Yeah, I'm sorry you're feeling down, but I'm not buying the demise of NYC either (as most people here don't seem to be.)

All those things you love to do outside aren't happening because we are still halfway through Cuomo's phases of reopening. Once either a vaccine or an effective treatment for Covid 19 is found (and the efforts to develop one make the 1850s Gold Rush look like a tea party) people will forget. People will go back outside and play chess, basketball, baseball, tennis, everything. People will go to museums, restaurants, concerts, clubs, bars, planetariums. People will be outside jostling, hustling, mugging, pushing and shoving, dancing in the subway, in the parks, begging, taking pictures with tourists, filming movies, selling hotdogs, spitting on the sidewalk, driving around at 5:00am to grab any good furniture that people on the Upper East Side put out at the curb.

I have no doubt about any of this. My landlady just gave me a renewal lease with the usual 3% increase year over year. I am not seeing any 30% rent decreases. Also not seeing any bargains on the real estate market. Ownership is still astronomical and beyond my means.

I first visited NYC in 1973 at the age of four to visit my cousins and have been a frequent visitor ever since. When my older half-brother moved here in 1978 to attend NYU I was 9 and my Dad and I went into the city to see him twice a month. He lived a block away from where a well known serial killer had shot his last victim in the middle of a crowded bar. Even in the daytime he was terrified of the drug-selling gang that controlled his neighborhood.

Now *that* is the New York I remember and grew up with. In 1980 my brother was given the opportunity to buy his studio apartment on the LES for $1,000 and the one next to it for another $1,000. He borrowed the money from his grandmother and bought them both. He sold them 20 years later and is still living off that money.

Yes, by the time I had the means and a job to afford to move here in 1999 New York had nearly turned into the Mall of America it is today, and had lost most of the grit, charm, and raw burgeoning artistic expression that drew me to it. I no longer see what I came here for and I am in fact planning to move away. But that has been a long time coming, certainly long before Covid 19. No one has any idea what NYC will become next, but I know for sure it will become something.

And the owner of the company I work for cannot wait to get back into the office. Letting us work from home where he cannot keep a hawk eye on every little thing we do has likely been the greatest strain on him since he founded the company 20 years ago. He has gone from a relaxed boss to a severe micromanager, and although productivity and profit have both doubled since we started WFH he seems to get more paranoid every week that we are somehow taking advantage of him out of sight. Once our building is reopened to us we will surely be expected to show up there the same day.

If the outflow of the more superficial, spoiled, less gritty invaders of the last 30 years flee to greener pastures, leaving something similar to the old New York that I loved and remember, then that would be a good thing. I am not enough of a cockeyed optimist to hope for that. But I won't bet against it.

Linguist, philosopher, lover of history, wordhound, 21 year New Yorker, searching for meaning in the universe

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