Friday, December 5, 2008

Taking Over

I went to see Danny Hoch's impressive one-man show "Taking Over" at the Public Theater. (Recently extended!) I expected a performance filled with righteous anger and I was not disappointed. In every character he inhabits, whether it's an elderly African-American woman watching her world evaporate or a greedy real-estate developer laying out plans to destroy that world, he paints a powerful, pitch-perfect portrait of a city painfully vanishing.

What I did not expect was to get a dose of my own vitriol. Hoch's anger is pointedly directed at non-native New Yorkers, to whom he bellows in agonized rage: "Go home!"



I walked out of the theater sorting through mixed feelings. I'm on Hoch's side, but I'm an "outsider," too. Does he want me to go home? This is home. So when does one become a New Yorker--after 15, 25, 50 years? Is it ever possible? Allen Ginsberg came from Newark and Frank O'Hara was from Baltimore. Andy Warhol came from Pittsburgh, Patti Smith from Chicago. George M. Cohan was from Providence and Mickey Mantle came from a small town in Oklahoma.

For solace, I turned to one of my favorite books, Here Is New York, written in 1949 by E.B. White--who was born in Mount Vernon, just over the Bronx border so not, technically, a city native.

After reading the following excerpt, I gained some comfort, but also a new reason to be angry. It shows that until very recently in New York's history, its "settlers" were viewed as a valuable asset to the city, to its passion and thrum and creativity. But today's swarm of new arrivals have radically altered what it means to be a settler here. Do they bring "poetical deportment," or do they just deport those who came before them?

I don't want to be lumped in with them. Can I get a pardon? Anyway, go see Hoch's fantastic show. In the meantime, here's E.B. Try to imagine saying his words about small town girls and boys today. It seems unfathomable.



There are roughly three New Yorks. There is, first, the New York of the man or woman who was born here, who takes the city for granted and accepts its size and its turbulence as natural and inevitable. Second, there is the New York of the commuter--the city that is devoured by locusts each day and spat out each night. Third, there is the New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something.

Of these three trembling cities, the greatest is the last--the city of final destination, the city that is a goal. It is this third city that accounts for New York's high-strung disposition, its poetical deportment, its dedication to the arts, and its incomparable achievements.

Commuters give the city its tidal restlessness; natives give it solidity and continuity; but the settlers give it passion.

And whether it is a farmer arriving from Italy to set up a small grocery store in a slum, or a young girl arriving from a small town in Mississippi to escape the indignity of being observed by her neighbors, or a boy arriving from the Corn Belt with a manuscript in his suitcase and a pain in his heart, it makes no difference: each embraces New York with the intense excitement of first love, each absorbs New York with the fresh eyes of an adventurer, each generates heat and light to dwarf the Consolidated Edison Company."

90 comments:

Sean Dwyer said...

E.B. White's settlers are not the same as today's interlopers that Danny Hoch exhorts to "go home!" The Italian farmer, the Mississippi girl and the Corn Belt playwright can no longer afford to settle here because the moneyed masses yearning to feed their geographic materialism have sucked up rent-regulated and other moderately priced housing and spit out luxury condos! Those are the people who need to GO HOME!

Steven said...

I was definitely a citizen of the 3rd New York -- I grew up in Indiana and can't remember a time when I didn't know that I would move to New York when I was an adult. I moved there when I was 20 and stayed for 17 years.

I'm a big fan of your blog, but I have to admit that sometimes it's just too sad to read. I was there from 1981 until 1998, in the East Village and Lower East Side with a short stint in Ft. Greene. When I tell people this (I live in Austin now), they usually ask, "Do you miss New York?" and I say, "Yes." They ask if I think I'll ever go back and I say, "I can't go back. It's not there any more."

I do go back to visit from time to time -- I have lots of friends and colleagues there. But my visits, especially to the East Village, have the sadness and regret of visiting the grave of a loved one.

Anyway, I enjoyed this post a lot because it reminded me WHY it's so sad that our New York is disappearing.

gretchen said...

This is an issue I've thought a lot about too, way too much to really go into here. But short version: Danny Hoch is a performance artist who had the good fortune to be born in the best place in the country to do performance art. And even so, I'm sure he had to wander outside of his original community to find the kind of opportunities and creative stimulation that many of us moved here for; it's just that he took a subway, while we had to take a Greyhound.

The whole issue of who's "allowed" to move here and who's not is extremely complicated. I'm an interloper in my neighborhood, even though most of my neighbors were born in other countries while I'm the fifth generation of my family to live in Brooklyn.

I think the trust fund kids are just exacerbating the normal tensions between people from different backgrounds.

henry said...

I think that the tension between recent arrivals, 'locals' and 'natives' is probably present everywhere. My wife and I moved to Maine from Brooklyn, and it turns out that we're probably going to be outsiders forever. If we have kids, they'll be locals, and if they have great-grandkids, MAYBE they'll get to be natives.

And that's OK -- maybe it's as it should be. The best thing about the city, for me, was how the natives, the locals, and the newbies all had to live together. During the 1990s, when I was 22 and broke, my buddy Pat and I got this year-long lesson in how to drink from the old Spanish bartender at Harry's in the Woolworth building. He recognized us as new, took pity, and we all had a great time. It's one of my fondest memories, totally incongruous, hard to explain, but we've all had those experiences in NY, where we come into contact with people whose experience is vastly different from ours, and if they're not all positive, they all at least have some positive element.

You take that away, build a condo on it, what have you got? The entire city becomes Normandy Court, right?

Jeremiah Moss said...

thanks for the thoughtful comments. i can't help but wonder when the shift occurred and why. while there were probably always normal tensions between natives and newcomers, today it feels like a war, soaked in hate. as a long-timer, i look at newcomers with, at the very least, suspicion.

so what happened between e.b. white's days and today?

(tani) said...

I've only been here 5 years, but I took it upon myself to experience the city as much and as deeply as possibly. Many of my native-born Manhattanite friends have never been to Inwood Park, never seen the Labyrinth for Contemplation in Battery Park, have never walked the Lower East Side (or much of island at all). I can go on & on.

I have no guilt about being a new-comer and I ain't going home. (And I still can bombast about the vanishing New York I hate to see go)

gretchen said...

Hi Jeremiah. Here's how I see the change happening, not from EB White till now, but from the 70s (when NYC was anathema to respectable types) to now. It was easy for all 3 of White's tiers to live here in the 70s, but it was so cheap because the city was broke and dumpy. Then the 80s money rolled in, the city got more tax revenue and gussied things up, and it became more appealing to the Wall Street people who'd formerly been commuting from prettier places. That meant it became more appealing for developers, who already had the city's blessing because their condos brought in higher tax brackets, but then when the developers got even richer they invested some of their profits in lining the right political pockets so they could either bypass or knock down the regulations meant to keep the city's scarcest commodity, real estate, from spiralling out of reach for the kind of people who long-term planners recognized as vital to the diversity and vibrancy that accounts for a lot of the city's appeal in the first place.

So basically, I think it started with the 80s money and snowballed, to the point where the 3rd tier demographic has shifted dramatically from artists to kids with money who move here for the fantastically stimulating and creative shopping opportunities. These kids are also known as fucktards, douchebags, and yunnies, and everybody hates them; only if you happen to be white (or white-acting (kidding, kinda!)), somewhat educated, and not a NY native, you are mistakenly lumped together with them by members of other demographics.

michfan2123 said...

America is an incredibly materialistic country. An employee at a store in Long Island was trampled to death on the morning of Black Friday because people could not wait to buy crap! Ridiculous.

I think a lot of newcomers come here because they think it will be cool to live in a place they always see on T.V. Plus they can go shopping! ugh.

btw, I saw Hoch's show last weekend and loved it. I have lived in NYC for all 17 years of my life and am probably never going to leave.

BaHa said...

Fifth generation native New Yorker here. My husband is from Maine. If we moved to Maine and I lived there for twenty years, I would never--and rightly so--be regarded as a Mainer. I would be a New Yorker living in Maine, and that is as it should be. Wouldn't meant that I don't love Maine; I do. Would I ever understand and feel for Maine like a native? No. Hell, I'm still learning what certain Maine words mean.

The other day, the owner of my local wine store and I were discussing the ridiculous price of some food or other, and he said, "That's what living in New York is, baby!" And I told him that if he ever tried to "explain" what life in New York is to me again I would rip his throat out. And this is someone I like; can you imagine how natives feel when someone starts yapping about what should be done to/for New York or worse, what New York is "about"--when they have absolutely no feel--or affection--for the city whatever? That said, I would be happy to convey New Yorker status upon Jeremiah, because of his wonderful work on behalf of, and his love for, his adopted city.

