In this blog I and few of my friends write about our experiences in New York City. A blog is by nature idiosyncratic, and this one is no different. The views we express are our own and come from first hand observation. We aren’t paid professional journalists — we have day jobs, and all our research is, by definition, amateur — but we will record du jour what we see. This is not the kind of blog you use to keep up on gossip and slander. It is not a daily rant, screed, or jeremiad by writers whose only qualification for writing is the dexterity needed to work a keyboard. It is also not a record of the writers’ private lives. It is a general record of what we observe, and you, the reader, can enjoy the value we, as intelligent, educated people living in a crucible of American culture, add to that spectacle.
New York City is undoubtedly a country off the coast of “America”. New York is unique. Albuquerque or Atlanta, Miami or Minneapolis are also unique, but New York City is uniquely unique in several important ways. Though quantity does not mean quality, in New York’s case it doesn’t hurt: it is the largest city in the United States (according to Wikipedia it is more than twice as large as Los Angeles, its nearest competitor). The Census Bureau’s web site does not give much in the way of geographical detail, but common sense tells us that even if New York isn’t as populated as major urban “centers” in the West (places like Huston or Dallas-Fort Worth whose geographical populations exceed political boundaries), it is unquestionably the most densely populated place in North America. It has the most extensive public transportation system in the US, which means it is the only city in America where you can live your entire life without learning how to drive a car. It is not only the most racially, ethnically, and culturally diverse place in the United States, it is also a major gateway for new immigrants. Those immigrants did a lot of cultural work defining themselves as American, and in the process they defined and are defining America. Hundreds of examples from Washington Irving to Martin Scorsese show how much New York is a factory for the American imagination. New York City is the African-American home of the Harlem Renaissance, Malcom X, and Rap music; it is the political home of Alexander Hamilton, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and William F. Buckley Jr.; and it is still a thriving home for immigrants from without and within the United States who want to make something of themselves.
The writers of this blog are “immigrants” to New York City in the traditional and non-traditional sense. We are from the suburbs of Texas and the Mid-West, Michigan and the urban South, from South America and Europe. Some of us came here after college in the late 90s and early 00s because we were stifled by Ex-Urbia with its failing middle class and falling expectations for the future. Some of us sought out the New York of myth where you can make it with luck and pluck. We sought out population density, street culture, diversity and adventure. And this is what we found. We reject the stale, 20th century myths of the automobile, the highway and the two car garage. We reject high gas prices and gated communities. We embrace the sidewalk and the block. We embrace the chaos, noise, confusion, the smells, sights and sounds, the shared space, dirty looks and differing opinions that constitute city life. Our mission is to promote New York City as the Cultural Capitol of the United States, and through New York to find a new rationale for America built from the wrecked debris of Reaganism and the end of the “American” century. We are political, we are practical, and we are the new vision of the 21st century.