Neighborhood Blogs – What Happened to Manhattan?

The New York Times’ City section this weekend featured a cover story on what they termed neighborhood blogs (“You Talkin’ to Me?”). But, as Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York points out today: “The Times takes a look at neighborhood blogs–but I don’t see any Manhattan blogs named. Is that because Manhattan no longer has neighborhoods, but rather shopping centers and party areas?

Manhattan’s neighborhoods are increasingly so gentrified and so homogenized that it’s possible that people don’t identify themselves as part of the neighborhood in the same way people do in the outer boroughs, or else the lines are so blurred between nabes, that it’s hard to tell where one ends and the next begins. Otherwise, I believe we’d see a Chelsea blog, a West Village blog, an Upper West Side blog, etc. (In fact, that would have been an interesting story.)

(There is an East Village blog and that might be one of the few neighborhoods that defies this rule, hanging on by a thread to its character and uniqueness and letting a few wayward souls hang around. Harlem has a blog but also is a neighborhood fighting against being subsumed into the gentrification tsunami. And, of course, if I’m wrong about this lack of Manhattan “neighborhood blogs,” do let me know!)

Otherwise, it seems the Manhattan blogs, like mine, are devoted to specific places and issues — Chelsea Hotel, Stuyvesant Town, Vanishing New York, etc. — that have some challenge going on around them.

In Brooklyn, almost every neighborhood from Park Slope to Gerritsen Beach to Kensington to to Bed-Stuy has a blog! There is much to write about! I believe that gentrification destroys a certain collective creative spirit and that Brooklyn – made up of many people who left or had to leave Manhattan, people who’ve seen first hand what gentrification does and therefore have the will to fight to preserve – to meet that challenge, needs to work to retain the vibrancy that it, in particular, has.

Perhaps Manhattan fell first and so people who lived there weren’t able to catch it in time … perhaps Manhattan was considered so desirable that Wall Street and corporate America and the Bloombergs and Trumps of the world got a stronghold on it with their money and their “power.” Not to say that the outer boroughs aren’t challenged in Mayor Bloomberg’s New York but they have a bit more of a chance.

One day Manhattan will come back (let’s hope before it’s all demolished and replaced with shiny glass buildings and comprised entirely of NYU and Columbia University). Perhaps it’ll be long after Mayor Bloomberg is out of office (’09 preferably) but it’ll happen.

Photo: Annie Mole / London Underground Tube Diary

The article above is from British Metro.