Is New York City an Empire in Decline? | NYT Opinion

  • Published: 07 October 2019
  • New York City was built on big, bold ideas. The vision of past leaders kept New Yorkers in town and captured the imaginations of millions from around the world who came here to “make it.” In the Video Op-Ed above, Mara Gay, a native New Yorker who has reported on the streets of this city for seven years, questions where all that vision is today. She argues that New York’s current leaders need to bring big ambition and hustle to serve their residents. She supplies ideas of what vision could look like to a mayor whose reluctant homecoming offers dim hope for the city. New Yorkers, she says, deserve more.

    This isn’t just a New York story — it’s a trend in many cities around the world, where broad public programs are pushed aside for narrow corporate interests and where transformative polices are as hard to come by as affordable rents.

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Comments • 1 041

  • haoru chen
    haoru chen  7 hours back

    So a world wide real estate crash? Nah!

    • Mirza Ahmed
      Mirza Ahmed  12 hours back

      3:56 so what?

      • Alex Daniel
        Alex Daniel  12 hours back

        I’m a Brit in Manchester uk and I even know the answer to this one; Robert Moses!!!

        • Shaun Riley
          Shaun Riley  13 hours back

          Let the progressives crumble!!!! It would be oh so glorious to see the rich to poor progressive lose everything 👍🏽👍🏽👍🏽

          • D
            D  14 hours back

            She ain't rocket science: those great ideas didn't originate in NYC. All that "this city = the greatest" attitude drove away the people bringing those great ideas, so now you're stuck with your insular, self-serving attitudes in your decaying city.


            • Jarvis Jenkins
              Jarvis Jenkins  16 hours back

              NEW YORK WHERE YOU AT?! Atlanta is looking great for minorities! Colorado is looking nice too! The bears just eat the homeless people here. A few guys got too drunk and passed out on the lawn , they got eaten too! Get bears into New York and every body will have the incentive to innovate! Innovate or die! We will lose few but their sacrifice will create the smartest most hard working rags to riches you’ve ever seen. Even Chicago has bears 🐻😂!

              • alex zee
                alex zee  16 hours back

                If you're college educated or know a profession/ trade. Leave NY simple as that. Living will be so much better and comfortable in a different state. Don't be blinded by the bright lights...

                • JDiculous
                  JDiculous  17 hours back

                  I spent 5 years in NYC. The first year was awesome. After that, things just got worse as I noticed what a sh**hole the city actually is. I saw firsthand the enormous homeless population growing each year while the only new buildings that pop up are glass luxury condos that serve only to help foreign oligarchs launder their fortunes. Mom and pop shops are being replaced with Chase bank branches and corporate franchises. Living in a shoebox in a literal tenement building costs $2-4k/month. The subway has gotten worse every year and is on the verge of disaster due to neglect. Aggressive panhandlers and mentally ill homeless people shouting to themselves everywhere. I once saw one of them pull their pants down and take a sh** in a public park in broad daylight.

                  NYC is a playground for rich people and trust fund babies. Any character it once had is long gone, the interesting people have already left and moved on with their lives. Live there for a year or two if you have to for that job, but then gtfo. Unless you're a multimillionaire, housing is too expensive there, so you can't afford to plant any roots and build a future there.

                  • Bryzz Lull
                    Bryzz Lull  22 hours back

                    Putting kids into a school who cant keep up with the workload to achieve "justice" is anything but. Its sadistic.

                    • Bryzz Lull
                      Bryzz Lull  22 hours back

                      Rent is high because of rent control dunce. You know, another wondeful bleeding heart idea.

                      • Bryzz Lull
                        Bryzz Lull  22 hours back

                        Love how she says the city is more safe but doesnt mention Giuliani.

                        • Andrew Rocha
                          Andrew Rocha  24 hours back

                          I actually want to move to NYC because it’s been my dream since I was 14. everyone says I’m crazy for this It sucks because I STILL want to live there knowing full well I ain’t got no money.

                          • kagoon0709
                            kagoon0709  1 days back

                            NYC just simply sucks. I prefer Tokyo where I live.

