You Pays Your Money and You Take Your Choice

Stephen C. Rose
Jan 19, 2015 · 2 min read

It’s a truism that New York is losing it. Also that it will prove unaffordable for all but the mansion people. If NYC is losing it, why am I still here? If it is unaffordable, why am I living in the very best location in the city, albeit in around 400 square feet?

When the floods came they were careful to exempt where I live from any inconvenience. When the future goes by on Broadway below I resonate, having demonstrated through the 1960s, with “I can’t breathe” and “Black lives matter”.

Why do I see all manner of folk out there who do not look like they live in full-floor mansions? Why do I look at the Style Section of the NY Times and tell myself that the Gray Lady is still doing what it always did — publishing a primer for upward mobile consumers, driving the wealth machine.

I’ll tell you something. There are two sorts of Americans, among many other sorts. There are those who get excited by products and new things and what they can buy on credit. And there are those who save, who will not pay more that $10 for most meals they eat out. Who do not go to high ticket shows. Who pay much of their income in rent. Why? Because there is something that is worth more than money to such. Call it action. You do not get that in Maplewood. Brooklyn is trying. But “New York, New York” still has it.

Love is not the issue. Acceptance of change is. Knowing change is deceptive is. Valuing action is. And knowing that what someone who pays $1000 for can be obtained for a song.

My dear one who is the quintessential walker in Manhattan found us a new carpet the other day. It cost $40. We gave the lovely guy who delivered it $40 because he did all the right things including removing the old rug.

I do holographs. A glance tells me what I can infer about someone. This guy is a saint and there are lots of saints in New York. Maybe he’s also an ex con. Everyone is a spectrum.

Most cannot afford Manhattan. But sometimes Manhattan pushes back. If our Mayor is successful we will have some extra rentable units that we lost as the horrendous Trump Aesthetic became dominant.

These mansion buildings strike me as the very nadir of taste. But New York is still exciting enough to enable us to let them be, with their nonresident Shieks, their trust fund beneficiaries and the parents of children who will waste no time blending in with the people down below my roost at Herald Square. One of them will run for mayor on a populist platform.

Meanwhile those of us who save and find a way will persist.

    Stephen C. Rose

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