Friday, August 25, 2006

New York neighborhoods

Once again I've been hit by how much (at least middle class) New York residents define themselves by "good" and "bad" neighborhoods and neighborhoods that have some "good parts" or are "getting better" and neighborhoods that are "changing" or "used to be nice" or "are gentrifying" or are "mostly black, some Dominicans" or "traditionally Puerto Rican but nice", etc., etc. More than any other city I've lived in, people here feel free to keep a running commentary going in the most open, frank terms on race and class and space.

NYC is refreshingly diverse ethnically and is the rare city where working people and Wall Street execs have at least equal claims on the its identity (what would New York be without Deli owners or cab drivers?). The city is filled with some of the most democratic spaces in America, where people of all backgrounds mix and mingle--Central Park, the subway system, etc.

Yet people seem all the more separate for that openness.

1 comment:

Yvonne said...

Totally agree. This city is one that the homeless and the rich, the established and the newcomer can all address it as "home". True too that it is so crowded that too many lonely souls wander around. A friend, who loved New York to death, left for Taiwan for good. She couldn't imagine a life not in New York. But when she settled in TW, she seldom thinks about NY.