Back to the '70s

Friday, November 21, 2008

Julia Vitullo-Martin, senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and director of the Center for Rethinking Development, talks about what does happen if New York makes a return to the 1970s.


Julia Vitullo-Martin

Comments [50]

hjs from 11211

brooke, the city lives off their energy and if they want to spend their trust funds here more power to them. i hope no one is force to leave but if they are it's better than urban blight and maybe they'll like living in the sprawl for a few years.

joe careful with bitterness. keep looking for the silver lining

Nov. 21 2008 12:26 PM
The Truth from Atlanta/New York

UH yes you do.

Nov. 21 2008 12:17 PM
The Truth from Atlanta/New York

Yes you do Joe.

Nov. 21 2008 12:16 PM
Joe the Actor from Brooklyn

Uh NO you don't TRUTH!

Nov. 21 2008 12:06 PM
M from Sunset Park

I don't think you have to be born in NY to be consider a NYer, if you were born here you're native NYer. But being a NYer is a state of mind too. NY has always attracted the best and worst from the US and the world.
I came here when I was almost 10 (26 now) and hated it for the first 6 and half years. Then I felt as if I had survived a war and couldn't imaging living anywhere else, I went from surviving to being able to live in the city. What about Staten Islanders(?), they don't take the subway, they live in houses, they hate the rest of the city, they vote against the interest of the other 4 boroughs, yet they're NYers.

Nov. 21 2008 12:06 PM
Ethan from upper west side

"Magical thinking enables you to see good where there may be only bad, and it is tempting to try out a little magic on this mess. For example: let’s postulate that the collapse of the financial-services industry spells catastrophe for New York City, a return to the nineteen-seventies. Lost tax revenues, budgetary shortfalls, unemployment (not only of those in finance but of the hordes who rely on them), plunging property values, vanished retirement accounts. Let’s cut this up, like a pile of bad debt, into various strips, and, as the rating agencies did to various slices of subprime-mortgage debt, take the top layer and, abracadabra, rate it triple A. Throw out the other strips, the grim probabilities—the crime, the decaying infrastructure, the hardship all around, the heroin and the syphilis. What do we have left? The bright side: maybe Manhattan will become affordable again, and cool, and dangerous. Dangerous in theory, but not to you or your family and friends. Dirty, but in a good way. Night clubs where anything goes. Art, music, Billy Martin."

- N. Paumgarten, The New Yorker, 9/29/08

Interesting segment, guest. Thanks.

Nov. 21 2008 12:04 PM
Joe the Actor from Brooklyn

Corrine~ I see what you're saying, I do. I see kids walking down the street with stupid haircuts and clothes designed to look distressed but which actually cost way too much money, and I wonder how the hell they survive. I moved here to actress and sometimes think I might have done better back in the 70's and 80's.

We're not all hipsters! I'm not, trust me. I have a friend who prides himself on his W'burg pad. He brags about never being able to use the mailboxes because they used to be crack-drops. An article in the New Yorker once described W'burg as having the narrowest demographic on the planet next to the Pitcairn Islands where everyone is related!

I see your point.

Nov. 21 2008 12:04 PM
Brooke from Brooklyn

if anyone else claims that no one's ACTUALLY from brooklyn/nyc anymore or seems awed and asks me what it's like to have been born and grown up in the neighborhood they now claim as their own after living there for 2 years i'll scream!

i was not around during the 70s but i can no longer recognize the neighborhoods i grew up in because they now seem like overgrown college campuses. i agree that restaurants and bars are nice, but at what costs to those who have called the neighborhoods home for their whole lives and are now forced out of the city??

Nov. 21 2008 12:03 PM
hjs from 11211

we can bring that back, we can start a movement right now!

Nov. 21 2008 12:01 PM

hjs from 11211

yes thanks, correction, rather, the dearth of distinct creative personalities and vibrant communities of "old" new york...

Nov. 21 2008 11:57 AM
hjs from 11211

yes sir!

Nov. 21 2008 11:57 AM
Zak from Morningside Heights

Are you screening these callers?

Nov. 21 2008 11:57 AM
The Truth from Atlanta/New York

HJS - once a NYer always a NYer, they want to call me a GA Peach but A) I won't let them and 2) all they have to do is ask me to pronounce one of the following: Chocolate, Caramel or Water...and they go ohhh yes you are a Nyer!

Also, one more degree, those who are born there, working away and come home for holidays, funerals

Nov. 21 2008 11:53 AM
O from Forest Hills

I love the group Devo!

Nov. 21 2008 11:52 AM
hjs from 11211

there are different degrees of NYer.
of course, those who were born here AND still live here (except for time in the military/college/prison) are a special breed

10 or more years is seems like enough of a commitment to be a 2nd grade NYer?

