Is New York City an Empire in Decline? | NYT Opinion

  • Published: 07 October 2019
  • New York City was built on big, bold ideas. The vision of past leaders kept New Yorkers in town and captured the imaginations of millions from around the world who came here to “make it.” In the Video Op-Ed above, Mara Gay, a native New Yorker who has reported on the streets of this city for seven years, questions where all that vision is today. She argues that New York’s current leaders need to bring big ambition and hustle to serve their residents. She supplies ideas of what vision could look like to a mayor whose reluctant homecoming offers dim hope for the city. New Yorkers, she says, deserve more.

    This isn’t just a New York story — it’s a trend in many cities around the world, where broad public programs are pushed aside for narrow corporate interests and where transformative polices are as hard to come by as affordable rents.

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Comments • 981

  • Marc Johnson
    Marc Johnson  53 minutes back

    Nice things cost money! It’s a basic capitalist principle. When the demand goes up, cost goes up. It’s unavoidable.

    If you’re even as high a statues as upper middle class, you’re crazy to live in NYC no matter what affordable housing or bike lanes go up. You spend such an unGodly amount of money on living expenses and entertainment costs it’s just impossible to set yourself up for any kind of decent life or retirement.

    But this video unfairly (at least indirectly) blames everything on the rich who, by the way, spend over 55% of their annual income (between federal, state and city) on taxes. They’re not getting off easy either. No one wants to talk about the fact that a major reason things are so expensive is the democratically run and implemented over regulation of the city and artificially raised minimum wages. You want to have a nice lunch or dinner? Say hello to the $10 beer and $15 glass of wine. Running a business has become impossible there!

    • Betty Cooper
      Betty Cooper  1 hours back

      If you get rid of the admission test, a number-one school will cease to be a number one school.

      • Ryan B.
        Ryan B.  2 hours back

        Hard to be an artist, or a thinker, or really any thoughts outside of work if you have to pay 3000$ a month for a 1bedroom apartment

        • madmann1000
          madmann1000  3 hours back

          What is she talking about?

          • Marlin Tilcock
            Marlin Tilcock  4 hours back

            Just one white guys comment. How hot is this girl?

            • T H
              T H  7 hours back

              NYC should construct a border wall around itself; that would keep out the Mega-Rich. Wait...

              • Red Butterfly
                Red Butterfly  7 hours back

                This video clearly just want to appeal to elon musk to build hyperloop in new york instead of highway above the park. U should said it straight. Its not a big request to elon musk. He would love to build one for new york

                • Mark and Cathy Nickerson

                  Term limits. Vigilance.

                  • Nancy Goo
                    Nancy Goo  9 hours back

                    Taxes, taxes,taxes!

                    • ruzzell907
                      ruzzell907  9 hours back

                      "I don't just want us to be a playground for the rich"
                      Uh, sis. New York City, especially Manhattan, that's where economic activity happens. You're the typical millennial. Blame every private company and cry for help to the oversized and expansive government.
                      2:37 Oh, you're looking for $900 apartments? Move to Elmhurst or Flushings. Look, it's not the private sector's fault for only building luxury apartments in Manhattan just to break even with their investment, because NYC bureaucracy, taxes, and regulations make it expensive to build in the first place. Affordable apartments will show up in the market if developers can afford to gamble their investment with low cost housing in Manhattan if here were less taxes and complicated regulations.
                      Punishing people for not taking the dirty subway through charges is absolutely unfair. Improve the subways rather than punishing people who drive.
                      4:01 Have you heard of charter schools? They're mostly black and hispanics.

                      • Yanil Paredes
                        Yanil Paredes  10 hours back

                        I'm a native New Yorker and the quality of life has definitely gone down hill! DeBlasio is awful. Homelessness is up. Rent is insane. Public transportation is horrible. People are driven out of their homes because although we've passed some decent rent control laws, many landlords can still find loopholes. How many old people were pushed out into the streets because their neighborhood was gentrified? There is so much inequality throughout the city. It is abnormal for professionals to be living with roommates past their late 20's. Many people don't know DeBlasio made it so that heroin addicts can LEGALLY shoot up their drugs in Bronx parks! So yes, there are needles in certain playgrounds, playgrounds that used to be family friendly. He protects criminals and can't even back up the NYPD. As a Bronx native I know personally how corrupt an unjust they can be, but you need law and order! Penalize the crooks without penalizing the people. If you are middle class in NY, you are f***** and this is why so many people are crossing the river! That being said, NY is amazing an NY will always be home, but there's no use in working to live in a place where they no longer want people like you.

