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Can Milennials Save New York?

As evidenced by the countless listicles lamenting the loss of New York’s cultural landmarks, the city’s urban fabric is crumbling at an unprecedented rate. Pissed off and tired of eulogizing small businesses and artistic hubs, spearheaded by Jeremiah Moss, a grassroots initiative has formed to #savenyc and push the Small Business Jobs Survival Act that would protect the longevity of mom and pops. I’d like to share their story and break away from the milennial apathy attached to the term “gentrification."

Often times younger generations memorialize the past with glossy images on their bedroom walls, but I'd like to bring attention to the vibrant culture in New York that is  very much alive and worth saving ; starting with the struggle of the artistic hubs and the people that owe their artistic upbringing to the city’s dying collective consciousness; but most importantly, bringing attention to a tangible solution amid so much apathy. 

I’ve talked to Nick Hodor, co-owner of Cake Shop and Library Bar, Stephen Trimboli, former owner of Goodbye Blue Monday, and have contact for Corey Glover of Living Colour. In addition to reaching out to artists and venue owners, I’ve worked closely with Jeremiah Moss and the #savenyc team. I’m inspired by Ed Hamilton and his foothold at the Chelsea, the written work of Sherill Tippins, the storefront photography of James and Kayla Murray, the activism of Patti Smith, and the political work of Annabel Palma.

After reading countless books that pay homage to the power of New York as an artistic breath of life and listening to the natives roar, I’ve realized that this isn’t a political struggle, but a loss of something far greater; We need places like Cake Shop and Arlene’s Grocery, we need the grit and the wilted wood and the bad decor, the bathroom graffiti that took years of history to cake on. The loss isn’t of the buildings themselves; throughout time artists have sought refuge in these hubs where they were inspired to create some of the most iconic cultural offerings of our time. We are destroying diversity destinations and creative refuge. Where will the next generations of dreamers find salvation from the social timeline in New York when condos and Chase banks have crushed the spaces that harness imagination?

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