Writing this blog, I'm used to tracking attacks on New York City's cultural legacy, and steeling myself against the often disheartening news I'm forced to report. But, I'm sorry, this week week has been a bitch.
DiFara's has been closed by the DOH again. The Parks Commissioner is menacing the Red Hook Ballfields food vendors. Kurowycky Meats shut down for good. And Katz's continues to listen to offers from a bevy of salivating developers. Add this to the continued fact that Astroland will be gone with summer's last breath, and Chumley's remains shuttered, and it's too much. I feel myself being sucked into the vortex of our crumbling cultural infrastructure. Is there to be no relief?
Every decision made in the town today is made with money foremost in mind. Now, don't call me naive. I know it was ever so in New York City. We're the city of Peter Minuet and Wall Street. But, I think, rarely has it been carried to the current heartless, blinkered extremes. The five boroughs are just a Monopoly board for the millionaires, a place to pile their building blocks one on top of each other.
Will the toothless Times, Post and Daily News do nothing but objectively report each landmark as it topples? With no one raise the red flag? Will Bloomberg continue to see every god-awful-ugly-inappropriate, make-it-yourself condo tower as a sign of the rightness of his economic plan for the City? Will the Landmarks Commission ever retrieve its backbone from that pawn shop on Fourth Avenue?
If Robert Moses came back from the dead and was reappointed building czar, you can bet he would get his highway through Soho, his Brooklyn-Battery bridge marring the view of the harbor, his thruway dividing Brooklyn Heights—all the horrible ideas of his that were stopped in their tracks by right-thinking, civic-minded citizens like Jane Jacobs. He'd get it all and City Hall would sit back and say, "Ah, progress!"