When I was 20, I dropped out of college for the first but not the last time. Got a job for a publishing company and a friend found me an apartment with his friend.
It was my first apartment without he who has played a zillion roles, though he did move in with his best friend.
Before I moved in, I was staying at my parents house, and noticed my Mom at her kitchen office desk. She had a list and was making phone calls. “Pia’s moving to Stuy Town.”
The list was long and consisted of all her friends and our relatives who had lived in Stuyvesant Town or it’s slightly more upscale neighbor, Peter Cooper Village, in their salad days.
When I moved there, in 1970, it was in bad condition. I lived on 14th Street and Avenue B, which wasn’t today’s Alphabet Town, but a bad ass place in every way.
We paid $160 for a three bedroom apartment. It was cheap even then. My roommate’s uncle, the leaseholder, had to leave NY in a hurry. Think he had been something big in the police.
Almost every New Yorker has a Stuy Town or Peter Cooper Village connection. It helped keep the middle class in the city. Generations of families have lived there since 1947. They are middle class oasis’s
Please understand something about Manhattan. People who make between 50k and 70k a year, have a kid and an apartment, can’t save, can’t take half-decent vacations, and can’t live full and enjoyable lives.
Many very rich people are moving here. So? What are they doing for us?
Don’t tell me that they’re expanding our tax base. Too many loopholes.
Many new condos have ten year or more tax abatement’s. How does that help the city? The people who buy the condos usually stay for part of the year. Their primary residence, where they pay taxes, if they do, is another country–used to know the tax rules, forget, or Florida or another low/no tax state.
The sale of Stuy Town and Peter Cooper will hasten Manhattan’s decline. An Island that consists of the very rich and the poor can’t survive. The incredible prices that we pay for every day items have begun to trickle to the less trendy parts of the outer boroughs.
On this the first anniversary of the levees, I ask the Bush administration: who the f–k they think they are. They have to have seen how much prices have gone up in New York since 9/11. They have to have seen what has happened to New Orleans.
Do they care? I think not. The only thing that will help our country regain its former glory is voting every person who doesn’t see how these two events have demoralized so many people, out of office. Of course much more has happened to show why we need a complete change of leadership, but these events show in detail, the ineptness of the Bush Regime and most people in both Houses.
We also need to change how we look at problems. During the depression, Harry Hopkins was able to begin the WPA because there was no red tape to snip. The WPA put people to work at real jobs, not make work. Most of the art work is magnificent, and still around. The buildings they built are wonders.
Maybe we need fewer regulations. Maybe the new regulations could be about ethics and morals; real ones, not the radical rights’s determination to end The First Amendment and make us all believe in what they believe.
We’re regulated to death. But who do the regulations help? We need creative critical thinkers in power, not politicians.
We need innovative solutions to long term problems. We are a country of vast resources yet we have a growing illiteracy problem, a growing obesity problem, a growing diabetes problem, a growing asthma problem. For the first time, children born now aren’t expected to live as long as their parents. They could live much longer than their parents if the problems I mentioned aren’t conquered. Many inner city schools no longer have gyms. Kids would rather be on computers than outside.
Of course all the girls I know well exercise because they don’t want to be fat at 40. Children learn from their parents. If their parents can’t set good examples because they work too damn much, or have problems, we can’t expect society to take over. Or can we? Maybe the earned income credit can be higher in cities such as New York. That would help one person I know very much.
Over 40 years ago, Michael Harrington wrote a seminal book The Other America Unfortunately the problems he brought up are still true today. Nathan Glazier and Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote Beyond the Melting Pot in 1963
I might not agree with everything that they said, and they did change things in later editions, but they laid problems out in such a way that solutions might have happened.
We need more people like Harry Hopkins, a personal hero of mine. We need creativity and people who think outside all boxes.
New York has never looked better. Beyond the facade, though….We’re dying.
Nobody could have anticipated, I hope, what happened four years, eleven months, and thirteen days ago. But the costs of 9/11 should be shared by the entire nation as should the costs of Katrina.
Our costs have gone up so rapidly and so much because the suppliers costs have gone up. But salaries haven’t. Unless you’re trading stocks, and bonds, the money people have been making is on paper, and bonds pay half what they did four years ago. Sorry, but I know that too well.
