*This post and all of its comments were lost by Google's Blogger. This is a recreation of it.*
With over 50 comments, we’ve had a lively exchange in the discussion thread on the post about the Ideas for a New City Festival. To recap:
A few people noted that aspects of the fair made them want to vomit, but many agreed it wasn’t “all bad” and expressed an appreciation of the basic values: sustainability, healthy food, and the anti-corporate stance. Still, overall, commenters think the hyper-gentrification of the city is getting out of hand.
Koolhaas preaches destruction at the Fest. Read here.
Lots of people critiqued the artisanalization, Portlandization, suburbanization, “WTFification” of the city. Bowery Boogie said the fest seemed like a “Brooklyn takeover.” And Erika pleaded, “Stop trying to turn NYC into Portland, please. I enjoy escaping into the countryside from NYC sometimes, but I like the clear boundaries.” One transplanted Portland (PDX) resident said they came to New York because “i wanted to be in an interesting city that i was not going to colonize. i don't understand how this pdx'ing of this city is happening. i moved away from there to get away from it.”
Joe from NYCArts disagreed with these sentiments, saying, "What could possibly be wrong with adding a little of the 'college life in the Pacific Northwest'?" He stated that the ideas at the fest are "the only type of thinking that will save us from nasty, scary things like Fox News, suicide bombers and international chaos."
What's the artisanalization really about? Read here.
Several commenters called attention to the economic inequity in many of the festival ideas. City of Strangers said, "This artisanal thing...what's remarkable is how most make almost no attempt to cater to the non-gentrifying class." Said esquared, "some of the ideas at the festival were great, but unless they are affordable to the most nyers…they'll remain just an idea.” Anonymous pointed out that the hipster artisan business is a “purposively design-intensive, customized-ingredient businesses...obviously. To be profitable, they have to charge premium prices. Their customer base necessarily consists, at least in great part, of the monied bobos who follow in their train."
At least one Anonymous pointed out the racial inequity, saying, "New York has been so over-developed that it’s turned from brown (and I mean all shades of that) to green.”
Bryan wanted to know which is the lesser of two evils, asking, “Artisanal foodies vs hedgefund managers--which would you rather have move into your building?” In response, Teri said she’s ready to plant seeds with the foodies and LSR quipped, "whether its some $40 pilates class, $80 ‘spa’ pedicures, $20 soaps, made in the rain forest by indigenous tribal oppressed- please...... if its ‘that’ OR a burger king, i will take ‘that.’ but those limited options kill NYC."
The local chicken you're about to enjoy--watch the parody here.
As for solutions and alternative ideas, commenters had a few suggestions. EV Grieve hopes “the city of the future includes a decent place for take-out Chinese on my block. And a laundromat." Ken Mac agreed, adding to the list “a locksmith, bookstore, and someone who sharpens knives.” JAZ would like to see newcomers to the city assimilate into the existing culture, instead of using “NYC as a coffee table conversation piece.” Bryan suggested, “Why not offer 50% discounts at Whole Foods and the Greenmarkets to people in section 8 housing? And bring back Guss's Pickles?” Anonymous said, “if everyone got on board with csas, community gardening, local production, the costs could be much lower and it could truly be a sustainable model.”
Bryan also offered a compromise: “I'd like to see the return-to-earthers who want to take up traditional trades as a means of personal or spiritual fulfillment do so by apprenticing with old-timers--the old-school barbers, butchers, cobblers, repair shops that still exist. Is it possible to convince the entrepreneurial hipsters that neighborhoods already have existing social structures worth protecting, rather than replicating in boutique form?”
Jill kind of summed it up, saying, “If this represents the present/future, then maybe what we saw at that festival, all in one place, is a new definition of ‘urban.’” She asks, "has NY truly entered a phase where all problems are solved, so we can now waste our time and money on very expensive micro-greens and fancy ass pickles and other things that define the new white urban culture crave?"
So, more questions than answers. Based on what we’re seeing today, what will the future city be like? What does urban mean today? Are all the problems really solved? What kind of future city do you want to live in? In the Morton's Fork dilemma of "hipster artisan or hedgefunder," can we imagine any other choices?