Nick Paumgarten in this week's New Yorker wonders what the city will look like in our new Depression. He imagines the future. A quick look around town reveals that the future is now:
"Walking or riding along the avenues, you can imagine the storefronts without tenants. Bank branches, juice bars, shops selling electronics and scarves: all of them gone, unable to make the rent, and the landlords, verging on default, unable to lure replacements."
8th Street ghost town
"A friend who worked in Southeast Asia in the nineteen-nineties, during the recession there, recalls visiting Bangkok and Jakarta to see the abandoned high-rises of the preceding economic boom. He found ranges of half-finished buildings, derelict superstructures occupied by tent shanties and with squatters gathered around fires. It may be no great leap from there to a vision here of burning garbage cans and jerry-rigged cardboard in Washington Mutual’s cashless vestibules or the bare aisles of Circuit City."
14th St and 7th Ave
Little West 12th
"We have inherited, from the good years, a glut of housing, almost all of it of the unaffordable kind—condos galore—and an increase in office space amid a sudden, steep decrease in the need for it. Throw in the high cost, or total unavailability, of capital, owing to the credit freeze, and you have a New York that may be frozen in time."
4th Ave, Park Slope
New York Pentimento