Monday, August 27, 2012

Disney World on the Hudson (Jeremiah Moss, NYTimes OpEd)

"The High Line has become a tourist-clogged catwalk and a catalyst for some of the most rapid gentrification in the city’s history."

Within the last year I'd say that the High-Line has certainly become a victim of its own success. I visited it for the second time this past May - while the work itself is beautiful, the experience was aweful. Unlike a typical park there's relatively limited access and the "public" space itself is extremely narrow in parts - which means you can consistently find yourself trudging along single file, as if you were waiting in line for a roller coaster.

I wouldn't limit the "Disney World" comment to the High Line, the Meatpacking District or Chelsea. Almost all of Manhattan has a strange kind of unreality to it. Greenwich Village looks more like a Hollywood set than an actual place where people live. It's been decades since SoHo housed any real starving artists. The Upper East Side has become a half-occupied retirement community for the World's 1%. In many ways New York is becoming a  kind of luxury show-room for the world - more of a place where interesting things are displayed and consumed than a center of innovation.

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