24 November 2008

A Real New Yorker

Last night I was supposed to meet a bunch of PPMB-ers at BARCADE to give a proper send off to our Canadian friend M.W., who'd been in town for last weekend's ERGS-travaganza. Barcade is located all of three blocks from my house, but I guess I've lived here long enough to fall under the pernicious influence of Brooklyn (Sub)Standard Time, which is the zone in which appointments, shows, whatever, start, well, whenever. Result: I turned up a full three hours late (hey, that's one hour per block; not SO bad, is it), which was still better than most of the PPMB, who didn't turn up at all.

The four who did, including M.W. himself, had already fled back to Queens and Manhattan by the time I came strolling in, which was a disappointment (to me, anyway; I don't recall any of them complaining). But while I may have acquired some bad Brooklyn habits (hey, at least no drugs yet), I'm not, and apparently never will be - in the minds of some, anyway - a Brooklynite. Let alone a real New Yorker.

I can live with that. I've called a lot of places home over the years without giving too much concern over whether the people who'd been living there longer than I had felt similarly. I've had the occasional snooty Londoner, and quite a few snooty San Franciscans, waylay me with some version of "But you're not really from here, are you?" But I've never thought of New Yorkers as being that provincial; in fact, the general rule seems to be the smaller the town, the more obsessed the locals are with whether or not you're "from" there.

Thus I was mightily surprised when a near-violent row broke out between JONNIE WHOA OH, the feisty CEO of WHOA OH RECORDS and JOHNNY B-BAGS, an aspiring lawyer who moved here from DC by way of Ohio a year or two ago, over whether B-Bags had the right to refer to himself as a "New Yorker."

Now even I've been here longer than B-Bags (and if we're going to be pedantic, I was here decades before Whoa Oh and his fellow traveler CHRIS GRIVET ever laid eyes on this city), and I'll admit it can be a bit off-putting when someone who moved in last week starts talking about "our" neighborhood and "our" community in a too-knowing and familiar way (not that I've ever done this myself, but actually, yes I have). But the longer I live somewhere and the more I feel at home there, the less bothered I am by newcomers, and the happier I am to see them feeling like they belong there too.

Not so with Messrs. Whoa Oh and Grivet. In their book (and a ponderous, well-thumbed volume of rules and regulations it is), you can not be a New Yorker unless you were born here. The Bronx's BILL FLORIO is a bit less stringent: he reckons you need to have been here "since junior high" to make the cut.

Whoa Oh gets pretty irate if you point out that while he qualifies under the "born here" rule, he fails abysmally under the "since junior high" addendum, since he actually spent most of his teenage years out on Long Island. He'll protest that this temporary dislocation doesn't count, since as a minor he had no choice but to follow his mother when she moved there, but using this logic, being born in the city limits should count for even less, since as far as I'm aware, most infants exert no choice whatsoever in where they are born and spend their mewling and puking years.

It would seem, in fact, that one's "home town" is really the place one chooses to live beginning when a person is old enough to have some choice in the matter. I've known New Yorkers who grew up here, didn't like it that much, and split for California or Europe or the Midwest as soon as they were old enough to leave home, and conversely there are kids all over America and the world to whom New York represents their spiritual destiny and can barely wait (in some cases don't even bother waiting) till they're 18 and can move there. So which represents a truer New Yorker? The one who was born here through no choice of his or her own and couldn't wait to leave, or the one to whom living in New York represents a dream come true and is willing to put with any sort of hardship or privation to make it happen?

Well, as I say, it's not a super-important issue to me, or, in my experience, to most New Yorkers. This has always been a city of immigrants, both domestic and foreign, and without the constant stream of newcomers, we'd be, well, Boston or something. But it has given me a good song idea for my hypothetical new band, and though I'm still missing a drummer and a bassist and maybe a guitarist, I'm already off to a good start with this half-rock/half-rap ditty about the blood feud between Queens chauvinists Grivet and Whoa Oh and Brooklyn-based B-Bags. In fact it starts out, "Blood in the streets of Brooklyn and Queens..." and I'm thinking of calling it "Gs On The G Train" in homage to the crosstown line that connects the two boroughs.

