Choosing Disney over hookers.

This Jim Geraghty post about Bill Clinton’s NYC nostalgia reminds me of my own reaction to Times Square.  Right after college I was looking for work in NYC (didn’t find any, because it was 1993); I walked through Times Square once during that time.  Once: even at noon on a winter’s day the pimps were incredibly aggressive.  Fast-forward four or five years; more-or-less tossed out of grad school*, looking for work again in the City (a lot easier in the late 90s).  Was in Times Square during that and had a moment of extreme confusion because I did not recognize anything.  It was like they stripped out the squalid despair right down to the bedrock, and rebuilt.  The result?  Gaudy, corporate, somewhat crass – and a place where you could have your kid in tow and not be a justifiable case for intervention by Child Services.

There are actually people who are bothered by this.  Speaking as somebody who is actually a productive member of society, I’m not one of them.  And as the previous sentence might suggest, I’m not really impressed with the “But it had character!”  To which I reply**: so does a overstuffed bag of garbage after three days in the hot sun.

Moe Lane

*Which had the practical effect of bumping my starting salary by about ten grand.  Turns out that while they pay actual librarians crap money, having that particular skill set and a clear reason why you can’t go back to that life makes HR departments perk right up.  Go figure.

**I must have stolen this from somewhere, but I can’t remember from whom.


  • Cameron says:

    Gentrification is seen as a curse word by a lot of people. But since the kind of people who complain about it are either the ones who contributed to the squalor or never set foot in the neighborhoods in question, I tend to tune them out.

  • Bill54 says:

    I find that if you know how to locate and retrieve information, it helps you get a job. Librarians are highly trained in much of that process. We live in the Information Age, and being able to survive in this age is crucial! Congratulations– you really do have a leg up on a lot of other people.

  • Mikey NTH says:

    The people who complain about gentrification want to have other people living degraded lives in squalor and despair. They champion that.

    Think about it – they want other people to be degraded. How much lower, really, can a person be to want that for another?

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