Here’s a link to an article that shows what’s really happening in this city. While The Bronx might have the lowest median income of any urban county, it has high prices–article doesn’t state that. Rents are going up everywhere
Explain why I should be a poster child for a city that has more problems than any newspaper or magazine dare admit? New York is a wonderful place to live, if you have a huge amount of disposable income, and if you do, if you don’t care about your neighbors or your city.
I have done my bit. I lived here through the 70’s and early 80’s; then the next recession began in October 87 through 94 when things began to improve. People have short memories. They seem to think New York was always a Disney/Rouse production.
Many people think that my generation the Baby Boomers turned into Yuppies after Viet Nam. We did. We also helped stop that war. We turned inner cities around. We revived failing school systems. We did many things that might not be construed as political but are necessary for a good quality of life.
Yes many baby boomers are politicians. Most aren’t my set of baby boomers My baby boomers aren’t building luxury condos that Paris Hilton could afford.
Let’s get real here. The generation before us, the so called silent generation were called that for a reason. GenX isn’t much younger than us. They could be part of the solution if they chose to be. Paris Hilton could be part of the solution.
For the first time “fame” is being studied. As people want to become famous for the sake of fame without actually doing anything. What about a Survivor that shows people working in very poor American counties?
Don’t blame baby boomers for all our problems because you woke up one day at 30 and realized that things in this country stink. By the time most of us were 30, Viet Nam had ended. We worked against the oil problems, but people don’t remember that. It’s damn hard to defeat corporate America and only a small percentile of baby boomers are CEO’s or COO’s or whatever.
Most people who read Courting know that I’m not big on heaping praise on Baby Boomers. We did do much, and that should be acknowledged, not spit on.
We wanted to live in decent cities. We wanted our children to grow up experiencing much. Perhaps in some ways we succeeded too well. If younger generations had worked as hard as we did from the time we were teenagers, maybe many problems could have been solved. Think about that while you cast blame at us.
It’s time for the generations that came after us to stop casting blame and take a good look at themselves. Many people didn’t become involved until they had established themselves in a career. We didn’t have that luxury as there were too many of us and too few jobs that were equal to our level of education.
We had to look for creative ways to make money because we didn’t want to live with our parents who wouldn’t usually cook for us or do our laundry. I once asked. My mother told me that I knew where the laundry machine was.
When I lived in Cambridge I had eight roommates. We lived frugally. I’m not saying that we were great examples. I’m saying that we didn’t know about living in luxury even if we had when we lived with our parents.
When I moved back to New York, I moved to a city that was out of control. I’m damn proud to be part of a generation that, along with the generations before us, brought it back.
All the improvements have come from private money, our taxes, our bonds, and our sweat. People don’t seem to understand that we worked hard to make New York a city tourists could love.
We didn’t see our promised aid for three years. Why should it be any different for New Orleans? I wish that it were, but with this government?
Haven’t said this in a long time, but on the anniversary of the levees, I can. Karl Rove, you are one sick puppy. Can’t help hating that man for what he said about “liberals,” and everything we learned next.
A year ago tonight I saw Light in the Piazza All I did was cry and say to my friend, “the levees, the levees.” He thought that I was crazy. Apologized a few days later.
If I knew intuitively understood what the levees symbolized what the hell was Condi Rice doing seeing Spamalot the next night?
And let’s not forget Bush “good job Brownie.”
Trolls aren’t welcome here. I don’t debate but do delete.
I want my city back, and that’s the real truth.
This post was partially inspired by the impending sale of Stuy Town and Peter Cooper Village, and partially by a post Cooper wrote last year.
She was more eloquent. I’m too angry. And yes this is non-linear.
“Great job, Bushie. ”
As my boyfriend Zachary who was from New Orleans used to say:
“Where I come from we have an expression,’Don’t pee on me and call it rain.”
And those who don’t remember history, truly are doomed to repeat it.
This is the type of post that I can obsessively add to and subtract from all day. So I’m going out. Tomorrow, I will have fiction”
Beginning the week of 9/11 Courting will turn into an exciting zine for three weeks, while I ponder the really important things in life, such as why do I have my best thoughts in the shower and then promptly forget them?” I know, endorphins, but still.