                        • curtisa3rd
                          curtisa3rd  10 hours back

                          San Francisco is in decline too. 12 billion dollar Operating budget for less than 1 million people and we’re not even adequately funding public schools

                          • David Wu
                            David Wu  10 hours back

                            I was with her right until she called the admissions test discriminatory. It's an exam, it doesn't cause the school segregation problem - it's a symptom of segregation in housing. Eliminating the test won't fix the fact that a huge percentage of black and Latin kids are not even meeting middle school minimum standards.

                            • Poopy
                              Poopy  10 hours back

                              New York is too liberal for its own good

                              • Keb
                                Keb  10 hours back

                                Hit the nail on the head. Lack of vision that works for everyone, not just the financially well off which is the vast minority of the population.

                                • halifaxx55
                                  halifaxx55  11 hours back

                                  I'm sorry but don't praise bloomberg, he was the nail in the coffin for Manhattan's soul.

                                  • douglasjgallup
                                    douglasjgallup  12 hours back

                                    I lived in NYC for 10 years and while I loved it, it was the public transit that killed it for me. I love the subway, but when you ride the C train, in a vehicle that's from 1970, and it only comes every 10 minutes at rush hour ... It just sucks.

                                    • Justin H
                                      Justin H  12 hours back

                                      Great video. The problem is that the politicians have sold out to the developers and real estate owners. I'm looking to move away due to the excessive cost rent here.

                                      • garagedancer
                                        garagedancer  14 hours back

                                        Its funny watching the tourists marvel at all the new tourist attractions and other tourists.

                                        • oz28km3622kg
                                          oz28km3622kg  15 hours back

                                          such a cess pool and i hate it here

                                          • goodfellabeats
                                            goodfellabeats  16 hours back

                                            An empire is group, organization, or state that is ruled a supreme authority. The rich and powerful will rule New York so technically, New York City is becoming an empire.

                                            • Michael Wargo
                                              Michael Wargo  16 hours back

                                              Oh yeah, this is The New York Times...

                                              • saul Serrano
                                                saul Serrano  16 hours back

                                                I lived in nyc my whole life.An admission test is a good thing in my mind.The school has expectations.You got to meet the bar to get in.We can work on making lower grade schools better.

                                                • To Be Honest
                                                  To Be Honest  16 hours back

                                                  USA is an Empire in Decline!

                                                  • peachykeen08
                                                    peachykeen08  16 hours back

                                                    *”if this is happening to us in America, then what is happening to poor people?”* Ugh..We are poor people

                                                    • peachykeen08
                                                      peachykeen08  17 hours back

                                                      No, i think people are always gonna put up with our dirty train stations, rat infested subways, and our broken down buses that don’t come on time. It’s just how it is somehow 😂

                                                      • Luis Gonzalez
                                                        Luis Gonzalez  17 hours back

                                                        Don’t scrap admission tests to Stuyvesant. Have black and Hispanic kids prep for the tests the same was Asian kids do.

                                                        • mirror talk
                                                          mirror talk  17 hours back

                                                          I am an artist leaving NYC after 30 years. The city is boring and stupid!!!
                                                          Going to Spain where everyone is alive!!!

                                                          • Jelke Terpstra
                                                            Jelke Terpstra  17 hours back

                                                            NYC is the most overhyped city on this planet

                                                            • dmlevitt
                                                              dmlevitt  17 hours back

                                                              america is an empire in decline.

                                                              • fthis1234567
                                                                fthis1234567  17 hours back

                                                                lmao you all wanted capitalism lol...this is capitalist paradise btw.