In fact, since the only other song I've written in recent years was also about the G train, I may just make this an all-G train-themed band, but that remains under consideration. True, neither Whoa Oh or Grivet would be caught dead on the G; provincial Astorians that they are, they don't consider a subway ride to be a "real" subway ride unless the train passes through Manhattan at some point, even if it requires going miles out of their way to do so.

I'm hoping that my song will, by highlighting the tragic futility of this dispute, forestall a potential blood feud, or at least turn it into an all-singing, all-dancing affair à la an outer-boroughs West Side Story. In the longer run, of course, B-Bags will finish law school and successfully sue for the right to be called a New Yorker while Whoa Oh and Grivet might conceivably move to Santa Monica and get their own sitcom which in addition to its obvious Odd Couple overtones, will revolve largely around the two of them trying to maintain their native New York-ness in the face of rampant, overwhelming Californication. Okay, not the most original premise (I think I Love Lucy pulled a somewhat similar stunt), but with this kind of show it's about 90% character and 10% plot, and these guys... well, they're a couple characters, all right. New Yorkers through and through, and we love them for it. Stay tuned, and in the meantime, let's hope no one gets shot.


Ted said...

Like the "BART song" people in fly-over country (aka the heartland or the sticks-take your pick) won't relate to a song about the G Train.
Maybe you could write a song about a Geo for your Midwest audience. As one of my supervisors (and native Angelino) told me, "Everything outside of Los Angeles is the Midwest to me."
On the other hand, Richard Meltzer
wrote a book backing up his claim that "L.A. is the Capital of Kansas: (Painful Lessons in Post-New York Living).

Anyway, thank you for suggesting "Made in Detroit" on this blog. I have been enjoying Clemens' well-written memoir.

Anonymous said...

You is the original New Yorker, Larry. Ever since your hero Rudi G and his poleece chased them undesirable brown people of the the bad element to the far edges of the outer boroughs and you single wealthy pond-hoppers and culture hustlers could safely come over and easily pay the insane inflated rents and curiously lay claim to the title of 'New Yorker'-as well as shuck a lot of drivelly jive that no one with 5 grams or more of brains would take seriously-all the natives have considered the facts and agree that you and your really cool pop punk friends are indeed the true New Yorkers and deserve the title. Now go spend.

Larry Livermore said...

Somebody's a little grumpy today, no?

P.S. I also lived here when rents were insanely cheap (or in many cases free) and anyone who wasn't fast or strong enough was fair game for the predators who ruled the streets in many if not most neighborhoods. Judging from your attitude, your posturing, and your vapid sloganeering, you're nowhere near old enough to remember just how bad this city was. Here's hoping you and the rest of your generation never have to find out.

Anonymous said...

I saw the 'Gangs of New York' so I'm familiar with the indignities your generation sufferred.
I admire your generation's ability to dodge disease, bombs and bullets and agree that priveliged old white wing-nuts who've survived as long as you have deserve the right to enjoy your twilight years reliving your glory days over and and over and over and I'm not one to demand that you suddenly act your age and snap out of your permanent speed-based acid flash-back. Sorry to have offended you. Please, sing 'Ode to Billy Joe' yet again. That Gilman Street was really something.......

Larry Livermore said...

I'm sorry you're so unhappy, but the vast majority of New Yorkers, both new and old, much prefer life in New York as it is today, even with its obvious drawbacks like astronomical rents, etc., to the decaying shithole that bitter people like yourself seem so nostalgic for.

The ability to attract new residents from all over the world is the hallmark of any great city, and the fact that New York today has a million and a half more people today that it did 30 years ago (when people were streaming for the exits and the city lost over a million residents) is an excellent demonstration of people voting with their feet for the kind of city they want. For those of you who hate safe, successful, prosperous cities, there's always Detroit.

I find it especially sad, though, that your hatefulness has driven you to tired old race-baiting tactics. Before Giuliani those "brown people" that you employ as poster children for your wacked-out ideology were being murdered, robbed and raped at four times the rate they are today, but do people like you give a shit? Hell, no. You'd be perfectly happy to see them plunged back into the violent mayhem that not so many years ago characterized half the neighborhoods in the city as long as it provided you with arguing points for your cockamamie theories. Have you noticed that this is the 21st century, and that one of those "undesirable brown people" has just been elected president of the United States? No, I didn't think so.

Anonymous said...

