Post Road Magazine #21

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For the Love of New York , by Asad Raza

I first moved to New York at the tail end of a Downtown era, when David Dinkins had heeded Phife Dog's (of A Tribe Called Quest) call: "Mr. Dinkins, would you please be our mayor?/You'll be doing us a really big favor. . ." At the time, you were personally welcomed to the city after emerging from the Holland Tunnel: in the ensuing Canal Street traffic jam, your car swiftly received the attention of the "squeegee men," itinerant car-washers equipped with buckets, rags, and old car wipers they would use to wipe sudsy water off your windshield, for which you duly handed over a buck or two. Waving them off was useless; they had sociopathic persistence. Such encounters immediately demonstrated New York's difference from the suburban USA. Its aggressive street capitalism was more in tune with Karachi or Mexico City than with Chicago or Houston. There was a Time magazine cover story around that time on the global megacity; it was illustrated with pictures of the slums of Bombay, Lagos, Rio de Janeiro, and the South Bronx—that about sums up what New York City signified to mainstream America circa 1990....more

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