i feel beyond fortunate to have lived through NYC in the 80’s and 90’s. i got to experience pre-transplant/hipster times that they long for, and think that they have. they don’t, and they won’t… not ever.
see, there are things that have happened since i was born that were raw and early that can no longer exist. simple things like small shops in the village that had character, graffiti on the trains, the “don’t walk/walk” signs (apparently non-english ppl can’t read, so they switched them out), phonebooths, cool music venues, paper transfers, tokens, lower population – when we had room to breathe, affordable rent. i know there was crime, and tons of pollution, and gross sex stuff going on in times sq. – but the good outweighed the bad for us.
of course people have always landed here, i’m not saying as a native of NYC being born in the 80’s, that i’m anything special… but this used to be a place people could come and actually live here. it wasn’t a fad. these youthful, bearded idiots from other states have filled up the boroughs so badly, that there’s no room for that, or growth anymore.
back in the early 90’s, my mother was making the salary that i make today. salaries haven’t differed or gone up all that much… our rents (we usually lived in apartments) were ~$750 per month for a 2 BR in suburban queens. now… 2 BR’s start at $2-24000 per month. sure, i also blame the landlords, but i also blame the morons that pile 2/3 people in those 2 BR’s and hike up the rents.
anyways, i’m veering off from the point of this post (i’m sorry, i get transplant-rage).
i was looking for spots in queens recently, that could potentially hold a holiday pop-up shop for a collective of crafters. i landed on a cute boutique in astoria, queens that had a little garden and it was really quaint, you know? so i bookmarked it in my brain, and i followed the owner on twitter and instagram (who never followed back, eyeroll). after a while, i started seeing her posting stuff re: queens pride. kitschy sports banners, tote bags, t-shirts, etc. and at first, i was like “COOL!”, because i love anything queens related… but then i realized after then only seeing “ASTORIA • QUEENS” pride, that there was a problem.
astoria, queens growing up equated to the following…
1. greek stuff
2. coffee shops and bakeries
3. diners (usually owned by greeks)
4. steinway street shops
5. astoria park
like any other spot in queens, you probably went there for something specific (ie: corona: ices and good spanish food, or jackson heights for great indian food). astoria was never “a thing”. sure, the people that grew up there had astoria “pride”, but no one shouted it from the rooftops like it was some sort of novelty item. that’s the trouble with these transplants… they seem to think we lack some type of neighborhood pride or community. they want to celebrate where they landed, thinking it’s the coolest place on the planet. BUT… it’s. just. queens.
when they’re at home in like, norwoodville, iowa, do they have the same pride? are there sports banners and t-shirts and tote bags celebrating their neighborhood? errrrm. probably not.
anyways, back to the little shop that i found…
i started seeing this “ASTORIA QUEENS” pride merch, but no other queens ‘hoods. of course my native spidey senses were tingling, and i was outraged that i was potentially and initially duped by a transplant. upon further googling (and i had to dig pretty deep since homegirl never really openly admits her origins, and has “been an “ASTORIAN” (lol) for over a decade), i found out she was from the midwest, just as i figured.
they stick out like sore thumbs… they’re so fucking lame.
i don’t even know what they get from this city anymore, since it doesn’t even feel how it used to. they’ll never know what it felt like, so i guess whatever this shitty city has turned into is good enough for them, and that’s sad. it’s bland, it’s too much money, it’s too crowded.
GO LOVE YOUR OWN CITY, ASSHOLES.