IT'S NOT YOUR JOB

As the cost of living there continues to increase while the overall quality of life falls, New York City is suddenly worried about people leaving. As one of those places that has never really had to worry about either attracting new residents or holding onto its population, this is not a problem New Yorkers have had to spend a ton of time on. The linked article makes the very important point that residents do not owe the city anything. If you are being gouged on rent for the privilege of living there, you have a reasonable expectation that services will be provided and that your quality of life will be reflective of your costs. If you cease getting out of the city what you are paying to live in it, it's OK to move.

I have never lived in New York but this argument resonates with me because one encounters it often in the Rust Belt – particularly in Central Illinois during my time there. It is often suggested or said that each individual has an obligation to stay put and do the hard work of fixing their community. In practice this means struggling mightily to fix it until suffering a mental breakdown from stress and repeatedly banging your head against a wall. It turns out that the forces responsible for something like urban decay and the collapse of the economy of an entire region bigger than most countries is well beyond the power of one person or even a dedicated group of people to change. Huh.

You are not a traitor for wanting to stop giving part of yourself to a futile effort to fix what others have broken. You have a responsibility to your community and to the people around you, but not at the expense of yourself. Read The Giving Tree for god's sake. You have the right to live somewhere affordable, safe, and with a quality of life that supports your needs. If the place where you live stops meeting those criteria, it is worth your effort to try to fix it. But don't fool yourself into believing that the problem can always be fixed. Sometimes it can, sometimes it cannot. Sometimes it is beyond anyone's power to fix it; other times the people with the power to change things simply don't want to. In either case it is not your job to sit there and waste your life in a place that is falling down around you just because you happened to be born there or found yourself living there for whatever reason.

You do not owe it to New York City to spend 75% of your income on rent unless that is what you really want to do. You have agency, and the ability (if not responsibility) to decide if the problems in your community are simply too big for you or the like-minded people around you to fix. Sometimes they will be.

26 thoughts on “IT'S NOT YOUR JOB”

  • I live in Oswego, the Oswego County seat.

    As of yesterday, we had 257 confirmed cases and 3 death in a county with 117K+ population.

    School is starting in about 10 days. I was at Walmart, yesterday and saw groups of young men and women shopping. They were almost all wearing masks when I saw them inside and they were mostly removing them upon leaving before jamming themselves 4 or more into a car (with the AC recirculating, 'cuz HOT AF by upstate standards).

    I look for the incidence of positive covid-19 tests in this area to go through the roof in the next month. I will be thrilled to be wrong.

  • I live in the neighborhood that told the richest man in the world to go fuck himself.

    Say that about where you live, bitches.

  • Oh, I didn't take the divorce into account. But still.

    To all the pussies who are leaving: Don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way out, Felecia.

  • @ Chuck:

    Looks like it might be Bill Gates, again.

    I remember hearing once that Bill Gates invited Warren Buffet to a Washington-Nebraska concussionball game and while they were sitting there sipping on their Pepsi and Coke (I think Warren's the Cokehead) Warren offered Bill a wager. House against House.

    Warren's home of record is not far from where I grew up. It's nice but not a commanding compound.
    Bill, otoh, had recently moved into his $40M+ domicile.

    I'm sure that Bill thought Warren a kidder. I'm not sure that Warren kids about money.

  • @demo,

    Jeff Bezos was the richest man in the world when we overruled our back-dealing mayor and governor and told him to go fuck himself. The parasitic real estate dealers in the hood plotzed.

    Next to Pat Lynch, the real estate bloodsuckers are the most evil people in the city. And twenty years of Giuliani and Bloomberg made it that much worse.

  • NYC lost population in the 1970s. It was a rough era because of falling tax revenues and soaring inflation that decade. Tax revenues are going to go down, but inflation has yet to take off despite predictions of such for the last 40 years.

    NYC was a manufacturing city into the 1980s, and that drove a lot of the collapse. Soho and Chelsea and Chinatown and the Garment District and Sunnyside in Queens were full of work shops and factories. When manufacturing went down, the population went down and real estate values went down. The city refashioned itself as a playground for the young and wealthy which provided opportunities for immigrants around the country and the world. It worked. The fact that NYC was a media center was a major factor.