Jeremiah Moss said...

yay! i get a pass from baha, one of my favorite, most cantankerous natives. thanks B!

KnicksBasketballNY said...

My mother is from Manhattan. My father is from Washington DC. I was born in Washington DC.

From birth I was raised in both cities (DC during the school year and NY mostly during the summer) so I claim both cities as my own.

Now on the rare occasion somebody asks me where I am from I tell them I am from DC.

Most people who know me, know that I am usually in town just for a few days and then I hop on a train or a bus back home to DC.

Rarely does a day go by where I am not wearing a KNICKS jersey, jacket or t shirt.

So the people who do not know me must assume I am a native after seeing me wear the exact same thing for 25 years from childhood to adulthood.

Even some people in my hometown of Washington DC mistaken me for being from NY.

Now going back to the original topic...

Both of my cities have recently been taken over by recent arrival SCUM who moved to my cities for all the wrong reasons.

I take offense to that.

Especially when natives are being replaced and evicted by them.

I can spot recent arrivals (in both cities) from a mile away and I do my best to make them feel not welcome.

This is a WAR.

I just happen to be fighting 2 wars instead of just 1.

Jack Womack said...

It seemed to me that sometime around the time of the mid-to-late 80s people began moving to NYC with the expectation that it would adapt to them, rather than that they would adapt to it. A perception I had rather than anything specific, but one that became more clearly accurate every year. The suburbanization really kicked in in the early 90s, I think, and hasn't lessened.

Winna said...

Either you become an asset or been here continuously for 20+ years

KnicksBasketballNY said...

I have no guilt about being a new-comer and I ain't going home.

I bet I could make you feel guilty if I ever met you in person.

GO BACK home!

You think 5 years makes you special?

Perhaps your "native-born Manhattanite friends" do not want to go to those places!

^ Has that thought ever crossed your mind?

I think a lot of newcomers come here because they think it will be cool to live in a place they always see on T.V. Plus they can go shopping! ugh.

I HATE that sh*t!
I HATE T.V.!

Those douchebags live in DC for 5 years and then move to NY for 5 years after that and then they tell all of their friends back home in the midwest...

"I was a Washingtonian"
"I was a New Yorker"

^ NO! YOU ARE NOT!

SCUM is what you are.
Douchebag SCUM!

can you imagine how natives feel when someone starts yapping about what should be done to/for New York or worse, what New York is "about"--when they have absolutely no feel--or affection--for the city whatever?

I agree.

My mother probably would have slapped the sh*t out of him!

Anonymous said...

I moved here a little under four years ago and like Tani, I ain't goin nowhere either! I love this city, I didn't come here to make tons of money, but to set up roots somewhere on my own, and have had so many wonderful experiences. I think Alfred Kazin was right when he said the past "screams" to be heard here and I hear it and see it all the time.I love the history of this city and walk everywhere to capture it on film if I can. It angers me to see how money and power have eroded so much and if you fight to preserve a building ( Tin Pan Alley, St. Thomas Church, the list goes on) you are viewed as pathetic and need to "get over it." I'm not a small town girl from Mississippi, but definitely came for what E.B White was describing.
I think Gretchen hit the nail on the head on when things started to fall apart and like you Jeremiah, I hope I get a pardon as well, I don't want to be lumped with them either!

BaHa said...

And I always wanted to be dubbed a cantankerous native. A proud moment!

Anonymous said...

Is is kind of laughable how Danny Hoch tries to translate being a white kid from Forrest Hills into some kind of hardcore cred. And I say that as a white kid who grew up in Forrest Hills.

Anonymous said...

This is just my enraged, biased, currently annoyed, exhausted and exasperated opinion (which means its subject to change) but based on my experience:

Sex in the City, Felicity, Friends, 9/11, Bush Jr., Giuliani and Bloomberg together became the force that turned NYC into one giant, generic, overpriced mall.

During the late 90s/early 2000s, I would constantly and at first enthusiastically ask my peers, fellow college students and people in their early-mid twenties who had just moved here WHY they moved here (I wanted to see the city from a fresh perspective having been born and raised in NYC) and my eyes would glaze over and I would feel a small shiver stemming from a mixture of fear and horror go down my back as almost ALL would answer: Sex in the City or Felicity (to be honest Friends didn't really come up as much but I'm throwing in there because I think it was definitely a factor in the whitewashing of NY).After hearing this response over and over again, I started to ask people, you do know NY isn't really like that don't you? And I never really got an inspiring answer back.

9/11 turned consumers consuming into some twisted sort of hereoism. No doubt this likely caused those who could consume the most because they were born rich to develop even bigger egos and a sense of entitlement. That, coupled with a weird sort of victimhood mentality that these people tend to have which is likely due to the fact that many of them, despite having the "world as their oyster" still never feel satisfied or truly happy and so seek to point fingers to find the cause of their misery rather than looking inward, caused them to lash out and seek to take over the surrounding "poorer", "inferior" entities/communities around them
(I'm oversimplifying in the above paragraph but that's the very general gist of the situation as I see it).

9/11 also caused newbies to be more fearful of the city in general so that instead of finding its eccentricities exciting they found them scary and dangerous and sought to beat them into something familiar for the sake of peace of mind. Also, this new breed of "trust fund" kids have been and still are being coddled by their parents, and thus really lack the capacity to handle "different" without hearing it as "bad", "scary", "competition", "wrong" despite being adults.

Bloomberg, "saint" that he is, used 9/11 as a means to overbuild the city. BUILD BUILD BIGGER MORE OR ELSE "YOU KNOW WHO" WINS. Your post on the Bloomberg way was pretty much spot on...can't wait for the book.

Giuliani's contribution to the bs in the city needs no explanation if you've lived here long enough.

Jeremiah Moss said...

i have to say, i empathize with the young people coming to nyc today who DO come as assets to the city, as creative and inspired and even desperate people who want to become new yorkers, or get close to that title, not because they saw it on TV, but because they are square pegs looking for that fit because home was an impossible round hole.

what they came seeking is nearly gone. and they are blamed for its disappearance.

without young people keeping the real nyc alive, what happens to the future of the city when the rest of us are dead or priced out?

how do you tell the difference between a hipster and a 22-year-old next-generation "bohemian"?

KnicksBasketballNY said...

I moved here a little under four years ago and like Tani, I ain't goin nowhere either!

I hope I get a pardon as well


Keep hoping.

Your little under 4 years in NY are laughable. Straight comedy.

Which TV show/program made you want to move to NY?

Be honest now.

almost ALL would answer: Sex in the City or Felicity (to be honest Friends didn't really come up as much but I'm throwing in there because I think it was definitely a factor in the whitewashing of NY

I find people like that sickening and disgusting.

To make matters worse they end up taking away jobs that could have gone to natives and GOD FORBID they take away rent stabilized apartments that could have gone to natives as well.

Those people must not have any consciousness at all.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 4:27pm. You know, it's funny, I usually have no problem telling the difference between the hipsters and the real outcasts who are here to invest something more than cash into the city.

And its not that hipsters are bad people per say, they're just terribly terribly annoying and confusing/confused. It's like everything with them stops at the surface, surface movement, surface communities, there's no deepness or expansiveness into anything other than surface.

Anonymous said...

Jeremiah,
You mention that the tension between native and newcomer has always been there but that " today it feels like a war."
I think this "war" has a lot to do with our rent stabilized system. We ask all the newbies to pay 2 and 3 times as much rent to live in the same buildings as the native. How do we expect them to feel when we treat them so? Wouldn't you be pissed too? As the gap between market rate rents and stabilized rents widen this "war" will only become more fierce.

Anonymous said...

Home is where I pay my rent/mortgage/cash to occupy. If I buy property (or rent it) on Park Ave or Bed Sty, that's my home... I purchased the right to that land.

If you get priced out of that area/neighborhood, tough McNuggets.

As far as telling anyone to go home... the only people who have any moral standing to tell non-Native Americans to go home are Native Americans. And, if I remember correctly, we purchased the right to live on Manhattan for 10 bucks worth of beads and trinkets. Sorry, but that's how we roll.

Jill said...

I agree that the change in the rent laws has caused a lot of the tension. Unfortunately a lot of people think the answer is to eliminate the rent regulations. I think the answer is the opposite - EVERYBODY should have rights when it comes to housing.

