Thursday, September 21, 2006

The Village

In David Garrioch's fabulous book on 18th century Paris (shout-out to my 19th Century France class!), much is made about how, early in the century, Paris was not so much a city in the modern sense as a network of village-like neighborhoods. As in, plenty of urban density and filth, but not so much anonymity, not so many gay pride parades, and so forth.

The same thing happened to me!

New York, specifically the Village, is just that. At least if you spent your first 18 years in Manhattan, went to a college whose graduates flock to Wall Street, and currently attend graduate school at NYU. What this amounts to is, I walk down the street, and I know everyone. Everyone. It's bizarre. OK, I do not know the 14-year-old models who've just arrived from Lithuania, but everyone else hovering between, say, Broome Street and Union Square, I can place without so much as Facebook as my guide.

It's great in many ways, don't get me wrong. Conveniently enough, a good number of these people I see and know are also people I like. And what with the blog and all, I could hardly claim a preference for anonymity. All I'm saying is, NYC as I experience it has very little in common with the way 20-somethings here are supposed to.

1 comment:

Jeff said...

It's a small, upper-middle class world. I have the exact same experience, and I'm from New Jersey. It doesn't help that I go exactly where you'd expect to find people the overeducated and shiftless: free concerts at Prospect Park, the Angelika, etc.