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 • 1 435

  • Linda Cloud Observer
    Linda Cloud Observer  1 weeks back

    They keep voting for Leftists and far left liberals don't they? They keep changing the goal posts and boundaries. Fire is fire and not water and water is water and not fire and renaming them does not change them.

    • I Ya
      I Ya  2 days back

      Giuliani and Bloomberg were republicans.

  • Linda Cloud Observer
    Linda Cloud Observer  1 weeks back

    As more and more Leftist Democrats become entrenched in the cities as mayors and city officials and worry more about plastic straws and the size soda drinking cups. The Left is too confused to know up from down and right from wrong. They live in a daily daze of self imposed deception. They think they are on top of everything and better than others. Meanwhile...... Sad.

    • Morgan The
      Morgan The  2 weeks back

      I was with this all the way until when you said we need to force black kids into majority white schools. The truth is if you do that all the white people will leave and make a new school because the fact that there are black kids in a school is what makes it dangerous. If you remove test score requirements the school will not be a top school anymore. It will just be your average school where the black students fight the teachers and cause chaos. This is the TRUTH! White parents DO NOT want their children going to school with large amounts of blacks. IT ISN'T SAFE!

      • Sammy N
        Sammy N  2 weeks back

        And my family is always bragging about wanting to move back east. They can go live in a cardboard box in upper Manhattan paying half their salaries in rent and I'll stay in my medium sized affordable to live in city in the southwest, thank you very much.

        • Onnion France
          Onnion France  2 weeks back

          Most artists when interviewed feel that with the internet there is NO need to be in cities like NYC. John Waters (Maryland), Kim Gordon(now in LA) all have said Manhattan is just a wealthy shopping mall at this point. The intellectual give and take that one once went to in cities is now replaced by likes and social media. Things change. I like NY- I'm from here but it's kind of over . Nothing lasts forever.

          • severo estornudo
            severo estornudo  3 weeks back


            • DAM
              DAM  3 weeks back

              this chick thinks the Rockaways is nice???? WHERE????

              • ANGELO54
                ANGELO54  3 weeks back

                I say that long time ago. New York is going down and very fast.

                • Angel La Canfora
                  Angel La Canfora  3 weeks back

                  Seems to me this same scenario is playing out in major cities the world over. It's capitalism run amok. Capitalism only works if the rich are benevolent humanitarians who invest their money into programs and projects that help those with less. Unfortunately, human nature being what it is, it hasn't worked out that way and now we're left with increasingly stratified cities - the haves have more; the have nots, too little. The gap will only continue to widen.

                  • Emerson
                    Emerson  3 weeks back

                    WHY DOESN'T SHE BLINK?!?!

                    • Luis Almonte
                      Luis Almonte  3 weeks back

                      Yeah some of the big cities in America like New York and San Francisco is taken over by the rich and kicking out the people that make that particular city what it is. It's sad to see the city that I grown up in city changing for the ultra rich that don't even live there.

                      • Sammy N
                        Sammy N  2 weeks back

                        What sucks is people who leave those cities because they can no longer afford to live there migrate towards inland cities and eventually repeat the process all over.

                    • R.W
                      R.W  3 weeks back

                      Yes and it's all thanks to the democrats.

                      • Universal Cerberus
                        Universal Cerberus  3 weeks back

                        Right, because a dying rural republican town is a much better alternative.

                    • Tony Faxton
                      Tony Faxton  3 weeks back

                      A few hundred years ago up until half a century ago, our ancestors shed their sweat and blood on the street, so we could have a better life, more freedom and voice which were privileges only for aristocracy. Somehow just in the last 50 years, we managed to give them all back to the top 1% of the elite aristocrats....not just in NYC, but everywhere. The blame is on us, not the politicians.

                      • thegreendestiny
                        thegreendestiny  3 weeks back

                        Blame the democrat politicians who have run this city and state for how many decades now.

                        • Luis M
                          Luis M  3 weeks back

                          I do agree on the Peering out of their Hyperloop windows, but it doesnt have to take 100 years, in fact it can take less than 10.

                          • Luis M
                            Luis M  3 weeks back

                            If white and asian kids can score high enough to get into these high schools but latinos and blacks cant, then maybe it isn't racism. Maybe, just maybe, some kids studied harder and are therefore smarter than the other kids. Or you could always take the intellectually lazy and dishonest route and call racism instead of addressing the root of the problem. Oh and lowering test standards for the sake of "diversity" will cause more problems than you seek to solve. Think parents sending their kids elsewhere entirely.

                            • Luis M
                              Luis M  3 weeks back

                              Congestion tax 18 years behind London, so you want NYC to be as expensive as London, got it.

                              • Luis M
                                Luis M  3 weeks back

                                New York is the last city on Earth with a "car culture", especially if you take it how many square miles the city is. And you call yourself college educated.

                                • Luis M
                                  Luis M  3 weeks back

                                  Making because there aren't enough wealthy home owners to keep feeding the coffers of the City take department and its never ending increasingly large budget.

                                  • Luis M
                                    Luis M  3 weeks back

                                    Brought to you by the Democratic Party. The irony is that by continuing to vote in leftist policies you will only make it worse.

                                    • Luis M
                                      Luis M  3 weeks back

                                      The irony is that you are nostalgic about the New York of 100 years ago but then contradict yourself when you bring up how its different today, then you wonder why this isn't the New York of 100 years ago.

                                      • Luis M
                                        Luis M  3 weeks back

                                        Hudson Yards was the most exciting development in recent NYC history and it was a private project. That being said, why cant we finish the full Second Avenue Subway? Phase 1 took a decade (More if you're really counting) and phases 2,3,4 will be ready when? by 2100? We need 21st century infrastructure, we need the Boring Company intra-city Loop system and we need inter-city Hyperloops and Maglevs. This video talks about how NYC lost its grand bold visions right? So let's bring that back.