Why, Larry, not only have I noticed who was elected, I've been supporting him all along, -even way back last spring when you were warning that our candidate was 'too liberal', bragging of being a born-again conservative and singing love songs in praise of the G-man and his success at gentrifying the city for you New Yorkers. Not to mention all those rants in which you kept blaming the woes of your tiny world on black politicians. Nobody's recall is as short as yours-addled by all those bad acid trips? It was amusing to witness you change your tune when no one was buying your bill-of-goods and upon belatedly witnessing the trend and rapidly turning tide you predictably decided that Obama wasn't too liberal after all and jumped your own ship and onto the band-wagon.
Me bitter? I'm not bitter. Ah is greatly amused. You accuse me of being too young to understand? Well...at this point I suppose that anyone who'd pay attention to what you say-even for purely entertainment-seeking reasons-would have to be pretty young, so that one's a no-brainer (and who isn't younger than you at this point?)
I may be younger than you but I'm old enough to know the scent of bullshit when I smell it.

Anonymous said...

Grrr Larry Livermore I hate you so much I can't even post my name!!

Restless Native said...

Sorry, but your sentiment (which I've heard elsewhere from others) comparing parentally-sponsored Williamsburg hipsters, Brooklyn yuppie gentrifiers, and Manhattan "Woo-boys" and "Woo-girls" (frat/sorority-types who stand outside of LES bars at 3am going "Woo-oooo!!") to Ellis Island's huddled, impoverished masses is laughable at best.

I would argue that a comparison between the current day crowd and the actual struggling artists of the past few decades is equally as absurd.

The crux of the matter, which the yuppie/hipster fails to understand, is not that we natives hate 'change' or 'newcomers'--we simply hate the type of newcomer that's currently flocking in like lemmings. Give me West Indians, Europeans, Koreans, any day of the week--just keep the yuppie/hipsters out in the cul-de-sacs where they belong.

Larry Livermore said...

I will speak to my friend Mayor Bloomberg and see what we can do about setting up a commission or perhaps a Board of Review whereby a selection of the right sort of New Yorkers can examine the qualifications of people who wish to move into your city to determine whether they measure up to - oh, how shall I put it? - your admittedly sometimes stringent standards as to who should and should not be allowed to grace its fabled streets. I presume I can put your name forward as Chairperson and Chief Inquisitor?

Anonymous said...

Nominate yourself. You've worked hard and deserve it.
Now, how about more details about when you were a gang-banger.

Restless Native said...

I never suggested that culture-less yuppie and hipster refugees be 'prohibited' from living in NYC--I merely stated the view of myself and many other natives. As for the yuppies, they can come or go however they please, because my friends and I win either way: if they leave, we (and the 'real' immigrants) get our city back, and if they stay, we can rent-gouge them with the once near-worthless houses we've inherited, since they will blindly pay any amount, even outbidding other yuppies, just to live in our previously-unremarkable neighborhood.

I actually had the opportunity to live in a small midwestern city with a 'podunk' reputation, and found the natives there to be a great bunch of people--interesting, genuine, and fun--which is why I now posit the theory that the only out-of-towners who single-mindedly flock to NYC nowadays are the true rejects from places like the midwest. They seize their pent-up anger at the captain of their HS football team and homecoming queen and use it to fuel their pilgrimage here to the mecca of "New Brooklyn," where they can play in jug bands, have handle-bar moustaches, and talk about Dungeons & Dragons without fear of being persecuted.

While the crime of yesteryear was obviously a negative in most aspects, the one positive aspect of it was that it acted as a filter to keep the socially-inept dregs from the rest of the country away. The only people who traveled to NY back then were those who were bold enough and willing to face the danger of everyday life here. Now that the 'filter' is gone, the floodgates have opened, and we find ourselves awash in debris.

Larry Livermore said...

I don't necessarily disagree with many of your points, until, that is, you get to the part about crime serving as a "filter" to keep certain types of people out. You're right, the kind of crime New York once endured did indeed accomplish that goal, but along with the yuppies, trendies, etc., it also made New York unlivable for people's grandmothers, children, disabled people, almost anyone, in fact, who wasn't young, strong, fast and willing to risk getting knocked around every once in a while in exchange for cheap rent and the sensation of "living on the edge."