I have to repeat that: EVERYBODY should have rights when it comes to housing. Rich and poor, everybody should have protection against unscrupulous landlords.

These kids are moving into $3000/month apartments that should be costing around $1000 and the landlord can, on a whim, not renew their lease, or raise their rent every year to whatever the fuck they want. There is no protection at all. Thus, no stability.

Once they graduate and their parent's money and student loans run out, they have to move somewhere that is real, that they can afford on a real salary, the kind most of us earn.

But if they had any rights at all, combined with reasonable rents, and the concept that they can stay in their apartments they might stay, and care about their surroundings while they're here.

And then maybe we wouldn't hate them so much.

Jeff said...

Anyone who thinks this tension between natives and newcomers is new here needs to see "Gangs of New York". It's what that film was *about*. It's been around since as long as this city has existed.

I'm a native Manhattanite (born at St. Luke's) and I admit to a certain self-righteousness about it sometimes. I do think being a native of anywhere gives you a certain right to call it yours that outsiders don't have, and will never have. That said, the East Village would never have been what it was in its glory days without outsiders. Much of the city's creativity, especially as it congeals around particular areas, comes from outsiders. Creative natives tend to stay wherever they happen to be.

But there are some outsiders that get New York and others that clearly don't. And the problem is the ones that don't get it all seem to congregate together too, and they have the power to transform whole neighborhoods. And that's called gentrification. Sometimes it happens with the encouragement of the city government, but other times not. It almost never happens with the encouragement of the natives.

spaceroom said...

one quick comment re: rent stabilization from anonymous.
some of us got leases in 1990-like myself-that were rent stabilized. that was the situation. so i lived there for 18 years and honestly ultimately my rent was as high as yours except there was a legal percentage that was the allowable annual increase-and i'm convinced my increase was as high as yours if not more. i've moved to another state because i can't afford nyc but i can say all the people that moan about stabilization=give me a break. it is not the reason rents are high in ny=it's landlord greed and need to pay the high cost to live there. i'm an urban person happy to live elsewhere and not sweat con ed, rent and walking charges. by the by-there is life beyond nyc-think of all the bands that aren't out of brooklyn..ha.

Anonymous said...

6:30 pm

What would you suggest? The "free market" system that has left housing unaffordable for nearly everyone? How about working to strengthen the rent laws and close the loopholes that Giuliani, Bloomberg and Joe Bruno have gifted to the real estate industry?

The rent stabilized tenants who moved into or were born into "undesirable' neighborhoods years ago worked hard to build communities which are now "hot real estate markets". Now many of them are living with constant landlord harassment, or have been forced out.
I should know, I have just been forced out of my neighborhood of 25 years. Unlike some of the "newcomers" who can apparently afford a $2000 studio, but just don't think it's "fair", I can't afford it. Don't worry, I won't be able to find a rent stabilized apt, either.

Bodmin said...

I think the difference lies in the nature of the newcomers. Throughout its history, from entrepreneurs from upstate villages in the 1820s to the waves of migrants from Ireland and later Italy and Eastern Europe who went through the Lower East Side and other neighbourhoods to the Blacks who came to Harlem and the Puerto Ricans who came to East Harlem, and the artists of every era who came to the Village or the Lower East Side or lofts in North Brooklyn, people came with the intention of making a new life or reputation for themselves, with their energy, ideas, talents. This is the first time there has been a mass migration to the city by a group who have it made already, who were raised with a sense of entitlement, whose whole life has been about taking.
I left NYC in the eighties, as this return from the suburbs was just beginning, when sweat equity was being replaced by pure gentrification, when the first BMWs with Reagan-Bush bumperstickers were showing up on the streets in North Brooklyn. At the time, I assumed NYC was strong enough to absorb them too, and go on being a vital melting pot. I'm not so sure now, although paradoxically maybe the market collapse will help save it. And for what comfort it may be, from a vantage point in Europe I can confirm what Knicks suggests: the 'invasion of the entitled' is not just a NYC phenomenon, but in cities all over the First World. e it in Manhattan, London or Amsterdam, one yunnie is pretty much like another.

Anonymous said...

if 'native' new yorkers weren't in general poor, uneducated, greedy, criminally inclined, illiterate morons who were forced to rely on public assistance, food stamps and rent control just to get from day to day then they could have kept New York, and it would have been just like any other 2 star city. Instead real talent and creativity and intelligence sought it out and made it what it is.

Chanting 'go home' is like the inbred southern dirt farmer trying to drive out a wealthy black family by burning a cross in their yard. No pity for those people or for 'native' new yorkers. Learn to adapt to your surroundings or die. If it wasn't for the high taxes those of us who can afford the city pay you would be cold, homeless and starving. So, you're welcome.

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Rego Park, Forest Hills, and then Great Neck. It is not written anywhere that I have a right to live in affordable, 'protected' housing in Great Neck or anywhere else. That collectivist concept that bred 'rent controls' in the Roosevelt era still seems to resonate today. Waves of low income people have been in, or were attracted to NYC, because of industries that have been here - many of which are GONE forever. So the number of low income people will also ebb (not disappear)as their progeny migrate to other more affordable areas of the US. This has little to do with rent control. You cannot maintain blocks of people in a place if the jobs aren't there. That being said, there are MANY nabes in the 5 boros that remain modestly priced. They just may not be the ones you see all the time on Gossip Girl. If it's just NYC you want to be in, look harder. Stop bemoaning trust fund kids or anybody else who is attracted here and who is willing to pay the extremely high taxes that support the overpaid and overprotected labor unions that wield disproportionate power in this city.

Anonymous said...

J, read Joan Didion's "Goodbye To All That" -- an essay written ca. 1964. Would like to know her feelings now. I saw the city change in the 80's; it became about money. Along with this has come a frightening Hubris, and waiting off-stage, is her twin, Nemesis. Would E.B. White recognize the city today? Like New Carthage, New York has become a cauldron of unholy greed.

Marlie said...

Borders shmorders--new yorkers were born here-were brought here -live here or remain here--
outsiders cannot say who a New Yorker is--a Brooklynite-Bronxite--pleeze--
you adjust to your surroundings--
bad attitude sucks everywhere--

rusty sharpedge said...

Dear Anonymous @ 9:20am,

Your utter contempt for those who are not of your own pedigree is made perfectly clear.

However, you should know that whatever amount of talent, creativity and intelligence you may have (and I'm taking your word for it) does not prevent you from exhibiting yourself here, for all to see, as a supreme douchebag.

Good day, sir.

I SAID GOOD DAY!

Jeremiah Moss said...

"goodbye to all that" is a great piece. i haven't read it in awhile. thanks for the reminder.

Anonymous said...

It's funny. I'm a 3d generation new yorker, but i've recently moved into Harlem, where, because of my skin color, i am a disdained "outsider". the fact that my grandmother lived three blocks from my current home as a child, and the fact that i went to school within 4 miles of here, my father owned and operated his business three miles from here...i'm now an unwelcome interloper.

there is truly no winning, and frankly i have no interest in trying. while i certainly appreciate everyone's sensitivity to these issues, you're wasting your time and energy. live your life, stop worrying about what other people think about you, try to be a good member of your community, and start worrying about things that actually matter.

Anonymous said...

I just don't like how the newbies refuse
to adapt to the environment they move into,
They don't respect the locals and look at us
Like we are stupid and uneducated, they think
They are "sophisticated" and smarter than us
Natives, like we are leftovers and annoying to them.

They are snobs. The reality is that my family
Sold their house because of high NY taxes and
Since everybody wants to buy here. I would say
90% of Italians are moving out to places like Jersey
And Long Island, the neighborhoods are turning Russian,
Chinese and hipster. The only people who stay are the
Jews, and they usually never leave (orthodox Jews)
As far as the white working class goes, there is no
Reason to live here and operate an auto body shop
If they can sell the building at a higher profit and pack
Up to Florida or West Coast.

It's all money. The past generations (Irish, Italians, Jews, etc) are selling their families homes and leaving the state.
These ethnic backgrounds were the majority of the white working class. This is the reality.

It's not yuppie vs old New York because old NY families
Want to collect money and ship out. The foreigners happily
Buy these properties and soon you no longer see working class people. People might be offended with this comment but the only ones remaining are the tiny percentage of white working class (parts of queens and brooklyn and bronx) and the ghetto people collecting section 8 checks.
This is as honest and real as any of the comments above.
It's all about money. When I was a kid, NYC was dangerous, now it's safe so all the money crowds want to be here. hipster, wall street executive, maine woods people moving to Brooklyn etc) NYC is found in places where they left and retired.

