Sunday, August 5, 2012

New York Changes

I enjoy applying google maps & street views to vintage scenes to see what has changed.
Here's an example taken from Flickr, a scan of a 1978 photograph of 11th Street at The West Side Highway (West Street) in the West Village by M. Joedicke.
In 1978, New York City was at an economic nadir, but a cultural apex. The City was broke, dangerous, unappealing, and cheap. At the same time, dozens of cultural strands bubbled up, over, and onto each other: Punk on The Bowery, Disco Midtown, Latin Rock & Salsa in Spanish Harlem, Hip-Hop being born in The Bronx. The mix was more intense than it ever was and ever would be again.
11th Street & The West Side Hwy NYC 1978

Below is the same intersection lifted from google street view in 2012.
This corner of the West Village has gentrified completely in the three decades since the shot above. The gaudily-colored building set with porticos is Julian Schnabel's fantasia, Palazzo Chupi -- part Venice, part Gotham. All out of reach, if you must ask. The empty lot is long gone, replaced by an anonymous residential tower occupied by the well-to-do, celebrities, and select Made-It artists like Schnabel.
11th Street & The West Side Hwy NYC 2012
Manhattan real estate is now the most sought-after square footage in America. The rise from the bottom in the late 70s and early 80s was well underway by the time of the terrorist attacks in 2001. Since then the economic dynamo has barely stopped working overtime, generating an astounding wealth for New York's financial elite. For all such Booms there must come a Shock. The sound of money is quite different than the sound of music. Money will always make the World go 'round, but that hard beat creates unstoppable waves, waves in which we all sink or swim.
Bricks remain, another delivery truck arrives, a lot gets filled. New York changes. That much is the same.

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