As someone whose own then 70-something father was attacked in broad daylight by scumbags in San Francisco's Mission District (which then and now distinctly resembles the dysfunctional metropolis New York once was), I find it truly heartless to rationalize, or even joke about crime being good for "keeping the wrong sort of people out." My father was a decent, working class guy who never exploited or took advantage of anyone and who himself got hit by the double whammy of the Great Depression and the Second World War. To let a city become so dangerous that it's no longer safe and livable for a guy like him - the kind of guy who basically helped make the city what it was - is just plain heartless. It's also why a million people - most of them "natives" and or family and friends of natives - fled New York in the 1960s and 70s. It's a hell of a way to run a city - or a society.

Anonymous said...

Your father was indeed a good man, Larry. But you seem confused when you describe him as someone who 'helped make the city what it was'. Your father was a post office worker in suburban Detroit. He had nothing to do with making either San Francisco or New York what it was. Calm down and try if you can, sticking to the subject, no one's attacking your father, brothers, sister or mother.
You're right, always.
You're the real New Yorker.
Your group rules!

Larry Livermore said...

Nearly all of my dad's career was spent at the main Post Office in downtown Detroit. But you are being deliberately obtuse. Of course my father, as an individual, had nothing to do with what happened in New York, very little in San Francisco (he did live there for a few years in retirement). But the point, as I'm sure you know but are refusing to acknowledge, is that embittered nihilists - which you give every sign of being - are very much attacking people like my father, not to mention your own parents and grandparents, when you declare yourself willing to accept a city with high crime rates as a means of keeping out the "yuppies" and others who don't conform to your esthetic or political standards. It's often said that leftists love "the people" but hate people. Your cavalier attitude toward the right of older people, weaker people, disabled people to travel the streets of their city in relative safety suggests that you too are afflicted with that kind of moral myopia.

Anonymous said...

Yes Lar, I am bad, you are good. You are morally superior.
You are a true lover of the people.

And you always get in the last word.

Now how about those stories of your days as a real gangster, okay?
What kind of weapons did you use?

Restless Native said...

"Your cavalier attitude toward the right of older people, weaker people, disabled people to travel the streets of their city in relative safety suggests that you too are afflicted with that kind of moral myopia."

My parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and even disabled relatives all grew old here and did just fine in the 'bad' old New York. So did a lot of other people, because they had something that the "yuppies" (btw I love it when non-natives put the term in quotes, as if yuppies aren't a clearly discernible group of people, but rather some strawman, figment of we natives' imagination) don't have - an average amount of something called "common sense."

Common sense, meaning being aware of where you go, who you have dealings with, and what's going on around you. Even in the 'old' NY, those who stayed aware of their surroundings, didn't walk around obliviously listening to headphones, and didn't involve themselves with buying/selling/using drugs, typically didn't have much of a problem around the city, and you know that.

Common sense should be exercised where ever in the world you go. I'm not very sympathetic to the argument that expecting people to exercise common sense in their everyday lives is 'blaming the victim.' I wouldn't allow my wife/girlfriend to go jogging alone through the park at midnight in Tokyo, and I wouldn't allow her to do so here either, whether it's 1988 or 2008.

Larry Livermore said...

Good to hear that you keep a tight rein on your wife/girlfriend, since she apparently doesn't possess the "common sense" that your distinguished ancestors and relatives did. What else don't you allow her to do? Or think?

Actually, it's probably quite safe to go most places in Tokyo at any hour of the day or night, and, thanks to the great strides made in law enforcement in New York during the last 15 years, reasonably safe here as well. I know quite a few people who jog in Central Park late at night now. In the bad old days that you romanticize, that would have been regarded as firsthand evidence of insanity.

Meanwhile, your arrogance is breathtaking. Because you or your family personally didn't suffer any great harm when crime was out of control, it must not have been that much of a problem. I've heard similar reasoning from rich right wing blowhards who brag that their families never had to go on welfare and claim not to understand why poor people don't just get better jobs and move to better neighborhoods.

But that's just the point: the main victims of rampant crime during the pre-Giuliani era were the poor and the minorities who lived in neighborhoods where the police seldom ventured and you needed something more than "common sense" to secure your safety. An AK-47, for example.

So it looks as though you have every bit as blinkered an outlook as the headphone-listening newcomers you profess to loathe (and when it comes down to it, why shouldn't someone be able to walk around their city listening to music if that's what he or she enjoys? do you really want the kind of city where predatory violence is accepted as part of the natural order of things?). As I've noted before, if you think cheap rent is more important than public safety, maybe you've outlived your time in New York. Cleveland, Youngstown, Detroit, New Orleans: there are dozens of cities that might suit you better these days.