Anonymous said...

As a longtime LES resident (born and raised on 'the' Ave when we were the only whities)..All the new arrivals are too many too many. People, the train is too packed. The power structure here (Scuzzball Mike, Greedy Developer, Venture funds, etc) have seen fit to depopulate NYC of its long-term 'protected' residents (Thanks Emperor Mike) and the newbies are just representative of these changes (Most vitriol against the newbies is very well-earned..."I gotta have it all cause I deserve it"
Remember the slum apartment you are now paying >3K/mo was recently occupied by a rent-stabilied old person,disbled person,etc who couldnt win a war with a scuzzbal heartless mayor and his scuzzy greedy deveopler friends

Michael said...

People who come to New York often can't "go home" because they have no home to go to. Not to imply an equivalence of circumstance, but this has been true for the useless rich and the humble immigrant alike--and both and all in between have added something to the fabric of the city.

Of all the problems New York has, rootless cosmopolitanism isn't one of them.

bease said...

Before the 1920s Sutton Place was a mosquito infested slum overlooking the Smallpox Hospital until, very rapidly, a series of towers were built -- and Vanderbilts began to occupy them. Before Park Avenue was built to enclose the rail lines beneath it, it was merely a diving line between the upscale residential areas along Fifth Avenue and the blight and depression to the east. Before the 1960s the Upper West Side, excluding a few tony apartment houses on Central Park West, was a decrepit, sometimes treacherous, territory. This city is always reinventing itself. Wealth is always spreading or shrinking, expanding or contracting. Gentrified neighborhoods decay, decayed neighborhoods gentrify, and New York isn't the only city to have gone through this - just read a detailed history of London sometime. This is one the largest cities in the world, and we are all subject to the ebb and flow, so stop feeling so entitled. Just as New York's sole function should never be a playground for the noveau riche, it is not some crumbling Bohemian fantasy. As much as creativity thrives during depressed periods, it does more so when there is money around to support the endeavor.

Anonymous said...

In response to Knicks, no TV show inspired me to come here and that's the honest truth. I actually have common sense. Remember that at some point or another someone started their life somewhere else, whether its the parents of a "native" new yorker, someone who moved here 20, 10 or five years ago. But there are some of us who came here seeking something that means more than money, power or entitlement. I understand that the recent wave of newcomers have traits and mentalities that leave more to be desired, but not all of us are in that group, its not fair to loop all of us newbies in that category. Take your jaded glasses off and look around.

Someone will fight the battle after you and if you judge a book by its cover, then you overlook what the contents are. And Jeremiah the way you tell the difference between a hipster and the "next bohemian" is simply to look below the surface. :)

Robert McKintosh said...

you'll never be a new yorker unless you were born and raised here.

L'Emmerdeur said...

As a New Yorker born and raised, a New Yorker who has spent some years renting at ridiculously low rent-stabilized rates (about $550 for a renovated studio) and many more paying tourist rents for larger digs (up to $3k+ for a 1BR on University, before I wizened up this year), I'm of the opinion - one measly, humble opinion - that there is no New York birthright, nor is there a green-card-like minimum residency requirement to dub oneself a New Yorker.

If you come from one of the other states, and your first urge when you move here is to see more of the so-called "amenities" of your previous residence - Arby's, malls, sports bars, glass condo towers, etc. - then you are not, and most likely never will be, a real New Yorker.

This doesn't mean there is no place in New York for new architecture, chain stores, or flyover state paraphernalia. New York is one multi-century homage to next year's architecture trends. The problem with recent years has been that the credit-engorged developers and spazzchitects have been trying to bulldoze every last square inch of the city, regardless of worth or value, in the name of progress.

There are plenty of structures who's time had come, that were ugly, generic, and had little value, historical or aesthetic. There were plenty of other buildings whose demise was a disgrace, and the blame falls solely on the various agencies charged with preserving New York's legacy in the face of the ever-present pressure by developers and their ilk to bulldoze everything and replace it with the latest "in" thing.

So if you think tearing down neighborhoods and replacing them with glass towers should be the only theme for present and future New York, guess what, you are part of the problem, and most definitely not a real New Yorker.

If you don't agree with any of this, the real sign of a true New yorker will appear in the coming years. As the city descends into the toilet of budget deficits and rising crime, who will run for the hills? Yup, at the end of the day, no matter how harsh we are in assigning, refusing or revoking this title to denizens of this city, New York herself, a truly harsh and unforgiving mistress when the money runs out, will determine who is a real new Yorker, and who is not.

Anonymous said...

Hi Jeremiah, a native here. Got squeezed out by the high rents in 2000. I read this site even though it depresses the hell out of me. One quibble with (was it?) EB White's quote that the people who move to NYC bring the spectacular achievements & creativity, etc. I see him and raise him the Marx Brothers, Woody Allen, Jerry Seinfeld, Mae West, The Ramones, Michael Jordan, Bob Costas, Pacino, DeNiro, Scorcese and on and on and on. He's dead wrong on that point. NYC was creative foment itself, native or not.

Anonymous said...

Another point: several people have mentioned "suburbanization". I noticed it as creeping corporatization. I noticed that something was disturbingly different around when "The World" closed (a place I had never been, btw). Nothing replaced it. I knew something, some creative scene, was over and gone. And another thing is when Keith Haring died, I noticed everything felt/looked different. These are changes that went beyond high rents.

Penetration, Inc. said...

Native vs Transplant. It's really not about that, it's about attitude, appreciation, reverence, even for NYC.

What I love about natives is a social sophistication. When you live in a city that is hive/hub of races, cultures, sexual identities, where examples of each can be found on any random subway car, you can't help but realize people are people. Prejudice is for the, literally, ignorant. (Hard to find a homophobic native, for example.)

When I moved to NYC (1991), I moved from Cincinnati. Not the burbs, but a crap 4th floor walk-up on the edge of the worst part of town. I chose to live there as sort of pre-NYC boot camp, and it worked. Moving to a fifth floor walk-up in Hell's Kitchen was not a huge change and certainly not a challenge. Whereas in Cincinnati, I shopped daily at the farmers market, took the sometimes scary bus 45 minutes to work (in the burbs), and sprinted to my door at night, in NYC, frankly, life was easier and safer. Walking to work across Times Square, I felt like I'd won the lottery every day. I still marvel that I made the move and would still live nowhere else. Ever. Travel, yes, move to a bigger place, yes, leave, no. I've considered it, but fear waking up in a cold sweat in the midst of a "oh my god, what have I done" nightmare.

I moved here already with a love for the city, the grit, the glamour, that "energy" and the opportunity. It is still what keeps me here. When I moved to Hell's Kitchen, you still had to step over the occasional crack whore in the vestibule, but the whore/dealers left residents alone and I didn't mind them or feel unsafe. When I moved to the East Village a couple years later, in late 92, the neighborhood had not gone though the upheaval of the early 2000's. My apt was affordable (for $100 more, I could live alone, vs. with a roommate) and days of Starbucks and Max Brenner (which just closed: Yay!) were a ways off. Sure, I had to sprint home late at night from time-to-time, but I felt far safer than I ever did living on Court St. in downtown Cincinnati.

I came here to have an interesting life and to contribute to NYC culture. And I have. The difference now, with the majority of settlers in the East Village, seems, to me, that those moving in are moving in because they perceive the neighborhood as cool, but the bitter, bitter, irony is that now that they are here, the neighborhood is no longer cool. Or maybe that’s just me and they think they are living their “Friends” dream. Just recently a bunch of “dudes” moved into a ground floor apartment across the back yard and over three buildings from me. Every weekend, it’s loud beer blasts, “Yo!,” “Duuuude!” and that high-pitched “whoo-hooing” stupid drunk girls do. All at jawdropplingly disrespectful volume. The nerve of these guys flabbergasts me. You almost wonder if they hate their neighborhood.

The impression I get from most is that they could have moved to Murray Hill, the Upper West Side or the East Village interchangeably, but, what the hell, the EV is cool. I’m always baffled when I meet these lower level corporate cog types who are just here for work and could easily move to Dallas or Denver next, as if NYC has made no impression. Or worse, they hate the city. (Which is just as well, they should leave for all our sakes.) They miss the generic “Carriage Trace” suburban condo complex, their Saturn, the city block sized Biggs stores and fat couples in matching Juicy Couture.

