9 Comments
Oct 30, 2023Liked by Darrell Owens

This is part of the reason we need more housing in San Francisco. We need more people!

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A female friends’ older daughter who grew up in SF Bay Area is newly arrived in Manhattan for graduate school. She’s reported going out feeling totally safe for shows and seeing the nightlife there.

I wonder how Queens, Brooklyn etc feel late nights. Haven’t been there for exploring this century so I’m out of touch with current vibes. But your account makes it seem like I should come check it out. We should all learn from the best.

From older experience, almost every Japanese city had similar lively districts for late night fun. Even the smaller ones.

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Oct 30, 2023Liked by Darrell Owens

💯 - this was one thing that took me a long time getting used to after moving back to a college town after living in NYC for a decade. The streets here are so often soooo empty, even in and around our compact, campus-adjacent downtown.

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Oct 30, 2023Liked by Darrell Owens

May I testify. My daughter, age 31, lived in and went to collage for four years in Chicago then moved to Brooklyn where she worked as a social worker at Center for Family Representation. From there she earned her Masters degree in social work from NYU. Upon graduation she took a job in the alternative to incarceration program out of the district attorneys office.

I visited both cities frequently. Both have exceptional transit systems. Both cities are eminently walkable and accessible without owning a car which according to the AAA last time I checked the cost of owning the cheapest car possible, was $9K+ a year.

Two points to make. One: affordability. Even with my daughters maters degree and passing New York states certification exam, she could not afford an apartment on her own.

Two: Before you get to giddy about the subway, visit NYC in the summer to help you balance out your enthusiasm. The heat underground is stifling waiting for a train. During workday hours the trains are packed cheek to jowl and hotter than a burnt boot. There are frequent breakdowns delaying arrival to work with frequent failure of air conditioning. Being stuck with no updates as to what happened and expectations of corrections stretches ones tolerance levels to breaking points.

Summary. NYC and the boroughs are great places if you can afford to live there. And, you better have friends who live in the country outside of NYC to visit in the summer. The heat island effect is crushing.

I am delighted Darrell you had a chance to experience NYC and a pleasant one it was!

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Oct 30, 2023Liked by Darrell Owens

I grew up in Chicago in the ‘80s, and the safety of nighttime public transportation for women riding alone was not a thing then (in my perception), not in Chicago or New York (where I traveled often to visit friends and family). I recall noticing women alone on the train at night in Toronto in the ‘90s and thinking how novel it was, and how safe Toronto felt compared to dense US cities.

I started noticing the NYC subway feeling safer in the 2000s (especially after 9/11), and certainly now I have many friends who are women who take the subway late at night -- still with some caution but in a manner unthinkable in the ‘80s and early ‘90s.

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author

Interesting so you think its a post 9/11 thing? I suspected it was a repopulation of NYC after population decline kind of thing

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the 9/11 thing is my personal marker for when I noticed it most significantly, but even though I was spending a lot of time traveling to NYC in the late 90s through 2008 or so, I didn’t actually live there, so I wouldn’t be the most reliable guide.

I’m starting to read more about NYC’s evolution in the latter 20th century so I’m curious myself what factors led to where we are now beyond standard talking points like gentrification, establishment of business improvement districts, increased influx of international money, real estate speculation etc. I certainly don’t miss the squalor and less safe feeling of NY when I was younger, though the city has always felt special to me, even when I had to assume a mask of hardness when walking around back then. The extreme gaps in wealth feel more extreme now though, but that’s a lot of cities post pandemic.

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Great write-up. Your perspective is now more enlightening due to your experience living in the Bay Area and visiting NYC. Keep up the good work Ben.

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I unabashedly love this article. NYC remains one of my most favorite places on Earth, and I’ve been going since before I could walk, back in mid-80s, when it really was as scary & crime-ridden as right-wingers make it out to be now. And it was still a marvel.

I was supposed to be in the City around Indigenous People’s Day weekend & a case of Covid laid me low, so color me extremely jealous you just visited. Best time of year for it, too!

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