Friday, September 21, 2007

Suburbanization & Anti-semitism?

With further evidence that New York is going suburban, the Observer reports on the rapidly growing car culture of our city and Streetsblog gives their analysis on this process of Californication.

Who are these car-lovers? They're young people from the suburbs who like everything to be easy, convenient, and under their control. And, perhaps most shockingly, they don't want their lives to be too urban. Says one: "I don't think you need a car...but I think it's definitely a plus. And it definitely makes me feel more...well, not like such a city person." Writes the Observer, "For reasons both deep and ineffable, these young transplants just can’t help bringing suburbia with them."

This is clear from their love of not only cars, but Home Depots, Cold Stone Creameries, golf, anti-intellectualism, conservatism, and all the other trappings of suburban life that currently plague our streets. But what I find most baffling is why anyone would move to the city if they explicitly did not want to be a city person. And what exactly does "city person," uttered like a dirty word, really mean to these people?


American Apparel ad: L.A. Curbed

When I think of driving and New Yorkers, I think of the scene in Annie Hall where Woody Allen's character, Alvy Singer, regresses to his bumper-car youth. Real New Yorkers, he was letting us know, are too neurotic to get behind the wheel of a car. Real New Yorkers walk or ride the subway or take cabs. If you want to drive, move to L.A. -- about which he famously said, "I don't want to move to a city where the only cultural advantage is being able to make a right turn on a red light."

The people who drove cars in Annie Hall were WASPs who loved or longed for suburban life. Which brings me back to my burning question: What keeps New York's new masses of suburban transplants from wanting to be city people? If Alvy Singer could speak from that American Apparel billboard, he might answer with these lines from Annie Hall:

the failure of the country to get behind New York City is anti-semitism… Don't you see? The rest of the country looks upon New York like we're left-wing Communist, Jewish, homosexual, pornographers. I think of us that way sometimes, and I live here.

17 comments:

pwlsax said...

There was a time, not so very long ago, when people generally didn't think of New York this way. What brought it on? That whole Norman Mailer–Lenny Bruce–in your face cultural moment?

When did NY go from being someplace where there were Jews along with Irish, Italians, and you-name it to They Own The Place?

One suspects those who know either don't want to talk about it, or can't get published anywhere decent.

Anonymous said...

"What brought it on? "

Sex and The City gave people the dream of moving to NY to... shop. The Wall Street Bubble gave them the means. Their pampered upper-middle-upper suburban childhood stripped them of empathy.

My favorite example: http://www.yelp.com/biz/southside-coffee-brooklyn#hrid:_ZR0DxNYnkLjgi1YzM1n-g

—Crusty the Transplant
(who hates driving loves the subway and converted to urbanity)

hartford said...

new york has always had more jews than the entire world total. still does. & the populations growing. also jewish people started the show business industry, clothing retail wholesale, media, ect. (all that is based in new york). the first silent film stars were jewish from brooklyn. hollywood is brooklyn moved west. jews invented money lending in the middle ages. no one else would do it. most communists were jews. look @ israel. since new york is known for the media fashion liberal politics, thats why it looks like "they own the place". oh yes gambling & porn along w/the italians. no issues there either.

Grand St. said...

Hateford - yes, we Jews invented clothing, media, "ect.," but at least we got you out of your cave, right?

Now, dopes like you can travel to our malls and laugh and laugh at the Scary Movie sequels our "show business" division keeps turning out.

Anonymous said...

grand street: what is hateful about mr. hartford comment? jewish people have done amazing things for america!

mr. hartford said...

grand street: shame on you. you have no sense of humor. so weird, as jews invented comedy! jackie mason would agree w/me. where you raised in the shetel? suspicious of gentiles? intimidated as my alias is hartford? too anglo for you? i studied jewish history. every single thing i said is true. i know my own people. if you are elderly i forgive you. if lived through world war 2 in europe, then disregard. if you are young, i suggest you see jackie masons "the ultimate jew show". he has a channel on you tube. you can comment too. (the really offensive thing about stereo types is that they are often true)!

Grand St. said...

That's it. I'm a 110 year old tailor from the Old Country, and I fear the next pogrom will be led by WASPy insurance peddlers from Connecticut.

For the record, I like comedy, particularly your gag about how "every single thing [you] said is true," and your hilarious recitation on the history of the N.Y. yuppie in that other old thread. Crazy stuff. I mean, crazy.

So, I'll make a deal with you. I'll look into this Jackie Mason you speak of if you'll agree to look into some basic rules of spelling, syntax, and research. Your mishugas could use a little fine tuning.

Anonymous said...

been following this post. wtf is a syntax? how could someone be jewish & not know jackie mason? your lying.

Grand St. said...

Well, you should follow more closely, shmendrik, and heed the wisdom of that fortz, Hartford.

We didn't know from Jackie Mason on the shtetl.
We did, however, enjoy all of the great silent film-era Jewish comedians from Brooklyn like Fatty Arbuckle, Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin and Harold Lloyd.
...and oh how we kvelled!

hartford said...

grand street: thank you for the feedback. i dont do "gags"- just straight talk. a jew w/out a sense of humor is like a gay man w/out humor. neither of you should be living in new york. & by the way, anon is right. we don't carry syntax what ever that trend is.

pwlsax said...

Look folks...history belongs to those who remember. If nobody but a few Jews in New York gives a damn about the era of silent films or whatever, it belongs to them to do with what they like, at least until someone else shows up with a better claim on it.

pwlsax said...

So Crusty 8/20: People only started thinking Jews own New York because of some teevee show in the late 90s? Did it happen before or after Charlotte married the schlemiel with the back hair?

I guess every generation creates its own understanding of their world.

hartford said...

jews always owned new york. they came, they stayed. some left for LA or miami. some other east coast cities too, but mostly in new york. i think now the chinese will own it. yes the humor of jackie mason is very different from charlie chaplin. he has something to "say". he's political as well. anyway he has been around since the early 60s. (& almost as old as grand street syntax).

pwlsax said...

I always felt New York owned the Jews more than vice versa, and that the Jews - being, in effect, ghettoized in influential places in the world's most powerful city and more or less unable to live as just folks anywhere else - got the raw end of the deal. It ain't easy being the intellectual and cultural aristocracy in a society that doesn't really want one, and where you never really applied for the position in the first place.

Anonymous said...

it is difficult to live most places in america. they dont like us. & we dont like them.

laura said...

i see "random" posts are back. came across this one, & had left several comments under anon/hartford. pwlsax: jews stayed in new york also because of the trades & manufactoring. & the community as well.

sallieparker said...

"Annie Hall": the family was in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. Not too many WASPs there. The family was most likely Catholic, of German extraction. // This kind of boner, mistaking them for "WASPs," could only be made by a semi-foreigner or perhaps a "city person"!!! < emoticon here >