Artists/everyone outside of a small, moneyed elite can no longer afford a comfortable life in New York City. It’s been discussed at length in the past few years, especially among the creative class, and most notably David Byrne. The Talking Head wrote a lengthy essay on the subject in 2013.
New York was legendary. It was where things happened, on the East Coast anyway. One knew in advance that life in New York would not be easy, but there were cheap rents in cold-water lofts without heat, and the excitement of being here made up for those hardships. I didn’t move to New York to make a fortune. Survival, at that time, and at my age then, was enough. Hardship was the price one paid for being in the thick of it. As one gets a little older, those hardships aren’t so romantic—they’re just hard.
The cultural part of the city—the mind—has been usurped by the top 1 percent. What then is the future of New York, or really of any number of big urban centers, in this New Gilded Age? Does culture have a role to play? If we look at the city as it is now, then we would have to say that it looks a lot like the divided city that presumptive mayor Bill De Blasio has been harping about: most of Manhattan and many parts of Brooklyn are virtual walled communities, pleasure domes for the rich (which, full disclosure, includes me and some of the Creative Time team), and aside from those of us who managed years ago to find our niche and some means of income, there is no room for fresh creative types.
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