                            • Taylor Cole
                              Taylor Cole  1 days back

                              Wait admission into high school? As in public high school? I am from Canada... someone explain this

                              • y’all nasty
                                y’all nasty  19 hours back

                                in nyc there are I think 8 specialized high schools that are the top public high schools in the city but in order to get in you need to take a test and get higher than a specific score

                            • Exceed
                              Exceed  2 days back

                              I would like to take her out to dinner so we can continue the topic in more detail ❤️

                              • Weicong Zhang
                                Weicong Zhang  2 days back

                                New York is nothing more then a place to work and meet people. Living here is complete trash, Everything is so overprice. And yeah the rich here are stealing from the poor.

                                • Terence Ng
                                  Terence Ng  2 days back

                                  No one is discriminated from attending Stuyvesant. If you pass a test, you can attend. It doesn't get more fair than that.

                                  • William Fang
                                    William Fang  2 days back

                                    But to be fair, Los Angeles faces similar kinds of problem, especially when it comes to high cost of housing and congestion. I bet many other big cities in California and throughout the country have problems like this. But solutions are elusive.

                                    • allthingsbgi
                                      allthingsbgi  2 days back


                                      • Narayana kulkarni
                                        Narayana kulkarni  2 days back

                                        Is it
                                        ? #nykworld

                                        • R H Johnson
                                          R H Johnson  2 days back

                                          America is itself an idea in decline

                                          • Big Travis
                                            Big Travis  2 days back

                                            If NYC didn’t naturally generate so much cash we all know democrats would have ran it out of business long ago

                                            • HappyFamilyPlan
                                              HappyFamilyPlan  2 days back

                                              the entire united states is, obviously, an empire in decline... the difference between us and other historical empires is that our reign has been very short and our decline is very rapid. we're in the "caligula phase" currently.

                                              • diane dreyfus
                                                diane dreyfus  2 days back

                                                Sanctuary city, huh?

                                                • Marc Johnson
                                                  Marc Johnson  2 days back

                                                  Nice things cost money! It’s a basic capitalist principle. When the demand goes up, cost goes up. It’s unavoidable.

                                                  If you’re even as high a statues as upper middle class, you’re crazy to live in NYC no matter what affordable housing or bike lanes go up. You spend such an unGodly amount of money on living expenses and entertainment costs it’s just impossible to set yourself up for any kind of decent life or retirement.

                                                  But this video unfairly (at least indirectly) blames everything on the rich who, by the way, spend over 55% of their annual income (between federal, state and city) on taxes. They’re not getting off easy either. No one wants to talk about the fact that a major reason things are so expensive is the democratically run and implemented over regulation of the city and artificially raised minimum wages. You want to have a nice lunch or dinner? Say hello to the $10 beer and $15 glass of wine. Running a business has become impossible there!

                                                  • Betty Cooper
                                                    Betty Cooper  2 days back

                                                    If you get rid of the admission test, a number-one school will cease to be a number one school.

                                                    • Ryan B.
                                                      Ryan B.  2 days back

                                                      Hard to be an artist, or a thinker, or really any thoughts outside of work if you have to pay 3000$ a month for a 1bedroom apartment

                                                      • madmann1000
                                                        madmann1000  2 days back

                                                        What is she talking about?

                                                        • Marlin Tilcock
                                                          Marlin Tilcock  2 days back

                                                          Just one white guys comment. How hot is this girl?

                                                          • T H
                                                            T H  2 days back

                                                            NYC should construct a border wall around itself; that would keep out the Mega-Rich. Wait...

                                                          • Red Butterfly
                                                            Red Butterfly  2 days back

                                                            This video clearly just want to appeal to elon musk to build hyperloop in new york instead of highway above the park. U should said it straight. Its not a big request to elon musk. He would love to build one for new york

                                                            • Mark and Cathy Nickerson

                                                              Term limits. Vigilance.

                                                              • Nancy Goo
                                                                Nancy Goo  2 days back

                                                                Taxes, taxes,taxes!

