*From this NYT article. Although it may seem as one of those gentrification & commercialization laments, it is actually an interesting analysis of conformity.
“Into this culture of resistance that New York has always personified has come this incredible middle class thinking. Which is all about consensus. It isn’t diversity. The individual is not empowered anymore in our culture. The overriding value is to fit in — not make waves. You can’t network if you’re too individual, and there is an incredible taste for mediocrity in the world.”
“For decades and decades… a couple of hundred years, New York was the most sophisticated place on earth. America has always resented the freedom that people in New York had compared to the rest of the country. Because New York was anonymous. You came here to reinvent yourself. You came here to get away from a small town where everybody knew your business. And New York has been suburbanized. This has been an ongoing process over the past 20 years. People used to come to New York because they wanted to be like New York, they wanted to reinvent themselves in the face of the magnetic energy and the freedom of the streets of New York. Now people come to New York and they want New York to be like where they’re from.”