New York Magazine – Addendum

October 6, 2008

Another reason I enjoyed Kurt Anderson’s piece for New York‘s 40th Anniversary issue was because he brought up a point that I’ve discussed with friends several times: that a generation can only speculate at what its legacy will be. Anderson discusses seminal calling cards of ’70s and ’80s New York such as Warhol’s Factory and the downtown art scene (Haring, Basquiat, etc.), the rise of post-punk at CBGBs and the birth of hip hop, among others. In hindsight, it seems clear that such revolutionary cultural goings on would define the times, but as Anderson notes, he and his peers had no way of knowing that these would be the things that history would remember. They were just a part of life at the time.

It’s fun to guess at what our generation’s New York will be known for. If I were forced to project what people will remember of post-9/11 NYC in my limited scope, I’d have to point out (in no particular order) the proliferation of the hipster (begrudgingly), the digital exchange of music and the MySpace age, the fall of print media and the rise of bloggers, the watering down of club culture, the financial crisis, gentrification on an even grander scale and the most polarizing election in recent memory. Who knows, some of these things may be forgotten altogether or become woven into the social and culture landscape. Guess we’ll have to wait and see. Feel free to offer your own speculations.


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