Meanwhile, I continue to appreciate the city every day. From relishing lunch at B&H, to hamentashens from Moishe’s, to taking the 7 to Little India, museums, seeking out great parties, to reading in Stuyvesant park. I’ll never be able to give the city what it’s given me, but I hope I have–and continue to–contribute. And, P.S. the neighborhood inspired me to make a matzoth ball soup that I’ll put up next to that of any third generation kitchen.

I also posted a comment about the David Barton Gym “No Pecs No Sex” post.

SnuggleBunny said...

I'm a native of the LES, and I too want cats to go home. Like, PLEASE go home. Why can't you do your "thing" where you came from? This ain't Friends. If you come here and wanna work in a coffee shop and live in Bed Stuy, I'm ok with it if you get mugged. Far as I'm concerned, you're asking for it because you're here to "do the NY thing" because you've "always wanted to be here."

People like Jeremiah and friends of mine from far flung places who came here and actually MAKE something of themselves and get INVOLVED in the City as opposed to getting engrossed in a scene and being cool, hip, nouveau riche, or whatever get a pass.

They're the kind of people the City needs to remain vital. Everyone else makes me borderline homicidal.

Wear your skinny jeans...or drink your lattes IN YOUR OWN FUCKING TOWN. You have Levis and hair wax and Saks and Starbucks there, too! YOU'RE NOT AN ARTIST. YOU'RE NOT INTERESTING OR COOL. Please leave my neighborhood and stop driving up my rent, ASAP. Kthxbai.

You used to have to actually BE the best of the best to make it here. Now all you need is a trust fund. I'm sick of all you bitches with highlights and Tiffany jewelry going out in packs wearing identical party dresses to go to a shitty EV bar. I hate the way you laugh and I hate your ugly Tory Birch flats, they look like waterbugs.

I'm tired of you hipsters with your dirty ass hair and your ugly skeletal men and your cankled frumpy girls in bangs and big glasses. You're not at all interesting, unique, intelligent, or well rounded on the topic of anything. Your taste in music actually SUCKS, there is nothing superior about a fixed gear bike except for the sincere belly laugh I get every time I see one of you jerks eat it ass over handle bars on the street, chunky glasses flying. and when your dad stops paying your rent, how are you gonna afford that iphone AND artisan cheese? Your men look like trans women. Your women look like 10lbs of shit in a 5lb paisley sack with leggings.

The punks who summer on Ave A need to go home to their fucking mothers and have the maid who raised them pick the lice out of their disgusting locks before they go to rehab for the winter. Ask me for my change again, and you're going to get the same wad of spit flying your way I gave the last guy, because I fucking WORK and I pay my own way. CT is calling. Go home.

In short, most transplants ADD N O T H I N G to this City, and are an utter waste.

**end of angry rant for the day**

Jeremiah Moss said...

thanks snugglebunny. you scare me a little bit, but i love that so much biting anger is coming out of someone called "snugglebunny."

J:Lai said...

Everyone likes to think that of themselves as the exception to the rule - other transplants are worthless douchebags but you are a special snowflake.

The transplant issue is a smokescreen and a distraction. I have met people born and raised in NYC who really don't seem like they belong here. I met a guy once who grew up in Manhattan, he had lived all around the world, was 30 yrs old at the time I met him, and it was his first time ever setting foot in Brooklyn. Personally, I was neither born nor raised in New York, but I am New York to the core and I don't let anybody tell me otherwise. period.

My point is that trying to prove your city cred by comparing who has lived here longer, or whatever, is just as lame as comparing who has a more expensive apartment or who listens to more obscure music. Don't get hung up on the labels; deep down you know if you are real or not.

sk said...

Very enjoyable post and comments too. I've lived in New York for 7 years.

I agree with some of Snugglebunny's comments (even though he/she may want me to leave!) Especially about Tory Burch-WHY do so many girls here wear her shoes? They are horrendous.

I want the women here to stop wearing the uniform. Oversized dark glasses, black clothes from head to toe, and Tory Burch shoes. Is there nothing else to wear?!

Anonymous said...

philly naitive that transplanted to NYC many years ago here.

all you self righteous 'natives' that miss how things used to be should go move to philly. haven't you wondered where rudy sent all the crackheads, hookers, and homeless? all they're waiting for is for you to show up and complete the picture. couple that with 1980's rents, it's everything you're looking for. adios!

Anonymous said...

i am a native new yorker, 37 years. back to the 1880s on both sides (my father's family came from elsewhere in the u.s., my mother's off the boat). mother born in brooklyn, raised in queens, father, early childhood washington heights and elsewhere in manhattan. but because i do not speak with an outer borough accent (I grew up in manhattan in the 70's), I am accused by "natives" of not being from here! some broad screamed at me for not being a native because i wasn't willing to scream at the token booth clerk on her behalf (she was on the other side of the turnstile). That's fine with me. but now i live in brooklyn, in an interesting neighborhood that is gentrifying (parts were always that way) and I fully expect one of the "locals" (whose family came to this country from the carribean or mississipi or wherever in the 60's) to shout me down as some sort of white interloper (it's assumed if you're white and not russian that you're some sort of yuppie from kansas who just moved in), even though this is the same neighborhood my mother was born in in the 30's.

Anonymous said...

it makes me want to perpetuate petty crime so that they will go home faster-- who are all these jocks in my neighborhood? growing up it was just drunks and bums and though really scary i prefer it to this anyday-- maybe we need to recruit some real crazies and return it to the days of riots (i was there for the rodney king ones) and general lawlessness. on that note watching the movie 'kids' makes me really sad for the new york that i grew up in. now it is just a shopping district. it all got perverted after 9/11, and all the increased police presence, meaning me and my friends couldnt smoke a blunt on the street....thats when the whities or 'yunnies' (which i suppose is more politically correct) decided it was safe to move in. fuck them! i want my city back. this one is false.

Anonymous said...

I'm very late to comment here so who knows if anyone is still following this. I am a 30-year-old "native new yorker" as some of you like to say. Since my Irish immigrant ancestors arrived here back in the 1800's. Originally Brooklyn, but later on Manhattan, where i currently am living (and never leaving) But anyway, with that "cred" out of the way, i gotta say you all sound like a bunch of old farts! Every generation of old people sits around complaining about the young wippersnappers that are "ruining" what they thought was cool. Like Archie Bunker sitting on his chair complaining about the newer generation. You people really need to hear yourselves. I'm young but i am definitely NOT a hipster and personally don't care for that whole thing but what city are you living in? You make it sound like they are all over the place. Sure I am too young to have really experienced the grittier times but things are not THAT bad now. You're all exaggerating. And OLD. Some of you are right, it IS time to pick up and move out. To an old age home where you can sit around with others and complain all day. THIS young native new yorker thinks YOU guys are a real drag. Like i said, the whole hipster or the "bottle-service" types are really not my scene. I'm just a regular laid back girl. And I feel what makes me a "REAL" new yorker is that i am accepting of new types of people. Who the f*ck cares? Oh and my family of 3 is surviving here in midtown on $55K a year. We have been for years now. So i am FAR from rich. And no, i am not in a rent-controlled place. I don't care if rich people move into the city. So what? I welcome all types. It's what makes NYC a melting pot....remember that term?

And said...

To Anonymous (Jan 29)

Your comment is the flipside to the kvetching. Much as I hate to see beloved mom-and-pops go or daddy's little mess puking her cosmo's out on First Ave., New York has always been about change. So was Rome. It's the rhythm of the city and the very thing that provides the electric air so many are addicted to.

Pick what you love, avoid what you hate, educate the idiots (some are nice, but just stupid) but, frankly, hold on to your attitude. I'll tolerate, but certainly not embrace the fratdouches or puking princesses who've moved into my neighborhood (East Village). These people aren't worth ruining your NYC experience and if they threaten it--say like have a bro-bash in the backyard at 1AM, do something about it.

I am curious as to what advice Anonymous has for those who've found their once quiet apt now overlooks some new loud fratty douchebar across the street or hotel patio like those now trapped above The Cooper Square Hotel bar. http://vanishingnewyork.blogspot.com/2009/05/notes-from-backside.html
(They're not rich either, so I'm guessing moving is not an option.)

All said, personally, even on my worst day, I'd rather be here than anywhere else. I find comfort in that we live pretty much today the same way, with the same complaints as those who lived in 5 story walk-ups on Rome 2000 years ago. City life for better or worse has not changed since and it's likely it won't change any century soon.