                                                                • Jacob Yahiayan
                                                                  Jacob Yahiayan  18 hours back

                                                                  I made the same warning in 2006 with Association of Building Owners of NY; Our NBFI family office created affordable live/work singe member ecosystems to stem the tide of 38,000 youth who have left NYC recently. The 100% increase in property taxes in less than 10-years does not help as most buildings are less than 8,000 sqf in NYC.

                                                                  • Syntax
                                                                    Syntax  18 hours back

                                                                    Good thing the rich can't figure out a way to automate the service economy, because if they could the rest of us would be led to the slaughterhouse.

                                                                    • ellennom
                                                                      ellennom  18 hours back

                                                                      At Stuyvesant, 74 percent of current students are Asian-America

                                                                      • Ben Simpson
                                                                        Ben Simpson  19 hours back

                                                                        Parks are for people who don't have their own island.

                                                                        • Keith Metoyér
                                                                          Keith Metoyér  20 hours back

                                                                          "Lack of vision" sounds familiar ehh

                                                                          • William Liu
                                                                            William Liu  23 hours back

                                                                            She could get it!

                                                                            • LON BX
                                                                              LON BX  23 hours back

                                                                              yo deadass she speaking facts some lady bought the building I was living in and raised the rent From 1000 to 15000
                                                                              for no reason it was a studio apt now they got me living in Connecticut I don't wanna be here they really do want the poor out.

                                                                              • Ebukar Okonkwo
                                                                                Ebukar Okonkwo  23 hours back

                                                                                She didn't blink once. Scary.

                                                                                • Lions mane
                                                                                  Lions mane  23 hours back

                                                                                  In di vid u al ism

                                                                                  • elfacisco
                                                                                    elfacisco  24 hours back

                                                                                    its because best and brightest are not coming to NY anymore. NY is not the city anymore.

                                                                                    • Hernan Santos
                                                                                      Hernan Santos  24 hours back

                                                                                      🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽🙌🏽 We need a public restoration!!!! More funding!!

                                                                                      • Sorzin
                                                                                        Sorzin  24 hours back

                                                                                        Such a shame. Leave it to rich people to ruin something for the rest of us.

                                                                                        • Europa Ascends
                                                                                          Europa Ascends  1 days back

                                                                                          Busing kids is never a good idea. It's bad for both the kids being bused and the kids that are already at those 1% top schools. Not every child has the intellect to go to a top 1% school, same in College. The same principle applies to jobs in the workforce. Some people, kids included, are smarter than others. That's life.

                                                                                          • Tiago Tulio
                                                                                            Tiago Tulio  1 days back

                                                                                            Cities around the world are changing, where technology development and financial speculation have played determinant roles. One would go to libraries after books to learn and study, whereas nowadays virtual platforms may offer just as much as before at the touch of a hand. Housing problem though is not cool: with brokers having helped to push prices up to soaring levels, it's not unusual to step in any major city and walk by thousands of unoccupied homes where families lived before, but now the simply can no longer afford...

                                                                                            • D Rod
                                                                                              D Rod  1 days back

                                                                                              According to this person if you make a living driving in NYC we don’t want or need you. The way she thinks is the issue, she needs to step in to other people’s shoes. And for the real State is called supply and and demand basic economics. NYC is a ecosystem!!

                                                                                              • Matthew VP
                                                                                                Matthew VP  1 days back

                                                                                                I fear London is going down the same route. A diverse, multicultural, exciting, and accepting city full of history and culture...being slowly unwound by the desire of quick, unsustainable profit. Boris Johnson (the PM that’s determined to destabilise our economy with a no-deal brexit) allowed the problem to exacerbate. He agree to let a historical landmark be converted to luxury apartments, most of which will stand empty. Like NYC, the priority has been luxury flats, 2/3 of which stand empty, at the expense of affordable housing. Even with a decently paid job, living here is becoming intolerably expensive. It’s so sad to see a buzzing city so full of life being slowly converted to a domain of the super rich

                                                                                                • ThisOld Hat
                                                                                                  ThisOld Hat  1 days back

                                                                                                  Stuyvesant High School student body had a make up of 1% African American and 74% Asian...

                                                                                                  It's not nice to conveniently forget Asians are minorities too.