters in American justice. Others are doing this, so I won't. Here's a poor Martha op-ed in the Post.

When Martha was found guilty, the traders at my husband's top secret Wall Street firm applauded. Nobody likes the perfect, rich lady.

The Post has had a field day on her. I'm loving all the food puns that the tabloids have been slapping on page 1. Guilty:Goose Cooked. Humble Pie: Martha on Probation. God, that's good stuff.

Chris says this about the Post and their crack team of headline writers, That, I guarantee you, is a paper where people still go out and dutifully get shit-faced every single night after work.

Read This

Mo Ryan for the Chicago Tribune writes why we have more America's Top Model and not enough Angel on TV. (via Dan Drezner)

Bloggers collect campaign contributions. Henry at Crooked Timber comments.

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