So I see that yet another group of "New Yorkers" is getting snotty about these "new" more sane and sustainable ways of living by calling them just "college life in the pacific northwest".
Here's where the stupid has now gathered.
Normally this is a wonderful web site. But on this one the idjits have risen to storm levels and well overflowed the levees of reasoned analysis. These people are so deep into the depths of the Sea of Moron that they are citing Portlandia as a way to figure out life in Portland. Television, kids. Fiction. Really.
So I wrote a simple little response. Note please that being a REAL native New Yorker, raised by real New Yorkers, I had the discipline to take out all the curse words that I kept wanting to include. I would like to think that the ghost of my cigar-smoking, fiercely political and analytical grandfather (yes, he really did typically say "toity-toid and toid") would have thought all the same monosyllabic additions and been enough of a German intellectual to take them right back out again.
Speaking as a one-time fourth generation Manhattanite (over 35 years in NYC) who now lives in Portland, folks, some of us were backing NON-gentrification forms of this right in New York's poorer neighborhoods back in the freaking SEVENTIES. So would you please stop, catch your breath, and accept that urbanism, density, and "edge" are in no way contrary to "green" ideas, sustainability, or inexpensive craft/DIY business.
The Gaia Institute was doing rooftop plantings in Morningside Heights in the 80's. A few blocks from the pioneer greenmarket on Amsterdam and 103rd. Which wasn't too far from the "rooftop beekeeper" whose honey was being sold locally well before any such ventures got going on the left coast. Local chickens from known sources? We always had those. Local eggs, too. My mother always bought both at a place in Harlem. Though she had them kill and butcher the bird, unlike many of the other customers, who having grown up in places like Jamaica and Puerto Rico, wouldn't even consider buying a dead bird, let alone one chopped up and wrapped in plastic.
All, mind you, surrounded by community gardens, locally run, low cost theater and micropublishing, and "world fusion" cuisine. I could find all of this near my apartment at 97th and Amsterdam while Carter was president so, if anything, I was sad to see it fade away. And moved west mostly to be part of the next round.
I still miss the smell and vibration of the printing plants of the west 20's and east 50's where I used to work and where many New Yorkers had their short-run printing done cheap and fast. And the "artisan" midtown leather shops like the one my uncle Abe worked in. And the "scratchbuilders" I used to hang out with at Polk's on 31st. And later at the machine shops and supply shops on Lafayette and Fulton and Canal who were always so helpful to us young, self-taught prototypers and craftspeople.
If denigrating these trends by calling them "too Portland" gives y'all such joy then, hey, have a day. I'm sitting here in a $500 a month, 800 square foot, 12' ceiling loft space and somehow enduring the pain of all this "Portlandness" even if I do have to tolerate "nice" people, clean sidewalks, and visible sky. And I can see how that offends you. But I'll keep thinking of these trends as things I first saw and became part of on the 70's Upper West Side and wonder just when you out-of-towners evidently new to the city will buy yourselves some clue.
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So that's it. That's what I wrote. What I didn't say (much) was how predictably this kind of chowderheaded trash is typical of ignorant dingbats, fresh from some expensive liberal arts college somewhere in Ohio or wherever and eager to show how now that they've been in "the city" for a few months they are real New Yorkers and have that appropriately "real" new York contempt for things like civility, plants, a visible sky, or anything else that wouldn't get ample screen time in the cop shows and gang life fantasies that they eagerly and religiously studied for years to "learn all about" NEW. YORK. CITY.
Well, let me tell you clueless little dipshits how it is. New York is harsh and expensive and difficult. And oh, by the way, teaches those of us smart enough and strong enough to be able to handle it a very sophisticated sense of esthetics and appropriate behavior. And those of us who are really good at it find ways to live such lives without vast salaries or slavish adherence to whatever trash the fashion magazines are trying to sell this hour.
It's a shame that you're not up to the job yet of seeing how things like rooftop gardens are actually very New York and always have been. Most of you are probably too microbrained to ever figure this out. But I look forward to the day that some of you grow up (five or six years in New York should be a good start) and I enjoy the knowledge that you will then look back, remember the childish contempt you had for these things before, and be ashamed.