And FAH-UCK this native New Yorker dick-swinging. One's behavior (and contribution to life in NYC) dictates whether you are a true New Yorker or not. Some, like myself, came to NYC and took to it like a fish to water (for the first 2 years I felt like I'd won the lottery), others need a minute in the airlock and for others is just a stop along the career path. New York is a city of immigrants and its those people who come to NYC on a mission that make the city what it is. There are super cool people who arrived 2 years ago and there are total douchebags who're "born and raised." Zip it up.

As far as "old" goes, a big part of what makes NYC so great is its wealth of creative people of all ages and frankly, there are busloads of 50+ New Yorkers light-years cooler than any hiptard.

Oh, and I'm not Anonymous. I'm Andy and there should be a link here to more about me.

Polite New York Native said...

Well there s a million and a half great natives. And just for arguments sake: If you moved to Paris, and lived there for 20 years, are you Parisian? Different country so it doesn t count? Fine.

Well don t be so mad that we natives think of you as live-in guests (And we all do think that, it s not a bad thing to be though!), imagine you tried to move to Texas and said in your Yankee accent "All these Dick-Swingin' Texans need to recognize that we are Texans too!" They will definitely scoff at you, so please, allow us to be as we are. We know your hometown sucked, but remember you come in the MILLIONS to our humble little home.

Drink and be merry, have fun! But just remember, the house we grew up in literally gets pissed on constantly. Think what it would be like if New York s craziness was right all over your front lawn, in your neighbors backyard by the bbq pit, you d be on edge too.

Polite New York Native said...

P.S. I love the site!

There s nothing to be ashamed of from being born somewhere else. That s what I ll never understand. Who cares if you re from Alabama and you lived here for 20 years? Say you re from Alabama! Being from somewhere different will always be a more interesting thing than being from "the block".

I don t really even want to be a New Yorker, I wish I was experiencing it as a wide-eyed adult, rather than growing up in it, seriously!

But it s funny to think that most "locals" are the only ones up in arms about the whole "new guys" scene, while us natives sit back and watch you guys duke it out :P.

Just enjoy yourselves, life s too short to worry about the "Old New York". Hey and guess what? In ten years, THIS will be the "Old New York"

Gardiner said...

I just want to say, as a "native", that I love that people want to move here and that it means so much to them and changes their lives forever. I wish I had that. I wholeheartedly believe that I know this city more deeply because I grew up here. I sort of have an innate urban sense but I try really hard not to wear that as a chip on my shoulder, because I know how arrogant it looks. (I've gotten in trouble for that in the past). There are definitely things I can't stand about what people who move here do- adopting Brooklyn as their home as if they're part of some timeless cultural hub when they're really just wearing a pink "Brooklyn" hoodie and living in Park Slope; instructing me about New York's character; and looking at me like I'm some rare insect for having grown up here.
But honestly, when I really think about it, this is a REALLY hard place to live, probably more so for newcomers, and I don't really blame them for working so hard at fitting in. I've really tried to come to peace with this issue, because, it's true, people who move here give this city vitality.

Anonymous said...

Native New Yorkers can not only deliver a passion -- they instinctively know how to "do the right thing" by neighbors. Community spirit right down to 'taking in' a trash pail or clearing snow from 100s of feet of sidewalks for elderly. What 'passion' comes from self-focus, in comparison - of those that do for themselves, essentially. Then, leave ultimately vs. those that have put down roots and form the bedrock?

bea said...

I was born in Brooklyn third generation,my father was born in South Carolina and lived here 28 yrs and we wouldn't call him a New Yorker cause he was born elsewhere.
Growing up in what is now trendy hipster Boerum Hill Brooklyn 1951 until I left in 1987, kids who I went to school with that were born in another country but raised in Bklyn since young. we would be the ones to honor them by calling them New Yorkers or Brooklynites cause they grew up in the streets and school yards together. where ever I go I carry my Brooklyn accent with pride, I am not no Jerseynite, I am not no Bostonian, I am not no Jamaican, I am not no frigging Chicagoan. those who are born elsewhere you cant label yourself a New Yorker no matter how much you pay for rent.

Anonymous said...

I moved here in 1984 from Milwaukee & fulfilled a lifelong dream. I've wanted to live in NYC all my life, since I was a child. It's proved to be everything I hoped and feared. My NYC influences? MAD Magazine, Barney Miller, All About Eve, On The Town, the Marx Brothers - anarchy, rebellion, excitement, creativity, music, theatre. Now the city's becoming as bland and regimented as what I left behind.

anonXsize2 said...

snuggle bunny (s.k.): i wear skinny jeans (under boots), big sun glasses, tiffany rings, black. i am a few generations older than you. (dont hate me because i am beautiful snuggie. & i make no apologies, i still look good. we know YOU don't). what does a "cool" person wear? tell me the accepted uniform for all age ranges. i was born in new york lived here most of my life. i was featured & interviewed on "jeremiahs vanishing new york". maybe he should have taken a fashion inventory before interviewing me? or asked for a photo so i would not offend his readers? or maybe there's just too many 20 something kids commenting, you sound like your 16! grow up. ladies go shopping.

slrb said...

there is a big difference between rent "controlled" & rent "stabilization." (its rent control which is bad, thats from world war 2, the same apts were kept the same rents for 40 yrs). "stabilization" is a normal protection, e for a long term tenent. you know how much your rent will go up each time you renew the lease. when you move OUT, they can raise it to what they want for the new tenent. people cant have the rent doubled & tripled each year. then they have to move out. i had 3 yr renewable leases in new york. raised each time i renewed.

anonX said...

snuggie, or is it sk? which tory burch flats are you referring too? the ones w/the logos? in that case i side w/sk. people who wear logos should be restrained to long island or jersey, or let out on weekends in restricted areas. i cant say "like the old days"........cause we had no logos in those days. we didnt even have the word lo-go. but people knew their place. & they restrained themselves, it was organic. for all of you (& your limited perspective): there were ALWAYS tacky people in new york. always!!!! its not a new thing. they just move to neigborhoods that they did not before. the difference is that we have women in the workplace, & transglobal corporations which bring more people to work here. lifestyle trends have changed. also there were always younger people with the latest trends (what was it snug? paisley sacks over leggings?), this is not knew. who ever said the hippie thing was a good look? last thing dummies, there were ALWAYS trust fund kids in new york always. this is not new. box & chain stores have taken over the world. so why would they NOT be in nyc? the only "news" here is 1) luxury condos in working class areas. 2) & "i" dress like a "skinny bitch in jeans & rings"- darling thank you ive never quite heard it that way!

Jeff said...

In Hawaii, I hear they they don't accept you as true Hawaiian until you're 2nd or 3rd genration.

What's necessary to be a true New Yorker? You just have to want it. There's no other city on the planet that so lives up to the much touted ideaology of America as a place of equal opportunity than our little spot. Cynnical, yeah, but not hypocritical, like so much of the rest of the country.
People come to New York--more even than the country itself-- because they "yearn to breathe free" in a way they can't do anywhere else. Those people should always be welcome whether they've been here for a day or a decade.

But yeah, there are a ton of others who really need to be sent packing. it has nothing to do with wealth or culture or lack of it. It has to do with their unwillingness to honor and respect the city. They move here but don't accept the place as it is, and don't respect other people who live here. They want to paint it over in a way that makes them feel at home--and they don;t belong here.

Anonymous said...

I'll tell you what really gets me rolling on the floor laughing -- people who think that being born somewhere is some kind of achievement and a badge of superiority to lord over others.

Born and raised in NYC? NOT IMPRESSED.

Spiritross said...

Fascinating piece and the comments over the years are just as interesting ranging from the smug with no perspective to the open and welcoming of all scenarios.
Am I a New York becuase my dutch ancestors 400 years ago had their farm graveyard distillery on what is now the area between the newton creek to flushing ave west of the Onderdon property surrounding what is now the Morgan stop on the subway?
Am I not a New Yorker because I was born in New Haven?
Am I a New Yorker because I have lived here now for 13 years longer than any other place I have lived?
Am I not a new Yorker becuase I have moved so much in the area and even lived in Yonkers for 2 years thus not being in the city technically?
Am I a New Yorker because my mother and grandparents are from Crown Heights Brooklyn and Kingsbridge Bronx?
Am I not a New Yorker cause i didn't come here till I was 18?
Am I a New yorker becuase my great-great-grandfather was a Socialist radical starting unions in the village around 1911?
This is the land of my blood and yet I was not born and raised here.

Though i know this - after over 400 years of history - no one culture owns any neighborhood in the city becuase that culture replaced a different culture over time and will be replaced in turn.