Anonymous said...

And you're still clearly not a New Yorker, but I guess you're a Londoner and whatever else you like to claim. And why the need to try and claim a part of cities/places that you clearly have moved to for a spat of time? Good luck with that.

Restless Native said...

I knew you would love the 'wife/girlfriend' thing. I forgot how much you 'yuppie' types leap at any opportunity to tar another with the racist/sexist/etc. brush as a way of dismissing them. Perhaps I should've chosen my words more carefully, e.g. 'I wouldn't allow any of my loved ones.' Anyway, I see now why you savor being amongst other gentrifiers.

If you want to turn this into a pissing contest about 'Whose vision of old NYC is more accurate;' as opposed to you, a long-term tourist, I was roaming the Brooklyn streets from nine years old, in what used to be tagged as a blighted, mostly Puerto Rican neighborhood. I played in abandoned buildings, collected different-colored crack vials, and watched people get pistol-whipped in front of me. I grew up with many kids who wound up in prison, and even a few who wound up being violently killed, and I saw the paths they took to get there (which were invariably predictable). Like I said, in my experience (which I do believe to be far vaster than yours), nine times out of ten, the victims of serious crime which you wail about were on that trajectory to begin with.

My evidence may be anecdotal, but as a native, I probably know about 100x as many folks here as you. Kids that grew up in those 'minority' neighborhoods you are referring to like 1980's Red Hook, Crown Heights, Bed Stuy, etc. Folks who lived real lives here (again, as opposed to long-term tourists who had their minds made up about what NY was supposed to be before they even got here).

Anyway, this entire debate stemmed from you taking a sliver of something I said, pulling it out of context, and running with it. Do I wake up in the morning wishing that the crime would return? Obviously, no. However, if I said there weren't some days where I get so fed up with your kind that I secretly wish a crime wave would swell and drive you all out, I would be lying. So there you have it.

And as for your other ol' yuppie standby favorite of me having 'outlived my time in NY,' which typically comes after I shut down the 'Ellis Island' comparison (do you all hang out together at Barcade and trade anti-native barbs?)--sorry to disappoint you, but I'm not selling. I'll be here for many years to come. In the meantime, live it up until the time comes for you all to follow the yuppie shotcallers off to the next chosen place.

PS--I purposely mentioned 'Tokyo' because of its reputation as the safest big city in the world. I expected you to catch that, but whatever.

Anonymous said...

But you had Jello's legs broken at beloved Gilman Street because he was too liberal.
You were the head honcho calling the shots, right?

Larry Livermore said...

So, nine times out of ten the victims of violent crime were "on a trajectory" to begin with? In other words, they sort of deserved it? Can we say the same thing about poor people? That they were "on a trajectory" to live in a bad neighborhood and have their babies licking lead paint off the walls of their tenements? And women who get raped are usually asking for it, aren't they? I mean, what do they expect, wearing those short skirts and all?

Thanks for your heartwarming reminiscences about collecting crack vials, watching pistol-whippings and roaming through abandoned houses, and I appreciate how deprived you must feel today's "yuppie" children are for not being able to enjoy such experiences. I have my own heartwarming experiences of living in abandoned buildings on the Lower East Side in the late 1960s, and while it makes colorful material for a memoir, it's not a way of life I would wish on anyone, regardless of their "trajectory."

That period (late 60s/early 70s) was also the only time I was a victim of violent crime in New York City, and while you could probably safely say that my own naiveté played a part in being a victim - the lessons I took away from that experience - don't trust anyone, especially minorities, being one of them - are not ones that I'd like to see being taught to another generation of young people.

One of the better consequences of Giuliani's crime crackdown is that there's now an openness and trust among New Yorkers of all colors and cultures that's rarely seen in any big city these days. Even in the early 1960s, which is the last time New York was as safe as it is today, any such openness and trust extended at best only to members of one's own ethnic or cultural community.

Also, have you considered that your current dissatisfaction with life in New York City really has little to do with the city and its inhabitants, and is more a product of the trajectory you've "been on to begin with?"

Anonymous said...