    I expect things to get a lot worse in NYC with people leaving, businesses collapsing and all hell breaking loose in the real estate business, but I can also se an easy enough path for recovery since the whole playground thing requires relatively little capital investment and is easily driven by media. Look at Venice after the Mediterranean became a sideshow. Look at Vienna after the Habsburgs became second tier players. Look at England after it lost its empire or France since the fall of Napoleon.

  • It was a rough era also because crime and criminality got softsoap treatment from leftist politicians who cast criminals as victims of society. Deja vu all over again.

  • @ inkberrow:

    You say that like it's a bad thing.

    But I don't want to get in the middle of that skirmish.

  • “Everything in moderation” is the grown-up answer. Excess and ideological inflexibility are the “bad thing”. “Everything” includes both support and criticism of law enforcement in our major cities. When the graffiti and street crime got bad enough in NYC in the ‘70s, the pendulum swung back. It’s moving again.

  • In case you missed it, the NYC PBA endorsed Emperor Babyfists. That should tell you how lawless and racist the NYPD is.

    And if you don't live here, shut your mouth , bitch.

  • No, it tells me just how stupid and dysfunctional Bolshevik Bill the Mayor is. Even Governor Cuomo agrees.

    Not that you're likely to have considered any logical extension, but I'll take local control as rule if leftists will.

  • Ah, hell, nobody here likes Warren Wilhelm. But the NYPD has been a terrorist group long before he showed up.

    I'm a little annoyed at Ed for wanting to fuck with New York.

  • So much of the economy (not all, but a lot) of NYC is trust-fund enabled.

    Can your parents pay for you to take an unpaid internship in Manhattan? No, well, somebody else's can.

    I never understood it myself but hey, Meritocracy.

  • I think that the playground for the rich thing sort of depends on there being tons of shows to see employing models to "see". And being ground zero for the Fed dumping money. Rich people have a lot to lose, I would think that if one is afraid to get near other people NYC would lose an awful lot of its appeal. Especially since countries without such parasitic elites did a decent job getting Covid under control. I know that I am jealous of people in New Zealand, and Canada, and I know that a lot of countries will let you in if you bring a big enough bag of cash.

  • NYC is not my idea of heaven nor even someplace I want to spend more than a day or two in. The last time I did so was in 1989. I've managed to live without the experience for 31 years.

    Police departments, across the U.S. are primarily authoritarian cesspits. I would say that NYC's cops are a fuckton better than any of these Shurfs4Trumpligulamygdala that are shooting off their mouths down in FL and elsewhere.

    I have a sister how lives in FL. I hope she's okay. Beyond that I give less than a fuck what happens, anywhere south of the Gooberline.

  • @ democommie:

    That's okay, I never want to set foot in anyplace that acknowledges having a Walmart.

    Pat Lynch might want to borrow your sheriff's boat flag.

    Stay safe.

  • @ Chuck:

    Will do as necessary within my framework of capabilities.

    Damn, that sounds like a politicians answer!

    Not to slag NYC. I feel uncomfortable in most large cities, about the time that I've seen what I came to see.

  • Precisely why my wife and I are putting plans in place to move to Canada if things go south in the election. She's Canadian. I have dual citizenship. We're both over 65 and have zero interest in spending our last years in a failed state.

  • My ancestors pulled up stakes and moved for far pettier reasons than stupid high rent or a lack of jobs, like wanting land that was free rather than cheap or disliking the Church of England.

  • I really liked this post and have two reactions:

    1. Sometimes moving is an incredible privilege. Aging parents, children in school, etc. Moving costs money and can disrupt a job or career. Maybe less so in the Covid recession.

    2. I truly do not understand house-rich retirees resistance to moving inland where housing is cheaper and they can live on the difference. We have hospitals, streaming services and Target here, too. And for a third the price of your California bungalow you can have a mansion in the Midwest. South of I-70 there's very little snow.

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