>Some time ago, I wrote about how much I liked living in our typical Upper West Side of Manhattan apartment. It is cluttered with random books, newspapers, magazines, strange decorations (like Husband’s disturbing movie poster from the Burt Reynolds’ movie Paternity, featuring Burt posing like Uncle Sam, except with his track shirt halfway unzipped to expose his manly chest hairs, and the slogan, “He wants you to have his baby, and my giant Vienna Beef hot dog poster, depicting a ginormous hot dog covering Navy pier with a helicopter dropped a hot pepper on it and a fire boat spraying it with mustard) and random ephemera, such as my Kinder Egg toy collection, which I hope to some day turn into a glorious home-based museum. Plus we’ve got all our moderate-liberal paraphernalia sprinkled about here and there. Again, it’s historically typical stuff for an Upper West Side apartment. No big deal.
Lately, though, I have been increasingly displeased with changes that are going on the neighborhood. Several of my favorite reasonable restaurants have lost leases as gentrification, a process long in the making, speeds up exponentially. My gym (granted, an expensive gym that we happen to have discounts for), the low key pool hall above it where I re-learned to play darts (my favorite bar game!), and the parking garage and take-out chicken place next door are all scheduled for the wrecking ball come November. This would be OK if they were being torn down for some affordable housing, which the neighborhood badly needs, but unfortunately, it is to create more luxury condos. I hate luxury condos and even more, I hate the people who live in them. Now I will have even more assholes for neighbors.
This all crystallized for me last night, when Husband discovered a box of “City Walks: New York” cards under some clutter that he was re-organizing. To distract myself from the self-pitying funk that envelopes me at night these days, I dove in. The box has 50 cards, each with a short walk through a neighborhood in the City, including ones in Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx, of which I enthusiastically approve. Card #31 is titled, “Upper West Side 2: Haute Bourgeois Broadway.” The subtitle is, “Once known for its concentration of left-wing politicos, Upper Broadway is now the capital of the SUV and the double stroller.” Ouch! The sad thing is how true it is. Worse is when the two are combined - if I see one more fucking sidewalk-hogging $679 Bugaboo stroller (and that’s the cheap one; it’s $750 for the “mid-range” and $879 for the “luxury” ride) pushed by an underpaid nanny, I will scream.
Well, at least there are some new households here that desperately cling to the ways of the olden days. Walter Mondale, any one?