New Yorkers come and go and the city is razed and built but the city continues and cares not for any of these ephemeral concepts.

-sidenote- I feel that the people that say EB white's concept of the 3rd New Yorker doesn't exist anymore should realize that there is no class requirement to dream and thus that New Yorkers has and always will exist - just look at North brooklyn in the past 10 years - the conterculture that formed is exactly that - just because it holds such negative subjective opinion - doesn't mean it is not the same thing. The kid from Ohio trying to start a band is exactly 21st century adaptation of the playwright mentioned by White.


Thanks for the inspiration, great blog.

Carter Stevens said...

I grew up in New Jersey but I spent every weekend in High school singing folk songs in Washington Sq. Park. After college I moved to a loft in Chelsea and lived in that area for over 20 years.By then it was the mid 80s and to escape the drug habit of the day (cocaine) I moved to the Poconos where I have lived ever since. But when someone asks where I'm from I still say New York. New York isn't a place it's a state of mind.
Carter

Native NYer said...

Of course anyone who lives here is a New Yorker. But natives like myself laugh when recent arrivals say that something is "so New York". Wait till the post-Bloomberg crime wave really gets into gear. These people will be gone in a flash.

Anonymous said...

It's fact. You're not born here, you're not a New Yorker. I don't get it - my girlfriend is from Chicago. She moved here 17 years ago to attend college and stayed here and still considers herself a Chicagoan.

I'm a lifelong New Yorker, but the city is barely a shell of its former self. To be honest, I get a slight tinge of happiness of that irony - that so many hipsters and wanna bes move here but they missed it and they'll never get to experience the real New York.

One day the hipsters will tire of it all when the trust funds run out and Williamsburg will be a ghost town. Run hipsters, run.

Melanie said...

@anon 12:45--you have a valid point...they missed it--cause we really know what was going on then..and it wasn't pretty and it wasn't smart--it was.
When I was in the Caribbean--if you were not born there--you were considered generically "foreign" and it wasn't the nicest term.

sallie parker said...

They're pushing a line about Alan Gilbert being "the first native New Yorker" to lead the Philharmonic. Well Alan Gilbert is half Japanese! Technically you can define "native" as having been born within the city limits, but that's an abuse of a technical definition, I say. We need to enforce the three-generation rule again.

Mikey said...

Let's play who's a new yorker with Mikey's family.

A few generations of my family.

Who's a new yorker, who's not?

My Grandpa - born in Hungary, moved to the L.E.S at 2. Grew up in Brooklyn went to Boys High in Bed Stuy. Moved to L.I after WWII. Lived there and died there.

New Yorker or Hungarian?

My mom born in Brooklyn, grew up in L.I.? Got sick of the cold went to Florida. New Yorker?

New Yorker or Floridian?

My brother...born in Roma, moved to Queens around 3? Worked for the city fixing up the Brooklyn Bridge? New Yorker?

Romano or Queens kid?

Me - born in Long Beach, L.I. Spent my childhood after 10 moving to CA, FL, MA and back to NY at 22. Lived in Manhattan, BK, and Queens for the last ten years and probably will forever as it's the only place in America that doesn't make me claustrophobic.

Long Island Brat or Transient?

My daughter born in Bellevue two years ago, lived in Manhattan for a year and a half. Now in Queens...

City girl or Queens chick?

Strange that my family that's not in Italy are mostly from in or around the five boroughs, but by many may not be considered New Yorkers.

Who gives a shit! Still we got that fucking accent.

Sidenote: Who cares what anybody thinks? That's the biggest lesson here worth learning. If you're from Oklahoma or Ontario...I guess your from Oklahoma or Ontario, but still you can make a big bang here on broadway, just don't sing too loud if you're down the hall from those showtunes give me a headache...

Nice work Jeremiah. Keep reminding us....wait what were you reminding us again...love this blog...

Anonymous said...

I have lived in NYC all my life. The invasion of those I think of as "Connecticut" or "Scarsdale" people - and I realize this should by now include the children of billionaires from all around the world - has been a source of great dismay, fury and sorrow for me over the years.

This is how long the fight has been going on: I wrote a letter to then Mayor Ed Koch begging him to institute commercial rent control. I got a letter back saying he would never do such a thing. I was protesting how, under his administration, wonderful, successful East Village restaurants were closing because the landlords were able to triple their rent.

I remember when we New Yorkers laughed at the idea that there would ever be a chain store in Manhattan. We were flabbergasted when the first of them: Seaman's Furniture (where K-Mart then settled, at Astor Place), suddenly appeared. Seaman's Furniture: a place we'd heard of only in the excited blathering of radio ads urging us to visit Paramus, New Jersey! Then came that McDonalds on Third Avenue. I don't remember which came next, but come they did, as you all know.

Here's the only thing that gives me solace. Like a lot of you, I'm a lifer. I can't imagine living anywhere else. In short, I'm stuck here, even though I'm in a love-hate relationship with this town at this point. Here's the solace: I traveled out to San Francisco, LA and Seattle last summer, and guess what? New York is STILL better than those places. San Francisco is cool enough, but California's bankruptcy has left the state's cities and towns damaged and dirty, reminiscent of the 70's, but not in a good way. (I lived through the 70's. Trust me, it was great in many ways, but it was also disgusting and dangerous.) San Francisco is filthy and not even particularly affordable, and LA - well, no New Yorker worth his salt would consider moving there (Woody Allen be praised!). Worse, along with Seattle, these cities are shockingly provincial. The truth is there is no place in this country that even comes close to New York. So guess what, folks? There ain't no place else to go! (Well, maybe Prague, or Paris, or Rome or London? The only way to go might be east,"across the pond.")

Anonymous said...

No, I'm a real NYer. NO, I'm a REAL New Yorker!! Pathetic. Nobody cares, especially not the new transplants that have taken the title of New Yorker without your permission. Guess what else... nobody cares if they do, after all they are the new-New Yorkers. The Frankish hoards have overwhelmed the gates. Get out while you are virile enough to build a new life in a more dynamic and less socioeconomically stratified city.

Anonymous said...

To me, here's my rule:

If you were born here, NYer.
If you came with your family at a young age, NYer.
If you moved at an older age with family, wife, and intended to plant your life and family here...NYer.

If you are a hiopster, yuppie wanna-be from the sticks who came here in your twnenties to "be a New Yorker", trying all too hard to be a theater-going, art-opening, cocktail-dfrinking caricature from the 1940s with your vinyl records playing in your soho flat...Go home, you are not a New Yorker.

Anonymous said...

I didn't know about this blog back then (wow can't believe it was 4 years ago) when I saw taking over, I loved this show and wish it ran longer, there was definitely a clear divide in the audience with New Yorkers cheering and clapping and non new yorkers looking around uncomfortably. But I just wanted to say I grew up here and up until recently I never had any animosity towards people who came from someplace else, of course my parents came from someplace else, it's not the issue that people move from someplace else, it's the entitled snide snotty brattiness of recent newcomers, the fact that they are unaware that they are cashing in on their racial and class privilege and hurting people who lived here when they would have turned their nose up, when they ran for the suburbs, and oh how I wish they were still doing that.

Brian Dubé said...

I fall into that third category. I first came here for college in 1969, having wanted to move here for a long time. Where I grew up, in the small town of Bristol, Connecticut, people were scared of New York City. Too big, too dangerous, filled with con men. My high school guidance counselor described it as a concrete jungle, but this enticed me even more.

I eventually started my business in 1975 and have remained here ever since. I knew the city was the place for me before I even moved here, and over 40 years later I'm still exploring this jungle and its inhabitants and documenting it all here: http://www.newyorkdailyphoto.com/nydppress

Am I a not a real New Yorker because I wasn't born here? What is the definition of "real New Yorker" anyway?

Anonymous said...

Admittedly, I have only read about 20 comments here but all of them - even the one's by native New Yorkers - do not seem to actually be concerned with the city at all.

Reading between the lines, the horrible things people are spitting out seem to cater to their desperate need to feel like they're better than the person standing next to them.

I don't understand how people can say they truly love the city and they are the real New Yorkers because they've lived here since birth yet in the same sentence use their beloved city to engender hate and to satisfy the vapid urge to feel superior. I want to admire the love and passion people these commenters have for New York but I fail to understand how the hatred spawned from it is a good thing for them.

