Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

March 26, 2014

Not Comics: Rents Driving Bookstores From Manhattan

I thought this was a pretty good article on the latest round of people apoplectic about the skyrocketing rents in New York City as we move into a more highly-stratified society where prime living and working space goes to more and more efforts whose greatest distinguishing aspect is their bottom-line financial wherewithal. There are some numbers given, too.

I'm usually on the skeptical side of those that read articles like this one, both in terms of the baseline economics and the general "New York is changing in a way that I find distressing and dismaying" tone that is now working on its 138th straight year of employment in articles about the city. I do have some sympathy for this one because I think the idea of for-profit ventures -- or non-profits/barely-profits that work under that system -- as repositories of cultures is a deeply fascinating subject. It's also one that takes place on a billion different levels, from a great old business moving to another borough to the culture -- and yes that term applies -- to variou red-state malls losing their Borders. I think what interests me most is how malleable the culture is in terms of changing the definition of what is valuable about a place, the way we can say various midwestern towns are "back" when what was in many cases a regional or local department store that anchored the city is now a bunch of bars and maybe like a junior college.
posted 1:55 am PST | Permalink

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