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A Faceless New York (Part 2)

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The welcome mat to New York’s proverbial ‘melting pot’ has long been weathered and worn. In the past couple of decades, those from the outskirts of this country seem to have migrated here in droves. Despite the stereotypes New Yorkers have long been branded with – the outsiders were always greeted with open arms. Though, there is a common aphorism amongst native New Yorkers – more typically in the outer boroughs that goes something like:

“wipe your feet before you step in my house”

With the said influx of transplants, I am starting to feel as if the mat is being hopped over en route to our place. The landscape of New York is transfigured with folks from other cities rapidly becoming a significant portion of our population. It’s those same people that say “I’m from Brooklyn,” and you can instantly whiff the new blood.

So these newbies stand before the mat, and glaze it over, walk right in, chest brazen with that ever-so-bleached smile. The immigrants who came before them are jolted. The same people who paved the way, and made this city what it is today. Or, rather, what it was.

What it was? Here are just a few checklist highlights: The gentrificaton of Harlem and now Brooklyn. The transformation of Times Square into Disneyland. The entire island of Manhattan gradually resembling a midwestern strip mall. People creating “you’re a new yorker when…” lists, whose stay here has been shorter than my current lease. Venti Skim Mochiattos with no foam. I could go on, but you get the picture.

This whole thing reeks of something equivalent a new neighbor helping themselves to your fridge and remote. Hey, I’m a friendly guy – even by NYC standards. Go ahead, use my fridge and remote, no problem – but please show some manners. This city is great, and everyone should have equal access to it. But this metamorphosis gives me the creeps.

Bottom line is, the welcome mat is there for a reason. It is muddied, though dry, from endless traffic to and from our home. And yes, it bears the word “welcome” but maybe this word needs to be redefined, or changed altogether – just like the face of this city. Those from outside should take a minute to be conscious of this mat, woven with coarse materials – designed to last. And last, it will.

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3 Responses to “A Faceless New York (Part 2)”

  1. HarlemWriter says:

    I feel your pain. My neighborhood has changed overnight. It wasn’t hardcore like The Boogie Down, but now there’s a Dunkin Donuts, Starbucks, and Subway sandwich five minutes from my front door. These franchises wouldn’t have venture above West 96th Street three years ago. With the influx of new money, so comes the overpriced high-rises that are opening at a breakneck pace out of suitcases.

    Gentrification breeds nightmares, restless days, and uncertainty among the natives. While not a native New Yorker, Manhattan has been home long enough that I’ve feelings of nostalgia and displacement.

  2. Funny, these two postings sound so much like a New Yorker. Even though I’ve been away from that city for so long, its still home and when I come home and it doesn’t look familiar its very disturbing. Like you, I welcome decreased crime and making things look beautiful but I agree that New York City has lost a lot of its edge. Change is inevitable, however, and am looking forward to NYC one day finding its true identity.

    We’re still sending our garbage to Jersey right?

  3. Very interesting site, nice design, greetings

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