For years I’ve followed Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York, the blog that takes “a bitterly nostalgic look at a city in the process of going extinct,” with admiration and interest. I’ve linked to it from this blog (and still do) along with various other sites that cover New York from a unique perspective. As a lifelong New Yorker I share Moss’s grief and anger at the lost neighborhoods I grew up and have lived in. I too have experienced the sense of entitlement that drives his writing, a feeling that so long as I am here, in this patch of Manhattan, it ought to stay as I know and love it.
Moss’ jeremiad in the Times on Wednesday, “Disney World on the Hudson,” brought back memories of the long-lost mom & pops of my youth: the French bakery around the corner, the children’s clothing shop where I worked as delivery girl through high school, the wonderful bookstore across the street. All are gone today, replaced with high-end fashion boutiques and chain stores. Instinctively I found myself agreeing with Moss’ sentiment, lurching into nostalgia. But his article, published under the pseudonym he regularly writes behind, missed several important points, and the more I thought about it the more troubled I became. And throughout the day, every five minutes or so, the article kept re-arriving in my inbox, sent by some friend or colleague with a subject line like “Harsh” or “Wow.” One person wrote: “Where does this come from?” [continue reading…]