How NYC Has Changed Over The Years, And Probably Not For The Better
The lost qualities of New Yorkers represent the general lost qualities of New York.
I grew up in the tri-state area my whole life, and I come from a family that grew up in and around the heart of the Big Apple. Even to me, the city I always considered to be my home base seems virtually unrecognizable.
New York is accredited as being the melting pot: a hub for individuals to immerse themselves in various cultures and open their minds and hearts to brand new, exciting and untouchable things.
Between the history, the legends, the art, the music and the people, New York City is arguably the capital of the world.
New York City has always been a symbol for the "American Dream," and living here requires a work ethic derived from the immigrants who came from nothing and built something grander than we could have ever imagined.
Blue-collar workers have always been a key ingredient to achieving this so-called American Dream, but in 2015, can blue collar prevail in Manhattan?
The United States never actually knew "true, authentic Americans" until this era, when you really think about it.
Mostly everyone stems from first or second-generation immigrants, trying to establish themselves while continuing traditions and the lifestyles on which they were raised.
That is why so many of us relate back to and, perhaps, sometimes, even long for an allure that seems to be missing from younger generations that weren't brought up during that mix.
The mystique of New York thrived off individuals searching to solidify their place in this country.
Well, mission accomplished.
The culture of New York almost feels like no culture, rather individuals formatting to an "ideal," like a hipster or a yuppie, in hopes to potentially fulfill a "dream" of theirs, and by dream, I mean money.
It is a brand new type of patriotism and community. My father regularly speaks about what New York used to be like and he often says, " I wish you knew my New York!"
But, much like most of the valued legacies from previous times, it is gone. And, seems like it is not to be remembered. Diehard New Yorkers wouldn't have traded it for anything in the world; yet, we never knew what existed.
New York has turned into a rich man's playground designed to keep "outsiders" out. The city has always been expensive, but at least before, there was a margin to accommodate people.
Even living in New Jersey, I can no longer afford to live in the city or even commute back and forth for work.
It's like a catch-22 of feeling the pressure to be a part of something supposedly so great and then wondering if the quality of life is worth the cost.
I realize this is a personal decision, which every person must make for him or herself. I know what I can offer NYC, but what can NYC offer me? What's the return for getting to say, "I'm a New Yorker"?
I admit that living so close and being so exposed, perhaps, I am the one who is now jaded. But that's the point. The more often I am in New York, the closer I come to running out of defenses.
I know people who save up the money and wait their entire lives for an opportunity to see New York.
Tourists travel the globe for a glimpse in our backyards. I wish it lived up to its title of the "greatest city in the world," or the city that never sleeps. To me, it's the city that charges $11 for a Bud Light and $50 to park.
Countless restaurants and institutions have closed down over the years because they simply cannot survive -- that alone should tell us something.
New York is becoming a chore, rather than the beacon of hope it once was.
I can't even visit family members because I have to consider the cost of tolls — and they live less than 30 miles from my home. Delicious food, entertainment, venues, Broadway shows, cabs and drinks are all astronomical.
It just seems so extreme, like the common man is no longer welcome in the same arena he built. Sometimes, native New Yorkers even feel bullied by the "new" New Yorkers who have invaded the city with this new mindset and takeover.
Again, natives embraced the change in the beginning, understanding the city's mass appeal and potential to inspire greatness, but now it feels like New Yorkers have no control.
I once had dreams of being that aspiring "SATC" gal following my creative passions to catastrophic heights. And, songs like "Concrete Jungle" and crooners like Old Blue Eyes left no doubt in mind that it is possible.
I am certainly not saying it's not, but when I am out on a Saturday night, I look around and see the same carbon copies pretending to be pursuing their dreams and belittling those who do not live up to their standards.
I often think of the "Sex and the City" episode, "Splat," where Kristen Johnston's character gives a brief little anecdote about what the city used to be like.
I have always felt that was written by someone who grew up in the city, someone who "gets it," and for a very specific reason.
The struggle is real. I never want to act ungrateful for the luxury and underlying beauty New York has gifted me.
The last thing I want to do is turn my back on my city, but it is buried somewhere underneath some bullsh*t at the moment.