So you may or may not remember a while back when you bragged about being a former gang member and said something along the lines of that you weren't in the gang on account of that you were part of an underclass or a victim but that it was purely because you enjoyed the power of being a bully and hurting and/or frightening people.

I'm real interested in the chronology. Was this before you were supposedly victimized by a minority? Was it before your father was? Did you and your gang target minorities, gays, the handicapped, etc, or did you keep it in the family, so to speak? Did you mug little old ladies?

Sorry to harp on about this, but I'm really interested in what is to be revealed in the details.

Ben said...

Enjoying having a stalker, Larry?

Larry Livermore said...

It's actually kind of flattering that someone would bother.

Restless Native said...

"One of the better consequences of Giuliani's crime crackdown is that there's now an openness and trust among New Yorkers of all colors and cultures that's rarely seen in any big city these days. Even in the early 1960s, which is the last time New York was as safe as it is today, any such openness and trust extended at best only to members of one's own ethnic or cultural community."

Kind of tired of this, but I just thought I'd point out how absurd this statement is. The oh-so 'open-minded' gentrifiers you're apparently lauding, despite flocking to 'minority' neighborhoods, have about as much contact with their darker-skinned neighbors as Mayor Bloomberg has with regular New Yorkers. It's so incredibly rare to see them associate with anyone outside of their own kind, it would actually cause me to do a double-take to see a died-in-the-wool yuppie/hipster walking with a non-yuppie minority (or caucasian, for that matter).

Even in the thick of Brownsville, Bed Stuy, etc., all they do is show up, pair off with another yuppie/hipster cul de sac kid that could just as easily be their twin brother/sister, and report to the nearest yuppie hive (as I like to call their neighborhood watering holes). Their contact with anyone outside their yuppie transplant circles, in particular minorities, is nil. Public schools in neighborhoods like Park Slope, WB, etc., which were once ridiculously diverse, are now blonder and more blue-eyed than the University of Nebraska. I can assure you, it's no coincidence. Voting for Barack Obama and having 'some best friends who are black' means nothing, when your feet are voting in an entirely different direction.

PS--A large majority of NY natives decided after 9/11 that Giuliani and his questionable crime-crackdown (that curiously coincided with a decrease in crime in cities all across the nation) was bunk. Since you seem to be interested in coming off as a 'NY Insider,' you might want to consider modifying your opinion of him.

Larry Livermore said...

"A large majority" meaning you and your inbred friends?

Rather than regurgitating Freakonomics bafflegab written (or should I say made up?) by a guy who doesn't even live in New York, you might try explaining why New York's crime rate went down at double or triple the rate of most other American cities and kept falling even when other cities' crime rates started rising again. Like Giuliani or hate him, the change on the streets of New York during his time in office was so stunning and remarkable that his enemies have had to twist themselves into gravity-defying contortions to "prove" that he had nothing to do with it, and still come off sounding like vindictive reactionaries ("New York was doing just fine with an annual murder rate of over 2,000; I don't see why these crackpots need to come in and start trying to rearrange things!").

Giuliani had lost a lot of his popularity by 2001, true, but that was far more to do with his abrasive personality than any disenchantment with the results of his policies. Why else would New Yorkers have voted overwhelmingly (twice, and possibly a third time next year) for a candidate who promised to continue most of those polices?

As for the racial issue, I wasn't speaking specifically of the incoming hipsters, but rather of New Yorkers in general, who because of the relative safety of the city can now look at strangers, regardless of color, in terms of individual character rather than Mugger Potential. I'm sorry to hear you're appalled that demographics have shifted in some neighborhoods and that some schools are becoming whiter (if you weren't so blinded by racism that you'll hurl around charges willy nilly without any statistical verification whatsoever, you'd know that there are practically no public schools in the city that are "blonder and blue-eyed than the University of Nebraska").

But even if there were, your problem is exactly what? Over the past 30 or 40 years, many city schools became completely or almost completely black. Did you view this development with similar alarm? If it is racist (and it is) to decry a neighborhood or school for becoming blacker, how is it any less so to fulminate against it becoming whiter? Cities and neighborhoods change and evolve over time. Everything does, except, apparently, your dinosaur knee-jerk views.

Anonymous said...