Nov. 21 2008 11:49 AM
Corinne from Brooklyn

I too am a native New Yorker who has found it harder and harder to find any interesting places in Manhattan below 96th street. (Although the yuppies have crossed north of that boundary years ago). While I wouldn't look forward to an increase an crime and poverty, the true New Yorkers are those who can make and find beautiful things -- and carve a life for themselves -- in hard, uncomfortable, difficult situations.

Enough of these boring, pampered children who have flocked here to play on a live set of Sex and the City, expecting this place to make things as easy for them as their parents have.

Nov. 21 2008 11:48 AM
The Truth from Atlanta/New York

Ohh that's what I am...not rude, just always in a hurry..writing that down.

Nov. 21 2008 11:47 AM
RM from Upper West Side

Can't believe that segment. A representative from the Manhattan Institute as arbiter of life in NYC at any time???

New York has always been great, just different in different eras. And New Yorkers have always been friendly, in a hurry maybe, but friendly. The zeitgeist has changed worldwide because of the internet - the world has shrunk. Can't stop change.

Nov. 21 2008 11:44 AM
The Truth from Atlanta/New York

Nope JOE, Toni is right, ya gotta be born there to be a real native!

St. Mary's Hospital here!!

Nov. 21 2008 11:39 AM
Edna Jonas from palisades park, NJ

I am writing as someone who works in Manhattan, pays taxes to New York and spends most of her leisure time enjoying what the City has to offer.

Much of the reminiscences of 1970's NYC on the radio today included reference to a very weak infrastructure with inadquate services to ensure public/personal safety. Today, Bloomberg is planning to reduce the size of the incoming police academy training class and cutting back on public transportation which is already inadequate to meet demand/need.

However, no one is talking about the $4 million the City has projected will be the cost of replacing signs for the Triboro Bridge. While I'm pleased that RFK is being recognized in this way, I do not understand how the City can make this inappropriate expense a priority at this time. It also makes me wonder about other priorities and whether they have been adequately and appropriately vetted.

Nov. 21 2008 11:36 AM
Joe the Actor from Brooklyn

Well maybe I'd be able to afford Manhattan or a neighborhood closer. And Tony from Hells Kitchen, you're right, you're a real New Yorker but so is anyone who makes the city their home. We ALL pay taxes and contribute to making New York what it is.

Nov. 21 2008 11:33 AM
patrick from queens

From an artist's perspective, the 70's were a remarkably creative time. Cruel as many conditions were, artists were able to find space, share neighborhoods & enjoy a vivid community of exchanges of ideas. It was glorious. That's way many came to NYC. The bad conditions innoculated the city against yuppies for example. After that, the extreme pressure of booming rents destroyed neighborhoods. Wall streeters moved to limos from the subways. Musicians especially were forced to put money before creativity, & a certain quality of life began to retreat toward the relative theme park we live in now.

Nov. 21 2008 11:29 AM
KC from NYC

Why are we discussing these movies as if they were documentaries? They were no more accurate portrayals of 70's New York than Law & Order is a portrayal of modern Manhattan. They took elements from the city and the era, but they were "about" New York the same way "Clockwork Orange" was about London, or "The Shining" was about Colorado.

Nov. 21 2008 11:29 AM
maw from nyc

For more info regarding the period between the 60s & 90s in New York City, see Miriam Greenberg's Branding New York: How a City in Crisis was Sold to the World. It's an amazing analysis of the major socio-political shifts that were occurring at the time within the city & the nation at large. Civic awareness on the part of the city's populace as a whole is required to keep NYC prosperous, nice, safe and diverse.

Nov. 21 2008 11:27 AM
Jolly D from NYC

Punk and alternative rock
New York City had the earliest documented punk rock scene in the United States. Drawing on local influences such as The Velvet Underground, Richard Hell and the New York Dolls, punk music developed at clubs such as CBGB and Max's Kansas City. Patti Smith, Talking Heads, Blondie, and other artsy New Wave artists were popular in the mid to late 1970s, as bands like the Ramones were establishing an American punk rock sound. No Wave existed almost only in New York and raised Glenn Branca, Lydia Lunch and Sonic Youth.

Nov. 21 2008 11:26 AM
David Brown from Ocean, New Jersey

No one has mentioned the extraordinary underground culture in 1970s New York. I'll just mention a few things: powerful downtown loft jazz performances in begged, borrowed and stolen spaces, the exile Hungarian Squat Theater on West 23rd St., Adam Purple's concentric garden on the lower east side, the awesome new Indian Restaurants on East 6th Street, the vibrancy of St. Marks Place before gentrification, the community based Italian neighborhoods of Carroll Gardens prior to gentrification.
Thank you
David Brown

Nov. 21 2008 11:26 AM
hjs from 11211

it's all about individualism now

Nov. 21 2008 11:23 AM

arts-real portrait of nyc in 1970's: Ralph Bakshi's "Coonskin," his best film... p.s. where did all the individualism and creativity go?