                                                                • ruzzell907
                                                                  ruzzell907  2 days back

                                                                  "I don't just want us to be a playground for the rich"
                                                                  Uh, sis. New York City, especially Manhattan, that's where economic activity happens. You're the typical millennial. Blame every private company and cry for help to the oversized and expansive government.
                                                                  2:37 Oh, you're looking for $900 apartments? Move to Elmhurst or Flushings. Look, it's not the private sector's fault for only building luxury apartments in Manhattan just to break even with their investment, because NYC bureaucracy, taxes, and regulations make it expensive to build in the first place. Affordable apartments will show up in the market if developers can afford to gamble their investment with low cost housing in Manhattan if here were less taxes and complicated regulations.
                                                                  Punishing people for not taking the dirty subway through charges is absolutely unfair. Improve the subways rather than punishing people who drive.
                                                                  4:01 Have you heard of charter schools? They're mostly black and hispanics.

                                                                  • Yanil Paredes
                                                                    Yanil Paredes  2 days back

                                                                    I'm a native New Yorker and the quality of life has definitely gone down hill! DeBlasio is awful. Homelessness is up. Rent is insane. Public transportation is horrible. People are driven out of their homes because although we've passed some decent rent control laws, many landlords can still find loopholes. How many old people were pushed out into the streets because their neighborhood was gentrified? There is so much inequality throughout the city. It is abnormal for professionals to be living with roommates past their late 20's. Many people don't know DeBlasio made it so that heroin addicts can LEGALLY shoot up their drugs in Bronx parks! So yes, there are needles in certain playgrounds, playgrounds that used to be family friendly. He protects criminals and can't even back up the NYPD. As a Bronx native I know personally how corrupt an unjust they can be, but you need law and order! Penalize the crooks without penalizing the people. If you are middle class in NY, you are f***** and this is why so many people are crossing the river! That being said, NY is amazing an NY will always be home, but there's no use in working to live in a place where they no longer want people like you.

                                                                    • curtisa3rd
                                                                      curtisa3rd  2 days back

                                                                      San Francisco is in decline too. 12 billion dollar Operating budget for less than 1 million people and we’re not even adequately funding public schools

                                                                      • David Wu
                                                                        David Wu  2 days back

                                                                        I was with her right until she called the admissions test discriminatory. It's an exam, it doesn't cause the school segregation problem - it's a symptom of segregation in housing. Eliminating the test won't fix the fact that a huge percentage of black and Latin kids are not even meeting middle school minimum standards.

                                                                        • Poopy
                                                                          Poopy  2 days back

                                                                          New York is too liberal for its own good

                                                                          • Keb
                                                                            Keb  2 days back

                                                                            Hit the nail on the head. Lack of vision that works for everyone, not just the financially well off which is the vast minority of the population.

                                                                            • halifaxx55
                                                                              halifaxx55  2 days back

                                                                              I'm sorry but don't praise bloomberg, he was the nail in the coffin for Manhattan's soul.

                                                                              • douglasjgallup
                                                                                douglasjgallup  3 days back

                                                                                I lived in NYC for 10 years and while I loved it, it was the public transit that killed it for me. I love the subway, but when you ride the C train, in a vehicle that's from 1970, and it only comes every 10 minutes at rush hour ... It just sucks.

                                                                                • Justin H
                                                                                  Justin H  3 days back

                                                                                  Great video. The problem is that the politicians have sold out to the developers and real estate owners. I'm looking to move away due to the excessive cost rent here.

                                                                                  • garagedancer
                                                                                    garagedancer  3 days back

                                                                                    Its funny watching the tourists marvel at all the new tourist attractions and other tourists.

                                                                                    • oz28km3622kg
                                                                                      oz28km3622kg  3 days back

                                                                                      such a cess pool and i hate it here

                                                                                      • goodfellabeats
                                                                                        goodfellabeats  3 days back

                                                                                        An empire is group, organization, or state that is ruled a supreme authority. The rich and powerful will rule New York so technically, New York City is becoming an empire.

                                                                                        • Michael Wargo
                                                                                          Michael Wargo  3 days back

                                                                                          Oh yeah, this is The New York Times...

                                                                                          • saul Serrano
                                                                                            saul Serrano  3 days back

                                                                                            I lived in nyc my whole life.An admission test is a good thing in my mind.The school has expectations.You got to meet the bar to get in.We can work on making lower grade schools better.

                                                                                            • To Be Honest
                                                                                              To Be Honest  3 days back

                                                                                              USA is an Empire in Decline!