                                        • Omar Gonzalez
                                          Omar Gonzalez  3 weeks back

                                          Rampant unregulated capitalism happened

                                          • edantes2008
                                            edantes2008  3 weeks back

                                            New York City, great place to live during the 70's, 80's and 90's, after 9/11 it was never the same, NYC for ever in my heart!

                                            • My wifes son
                                              My wifes son  3 weeks back

                                              Shithole cities

                                              • Whitfield Palmer
                                                Whitfield Palmer  3 weeks back

                                                The problem with New York is that New Yorkers think they are cosmopolitan because they ate some spicy chicken wings in little Korea. They think it’s the best on earth. There are many better cities.

                                                • Nordinator
                                                  Nordinator  3 weeks back

                                                  1:03 Arabic : thank you!! ش ك ر ا

                                                  • Olivia
                                                    Olivia  3 weeks back

                                                    I agree so much with the city of the rich message. I am not denying the fact that I am fairly well off, but I think some rich people take it a step too far. I've always heard the phrase, "When in Rome, do as the Romans do." and I try to take that to heart. I travel to New York annually to see Broadway shows, and it's like seeing a time lapse of the city. Every time I visit, I see more chattering tourists taking selfies in the lobby of their expensive hotel, and less students in a cafe or even just regular locals walking to work.

                                                    • Dr ROLFCOPTER!
                                                      Dr ROLFCOPTER!  3 weeks back

                                                      HAHAHA Hyperloop....

                                                      • Dr ROLFCOPTER!
                                                        Dr ROLFCOPTER!  3 weeks back

                                                        Lol you think 900USD per month is a lot for an appartment. You can live in a shithole town in sweden and pay that amount

                                                        • whitetigergrowl
                                                          whitetigergrowl  3 weeks back

                                                          It needs more political diversity and ideology. Without it, the only ones to blame are the ones that insist on going it alone.

                                                          Shutting down other ideas and such doesn't help anyone and is a sign of ignorance.

                                                          No one political party is better than the other. And without that political diversity and ideology you've effectively limited yourself.

                                                          No one to blame but yourself at that point.

                                                          • rexbk09
                                                            rexbk09  3 weeks back

                                                            Love, love, love!

                                                            • O O
                                                              O O  3 weeks back

                                                              I got major chills with the concluding sentence

                                                              • Alex Sano
                                                                Alex Sano  3 weeks back

                                                                Run for office, please.

                                                                • James S.
                                                                  James S.  3 weeks back

                                                                  Creepy eyes.

                                                                  • Voot Eimer
                                                                    Voot Eimer  3 weeks back

                                                                    Is this girl in middle school? Or just her brain?

                                                                    • Cornell Waters
                                                                      Cornell Waters  3 weeks back

                                                                      🚋 Thank You!

                                                                      • Mandar .M.M.
                                                                        Mandar .M.M.  4 weeks back

                                                                        The rich and poor ideally need to live together in same neighbourhoods. Expensive Condos are always going to stay empty no matter what. However building these does create employment. Yes safe bike lanes, walking infrastructure are important and so is public transport. Congestion charge is must.

                                                                        • Frank Cicero
                                                                          Frank Cicero  4 weeks back

                                                                          Well when you have the NY Daily Trash , NY Grime , liberal rod strokers , a Mayor who is Fk in moron it's safe to say NYC Sucks !

                                                                          • Shane Herr
                                                                            Shane Herr  4 weeks back

                                                                            her vision is VR? something already quiet antiquated in tech industry by the end of 2019...thats her vision? what happened to the new york times?

                                                                            • Shania Grant
                                                                              Shania Grant  4 weeks back

                                                                              I would move but this is the state with all the nice restaurants and great diversity. I will not be the token black person for a whole town.

                                                                              • Christopher Mulrooney
                                                                                Christopher Mulrooney  4 weeks back

                                                                                As a native New Yorker I understand what she means... but I want a bigger vision than the solutions she’s proposing

                                                                                • Matthew K
                                                                                  Matthew K  4 weeks back

                                                                                  I live in Indianapolis, a city far smaller than NYC. It’s an oasis of blue in the middle of Indiana, in the deep red of the middle of the country. I love my city, I love my state (but I wish it was more progressive). But I’m noticing a lot of the same trends that she describes here. Out public transit is the worst in the country. A new apartment building was built downtown with $8,000/month rent while I’m currently sitting in a White Castle next to a homeless man hiding from the snow.

                                                                                  • Jeff Conway
                                                                                    Jeff Conway  4 weeks back


                                                                                    • Jay P
                                                                                      Jay P  4 weeks back

                                                                                      Well duh.... NYC is just a playground for tourists now. All the residents are dirt poor. The whole NYC glamor is just a farce.

                                                                                      • Trey Jackson
                                                                                        Trey Jackson  4 weeks back

                                                                                        her eyes are crazy

                                                                                        • ultronae ultron
                                                                                          ultronae ultron  4 weeks back

                                                                                          But it will be more diverse, so it will be better.

                                                                                          • Pontus Ekholm
                                                                                            Pontus Ekholm  4 weeks back

                                                                                            Robert Moses built a lot of the public housing in New York City, and plenty of other infrastructure New Yorkers take for granted (not the subway though, he hated it).
                                                                                            However, so much power in any individual was dangerous and also did a lot of harm to NYC (the subway maintanence being the most visible) and hurt especially people of color.

                                                                                            Such powerful, vision driven projects are impossible now in New York, by design. City Hall and Albany does not want another Moses.