Nov. 21 2008 11:22 AM
hjs from 11211

the caller is right the 70's saw white flight. today no one is going to dumb enough to leave prime real estate to crack addicts and the poor, again

Nov. 21 2008 11:21 AM
Ryan from Brooklyn

Understanding of someone who wasn't here but thinks about it alot:
Anything could happen. It was often bad, but at least it was anything. It is so boring now! Rich people are so boring.

Nov. 21 2008 11:21 AM
Matt from Brooklyn

I know that these days the 70s are romanticized, usually at the cost of forgetting the danger, but I think this points to the angst people have in seeing Manhattan become another suburb. I would like to see us cleansed of the mall--even with a little grime.

And god, in the next period (the twenty-teens? the twenties?) of prosperity it will be nice to have founnd myself a rent stabilized Park Slope apartment for $250.

Nov. 21 2008 11:20 AM
maude from east village

I've lived here for 12 years, came here just out of college. I love the city, but I'm pretty certain I am going to move to Athens Georgia, where I can get an entire 3 bedroom house with a pool for the much less than the price of my crappy studio apartment. I am a freelance graphic designer and a painter, and haven't been getting as much work lately, so I need to do something, and I can't bear to move to an even crappier apartment at this point, I'm too old. I am going to miss New York like crazy, it will always be my home.

Nov. 21 2008 11:19 AM
AWM from UWS


I do not recall those colors in my childhood tableau. Just gray streets, the chaotic spectrum of graffiti colors on subways cars and the explosion of light when I was clocked on the head and saw stars.


Not "Deathwish!" Anything but "Deathwish!" I forgot that as a depiction of NY. Horrific... but true.

Nov. 21 2008 11:18 AM
hjs from 11211

by homeless people he means vietnam vets

Nov. 21 2008 11:17 AM
KC from NYC

Someone from the arch-conservative Manhattan Institute bemoaning municipal workers? Wow, what a surprise. Hey maybe we can privatize the subway? I bet that will save us a bunch of money, and we can just stop service to the poorer, unprofitable neighborhoods.

We could further de-regulate construction, and have even more crane disasters. Those tend to stimulate our medical industry. It's a win/win!

The Manhattan Institute has such great ideas.

Nov. 21 2008 11:17 AM
antonio from park slope

sorry to break it to the new folk and hipsters..
You must be FROM here to be a real ny'er..
you can live as long as yoda did, but sadly you will ALWAYS be from somewhere else...

tony from hell's kitchen,
not clinton.

Nov. 21 2008 11:16 AM
The Truth from Atlanta/New York

Jeez caller! Always one person to spoil the mood!

Nov. 21 2008 11:16 AM
hjs from 11211

no more metrosexuals please

Nov. 21 2008 11:15 AM
The Truth from Atlanta/New York

I agree, I LOVED NY in the 70's!! Take me back there and I will move back from the ATL!

Nov. 21 2008 11:14 AM
M from Sunset Park

Those this mean cheaper rent? If so, I won't mind, NY is for tough people not hipsters in tight pant so I don't mind if the crime goes up a bit.

Nov. 21 2008 11:12 AM
hjs from 11211

who will be our nixon?

Nov. 21 2008 11:09 AM
John from Bklyn

It will be just the like the New York portrayed in the movie "Death Wish", except with no trans fats and salt.
Nanny Bloomberg will be like a real-life Bronson character, taking out wrongdoers with a sock full of quarters and an arsenal of tickets and court summonses!

Maybe he'll do something about the rude, self-obsessed, ironic hipsters and all their facial hair.

Nov. 21 2008 10:50 AM
SF from NYC

The 7o's had great movies.
Good things!

Nov. 21 2008 10:37 AM
O from Forest Hills

#5 & 6, were orange and the avocado colors very popular for decorating schemes in the 70s in NY?

Nov. 21 2008 10:09 AM

AWM/5 -- reluctantly agree

Nov. 21 2008 10:06 AM
AWM from UWS

There is a certain pride in being raised in New York in the 70s. It was one of the more interesting, compelling and challenging places and periods in history.

Now that I have children, the closest I want to get to revisiting 70s New York is watching "The French Connection."

Nov. 21 2008 09:26 AM
O from Forest Hills

Good movie from the 70s was The ClockWork Orange.

Nov. 21 2008 09:00 AM

If FRIENDS can be erased from our brains I vote yes!

Nov. 21 2008 08:55 AM

First, we have to bring all that graffiti back to the subways. That was awesome.

Nov. 21 2008 08:13 AM
Myriam F. from Ithaca, NY

Conditions in NYC will be as they were in the 70s only if it is allowed to happen. If the city is able to finance basic services, such as transit, without squeezing the middle class dry, it could control the budget crunch and avoid losing taxpayers.

Is it possible that the city's recent good times and growth offer advantages, windows of opportunity that were not there in the 70s when things had been on the decline for some time and so many people wanted to flee?

Nov. 21 2008 01:33 AM

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