Five versions of New York City

This is off topic, but it’s something that is near and dear to my heart. So,what the hell?  Back in the day, many of us in the hinterlands dreamed of moving to NYC. It was a romantized vision, but a true one. We had this idea we could leave it all behind and not so much re-invent ourselves, but become a part of what was NEW YORK CITY!  These days people come to NYC wanting to bring the crap they grew up with here, and they have won.

Luckily for me, I caught the tail end of that NYC I came to live in and be a part of. The Sinatra song, New York, New York which is a classic and cliched, was written in 1979 for Scorese’s film. But the song, music by John Kander, and lyrics by Fred Ebb, really summed it up nicely.

Back in 2009, when I had my Examiner column,  I wrote that NYC was as dead as the Dodo.

The dodo lived on the island of Mauritius, free of natural predators.  Then European sailors came, bringing with them rats, pigs and other predators.  Within 50 years the dodo was extinct.  New York City is fast becoming like the dodo.  Real estate predators, like the rats and pigs of Mauritius are destroying the history of New York faster than the predators decimated the Dodo.  Huge, grotesque, expensive monstrosities are replacing the physical memories and neighborhoods of New York.  National chains are replacing the neighborhood joints.

It’s been said that New York reinvents itself every 20 years.  I’ve found this to be true, but it used to be that New York reinvented itself within the context of itself.  It is now changing in the context of the rest of the country.  It is ceasing to be an original.  It’s becoming a suburb.

In that vein, here are some songs from the different eras of New York.

Manhattan: Richard Rodgers and the words by Lorenz Hart for the 1925 revue “Garrick Gaieties”


New York, New York from  On the Town music by Leonard Bernstein. Lyrics by Betty Comden and Adolph Green

Lovin’ Spoonful: The 1960s and some images of some other places.

Now we have our Al Kooper from the early 70s, less happy.

It gets depressing with Lou Reed in the 80’s, but’s still New York


We have no 1990’s, or 2000’s culture. We no longer have any NYC culture. Due to the Giuliani and Bloomberg decades, NYC will never be the heart of new culture and individualism. It will be and is, the culture of money. And that is sad.