New York City is only home (the way Midwesterners mean home) to people who leave – a home to regret. To people who live there, it’s alive – it’s changing – it’s Mecca – an immigrant zone – drawing an endless diversity of pilgrims. Pining for the old neighborhoods – which aren’t there anymore – misses the point. Most of the crap came from one wave of immigration (Italians, Puerto Ricans, Irish, whatever) trying to claim they owned their romanticized stretch of it – just like Jerusalem. In the clean ghettos they ‘policed’ their own, and in the dirty ghettos they robbed their own, but both attitudes kept the other pilgrims out, until there just wasn’t enough turf left to sit on. The West always does that when it invades a country – tries to make it an ethnic colony. But New York is more resilient than that. It strenuously resists categorization.
[Thinking of the film Blank City.]