I love it, but think I'd go nuts living there. Give me, oh, two weeks with an unlimited budget every year or two, and I'd be happy.
New York sure isn't what it used to be. All the local color's being drained out by hypergentrification. Independent shops are disappearing at a staggering rate while chain stores and luxury condos proliferate.
It's really getting out of hand.http://vanishingnewyork.blogspot.com/
No doubt. Case in point - a few weeks ago, when we were spending the day at my dad's house, I was looking through some photo albums, and the pictures of Times Square were shocking, compared to what it is nowadays (and it's somehow been over a decade since I was last in NYC, so it's probably even worse now). What once was seedy and exciting is now just a bunch of bland chain restaurants and mid-to-upper-end chain retailers with extra lighting. Even more surprising is Red Hook, in Brooklyn. When I was 16, in the early '90s, I spent a summer working with my dad in a shipyard in Red Hook. The place was pretty, well, scary - it had a bombed-out look, and was a hotbed for every type of illegal activity you could imagine. Nowadays? The site of that shipyard has been converted into an Ikea, a riverfront park, and artist spaces/lofts/coffee shops. Not that I'm opposed to broken stuff being fixed, but it's as if everything that made the city what it was is being thrown out with the bad.
That seems to be happening in many of America's cities; New Orleans is another prime example. It hasn't gotten as inundated with chain stores (yet) as NYC, but a massive migration of young white people from middle class or wealthy backgrounds has greatly changed the city since I first started living there in '94. (And yes, I know the irony of a lower-middle-class white kid who moved to the city when I was young complaining about similar kids doing the same thing 20 years later). The migration has brought a LOT of new industries and jobs to the city, it proved to be a big help in rebuilding after Katrina and the federal floods, and it's led to a good bit of blight being fixed up. But it's also led to a massive increase in housing costs, which has pushed many native New Orleanians, especially African-Americans, out of what had traditionally been working-class neighborhoods, and out to the suburbs. And when they leave, they also take the culture (e.g., brass bands, second lines, Mardi Gras Indians, family-run po-boy shops and neighborhood bars) that they established in those neighborhoods, which is what brought the newcomers there in the first place. And within a few years, what had been a street with a bunch of small mom-and-pop joints - say, a divey beer-and-a-shot bar with regulars from the surrounding streets that serves as a meeting place for a Social Aid & Pleasure Club (the groups that put on second lines), a corner grocery store and po-boy shop, a tire repair shop, a storefront church, and a little hardware store - has become a street with a craft cocktail bar, a restaurant serving some bullshit (delicious, yes, but bullshit) that could be found in every other "hipster" enclave in the country, a yoga studio, and a shop selling t-shirts with cutesy and/or ironic prints on them about how unique and authentic the city is because it has all of the people and local stuff that have just been pushed out by said t-shirt shop and the people who shop there.