"New York has fewer who’d bleed for her. Once the city was for people who craved it with the stridency of a young Madonna. The result was entertainment, friction, mayhem, disaster, creation, magic."
"We installed the ethos that pedigree was over and all money was now equally valuable. The mythology of Silicon Alley was forced to coalesce for good, with City Hall’s fervor behind it. The start-up culture wars—a fresh beef with the West Coast, except boring!—intentionally pitted us against the weirdo jerks of Palo Alto. The scrunchy-face foxy Foursquare co-founders appeared in Gap ads, clad in mediocre jeans but form-fitting venture capital. You were a good person if you were an entrepreneur. You were creating jobs, until you weren’t. The big floor-through lofts of Broadway between Houston and Spring filled up with inexpensive furniture and even less expensive young people, each with a bitter mouthful of Adderall, each office bright and identical. So far, we’ve disrupted a few things, mostly coffee-related."
"A city’s culture is what you see when you walk from a cab to your door. Now it’s all plastic prefab, much of it involving banks, the red glow of Bank of America, the men atop their two-wheeled blue Citibank ads, riding by one of the city’s 500 Dunkin’ Donuts locations."
"Everyone’s been styled for their Instagram shoot-a-thon for a while now. Bloomberg’s first term was trucker hats; the second term was men buying women’s jeans. The third term was Uniqlo slimly smothering everyone, except for the waiters and the beer-gut junior-dad brigade all in their suspenders and stupid hats—the hot-immigrant-wharfie look. Retrograde masculinity retrograded back. And bedbugs replaced muggings. Bedbugs are a private experience, something that happens just between you and your bloodstained sheets. Muggings require human interaction, in public."
"Does everyone else daydream about the New York That Got Away?"
"Mostly, New York’s heroes got smaller. Now our heroes include the black-haired girl with the anchor tattoo who plays accordion most nights on the Brooklyn-bound platform of the Second Avenue F station. When she plays “Killing Me Softly,” everyone—tired or coupled or Candy-Crushing—applauds. Her name is Melissa Elledge, and she’s not a rogue, because who is anymore? Melissa is an official MTA “Music Under New York” artist. Her accordion case overflows with bills, not coins. Around her, people discuss whether or not Lena Dunham is racist, but mostly they stare at their phones."