Furthermore, to me, one of New York's greatest traits is its ability to change. Everyone here claiming they miss the real New York only means they miss the New York that was there when they were growing up. New York existed before you and it was different before you. The world changes, things change, and while there's nothing wrong with nostalgia, I think it's quite odd that people act like it isn't one of the only constant parts of life.

One last gripe to the native New Yorkers claiming they are better than those who move here: you were born here purely on chance and not of your own choice or doing. You don't get brownie points for being born here, sorry.

disgusted transplant said...

You know what makes a real New Yorker? People with tenacity. People with a willingness to roll with the punches and stand their ground and make their own life and happiness. True individuals, not the whiney fucking pukes commenting on this post, many of whom moved out fifteen years ago and yet still feel qualified to judge transplants who came here yesterday. I moved here 8 months ago and I'm working in a corporate job and living in Astoria, and I'm not leaving. Suck my dick.

john mcpeake said...

i live in montreal but my hart and soul are in nyc.. i believe that i am more a native than some of the born here.s are. i care about the state of the chelsea. i dislike bloomberg but i am concerned that there does not appear to be anyone in the wings. home is where the heart is and i am fortunate that i am able to spend a month or so a year visiting my heart.

Uh Shadooby said...

I too am a native NYer. Second generation on one side; too far back to know on the other. City (Manhattan) people as far back as we can trace.

Like most natives I was born and raised in a family neighborhood. As another poster said - I grew up in "the city in the 70s", which to us meant only Manhattan, and "have little accent" which absolutely confuses non natives.

I walked to grammar school, took the bus or subway to high school and returned home after college. Upon my return, and to this day, I was/am told by too many close minded transplants or people who visited Times Square once (the new one, of course) that "no one grew up in the city". That silly statement is just one example of why real NYers get frustrated with others. But I digress.

Long story short - After a one year seperation from my beloved NY, for my career & a bit of change, in Chicago, I moved to company HQ in California and I have lived in CA for well over a decade.

Here's my point -- when asked where I live or where am from I always say "I am a NEW YORKER LIVING IN CALIFORNIA". I never respond "I am a Californian" or "that I am from CA". Neither is true. But I will say "I live in CA" because that is true. I adore my NY roots and I love my current home but no matter how much I adapt, embrace or embody my current surroundings I am first and foremost a NY in another location and always will be. Those are just the facts of the matter.

Be proud of your origins people! America vast and as a whole is a great country. It took courage to relocate to the big bad city. (okay, that only applies to those of us who remember the gritty 70s/80s/even the early 90s.)

Stop trying to disguise your roots by saying you are a NYer after: 2 months, 2 years, 2 decades. Sorry, but you are not.

Born and bread natives like my siblings, cousins, classmates, neighborhood pals, etc, and their children who remain in NY are true NYers.

Be FROM where you are actually FROM and embrace the fact that you choose to LIVE in NY.

Anonymous said...

Funny comments, but let me add my 2 cents. I was born in NYC, Manhattan to be exact and grew up there, even graduated from college there. Now the ONLY address that has NY, NY on it is Manhattan, so to me and "Native" New Yorkers. That is the only definition. If you were from Queens you were a Queenite, Bronite, etc. And every laughed if you had the misfortune of being from Staten Island.
I remember times square before it became Disneyland for the Tourists. Yeah parts of it were seedy, and there were porn shops up and down 8th ave. But you know what it WAS new york, not this bullshit artificial Disney crap we have now. Now all the outsiders have pushed out most of the natives due to high rents, and such. So you want to know what a new yorker is, someone born and bred in manhattan, not some carpet bagger! If I moved to Japan and lived there for 50 guess what I'm not Japanese, and you are not a new yorker!

Anonymous said...

I was born 25 miles north of NYC. Went to college upstate
and commuted into the city prior to leaving 33 years ago. I wasn't a Texan nor am I a north Carolinian. I will always be a new Yorker, albeit not from NYC. My accent gives me away and others don't let me forget where i'm from and why would I want to?

I believe where you grew up shaped you and if you are from iowa and live in ny then you are an Iowan residing in ny.

laura r. said...

way back in 2008 someone commented on patti smith. FYI she is from queens. you're right about allen ginsberg being from jersey, but "we" consider that NY. ok this attitude is attitude. we get that after 4 generations. (just kidding).

Dave said...

I'm from suburban NJ and I lived in the city for 5 years age 25-30 from 98-'02, then moved back to NJ. One thing that really used to bug me was when some shithead around my age who moved here from Iowa/Ohio wherever a year ago prior complained about or mocked "Bridge and Tunnel" people.

You see, when they were in High School, the same weekends they spent doing donuts at the parking lot of a Wal Mart, MY friends and I were taking the PATH into the city buying drugs, seeing shows, etc. I was drinking in NYC bars before I even had a drivers license. Ironically most of the "native NYers" I knew who actually grew up in the city in the 80s and early 90s couldn't move out of there fast enough.

Anonymous said...

I never considered native New Yorkers to be New Yorkers because of mutual hostility. Manhattan was still wonderful in the early 80's (when I was a teenager) but those of us with native NYC Queens, Brooklyn, or Bronx accents were held in contempt by "chic" Manhattan transplants and denied entrance to anything fun (if they could). Of course women and gay men always sought us guys out when they wanted REAL sex and/or a cop or fireman. It got out of hand, so now I don't even care anymore that Manhattan has been wiped as bland as a clean blackboard by rich executives who just want an apartment close to the office. I can't enjoy Manhattan anymore, but at least neither can those out-of-town slinky artsy women and gay ghetto snots. Let nobody but the nobodies have Manhattan now. -J.T.

Anonymous said...

My first sentence was meant to read: "I 'only' considered native New Yorkers..." I apologize for that. -J.T.

Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...
To me, here's my rule:

If you were born here, NYer.
If you came with your family at a young age, NYer.
If you moved at an older age with family, wife, and intended to plant your life and family here...NYer.

If you are a hiopster, yuppie wanna-be from the sticks who came here in your twnenties to "be a New Yorker", trying all too hard to be a theater-going, art-opening, cocktail-dfrinking caricature from the 1940s with your vinyl records playing in your soho flat...Go home, you are not a New Yorker."

"Go home, you are not a New Yorker." you tell me.

May I plead my case?

I first lived in a women's hotel in the East 30s, then permanently moved to an SRO in the East Village. I loved that I could feed, dress myself, furnish my apartment, make friends, and bask in the wonderment of a great city.

Anyway. The SRO was beautiful, and home to a bunch of oldtimers and me! Musicians, actors, a recovering drug addict, a dancer, a retired model, a fortune teller, an aspiring fashion designer, a psychologist and a few sex workers as well. We all got on fine, left our doors unlocked when we used the communal bathroom.

The owner/landlord passed, and the new owner kind of illustrated in microcosm what happened to the East Village.

The quirky stuccoed walls and original art were eliminated. The hallways were papered with Laura Ashley floral wallpaper (I kid you not) and all the original art (many quite valuable pieces, the original owner was an art collector) was sequestered somewhere. The fresh flowers that the old owner took pride in having in the lobby were replaced by fake ones. The beautiful tin ceiling in the communal bathroom was plastered over. And in my last days before eviction, I discovered the charming SRO I knew and lived in for 24 years was being marketed on the internet as a dorm. The website even lists what sort of tenants they are targeting: students and interns.

Anyway, I accidentally became an opera singer and an actress, a result of living near the Ottendorfer Library and the Amato Opera Theater. Having lived in the EV for so long, I became friends with other actors, directors and artists. So I did attend openings and cocktail parties to support my friends. I did listen to records--my record player, which I still have, was from a junk shop on Great Jones Street. My records came mostly from the second-hand shop (now closed) on 7th or sales from the Ottendorfer.

So the landlord who evicted me, because he married and settled down here, raised his children (who are now training to be landlords themselves in buildings he has bought) is by your definition a New Yorker, and I am not.

Anyway, I hope you consider my case before telling me to "go home". Right now I don't really have one, a true one in my heart, which is what I consider a real home. A place to call home. I lived here from age 21 to 45.

I miss New York.

--Former East Villager

laura r. said...

if you are from newark you are a new yorker like alan ginsburg. dont listen to the author. if you are from queens like patty smith you are a new yorker. certainly dont listen to the author because he claims she is from chicago. wrong! she moved there when she got married. then returned to NY. @ one rime if you were from brooklyn some people didnt consider you a new yorker. but i can do a list of several hundred NY & international icons from brooklyn. there you go i said it.

Anonymous said...

The Lenape Native Americans are the true New Yorkers, all the others are f. interlopers.