No stories about your past as a gangster? Okay, we'll just conveniently forget that. Makes me wonder if your claim to having been some kind of gangster (Greyhound Glory Hole Boys, south-side, yellow hankies, left pocket?) was complete bs and you know it, or, if possibly you can't deal with facing your own karmic creations & consequences. Has the irony of your posts-that is that you're mostly attacking your past self or selves-occurred to you?
Maybe you should try some kind of relaxation techniques. As the Firesign Theater said, everything you know is wrong.
Now the predictable retort should be one about hippy burn-outs.
What's in the mirror?
Is it true you resemble, in your old age, Roy Cohn?

Restless Native said...

I find it endlessly ironic that someone who sports a mug such as yours, and hangs with a bunch of "Children of the Corn" yuppie/hipster yokel transplants of indiscernible ethnic background, is calling me "inbred." It just confirms for me once again though, the belief that you all hold about we native 'townies' being the real 'rednecks,' while you and your rural-reject, nasally voiced, pseudo-intellectual yup brethren, slinking and posturing around town in your Chuck Taylors, are the real New Yorkers, just oh-so edgy and cosmopolitan.

Have you and your dopey bar-hopping buds ever contemplated the fact that everyone here hates the white transplants? The natives, the Blacks, the Whites, Irish, Italians, the Hispanics, the Asians, the Hasids (who are robbing you blind)--EVERYONE thinks you're a bunch of clowns. You're all just so fucking isolated within your own yuppie drinking circles that you never hear about it.

You're nothing but a bunch of two-dimensional placeholders, holding the city static until the yuppie pied-pipers sound the call for you all to head back to the 'burbs, and real life resumes here again. Until then, enjoy your 'Yuptopia' while it lasts, because it won't last forever.

Larry Livermore said...

Wow. Simply wow. I don't recall ever suggesting that you were a "redneck" (especially considering that I find the term offensive on pretty much the same grounds that "nigger" is offensive). "Kneejerk reactionary," on the other hand, fits you like a glove, both because of your aversion to change as well as your readiness to resort to the crudest sort of racial and cultural stereotypes. A few helpful points of information:

1. In my entire time living here, I've had one protracted conversation with a Hasidic guy who belongs to the same volunteer organization as I do, and said hello or somesuch to a few other Hasids I've encountered in my daily goings-on around the city. How exactly they are "robbing me blind" remains a mystery, except that apparently in your universe, that's what, you know, Jews with beards do.

2. About a quarter to a third of my friends here were born and raised in New York, and if, as you grandiosely claim, they "all" hate me, they are doing an extremely good job of covering it up.

3. I don't drink, so my "bar-hopping" activities are relatively limited. Most of my time actually spent in bars is at the behest of my "real" (at least by virtue of your bloodlines-obsessed standards) New Yorker friends like, for example, those who I wrote about in the post that started you off on your current jihad.

4. No Chuck Taylors, either. In fact I preach against them as one of the worst and stupidest shoes anyone can wear. Once again, though, a number of my native NY friends remain inordinately fond of them.

5. More than half the residents of New York City weren't born here,people of every racial, religious, ethnic and cultural stripe. It's the most cosmopolitan and diverse city in the world, which must leave you with a lot of hating to do. Lucky, I suppose, that "everyone," at least in your fervid imagination, shares your prejudices. I'm not sure you could carry that much bigotry on your own back, no matter how willing you might be.

P.S. On behalf of myself and all my friends, sorry for ruining "your" city. Man, it sucks so much now that practically nobody wants to live here anymore. Must be why rents are so low and there's all those vacant apartments, right?

Larry Livermore said...

To "Anonymous":

Yes, I was a gang-banger in my teenage years, a "hood," as it was known then. I've written about it several times in these pages, and probably will again, but am not sure what relevance it has to the current discussion, since my teenage criminal activities were conducted in and around Detroit, not NYC.

We didn't mug old ladies or anyone else, partly because street robberies weren't so common in those days (you'd generally get caught pretty quickly if you did try it), partly because our main activity - when we weren't hanging around getting drunk or raising money to get drunk - consisted of fighting other gangs and otherwise attempting to be a menace and/or nuisance to society. Most of the guys I ran with in those days ended up in jail and/or dead, and I was very fortunate that circumstances intervened on a few occasions that prevented a similar fate befalling me. One factor that stopped me getting into a lot worse trouble than I did was the more aggressive (and, by today's standards, completely illegal) policing tactics of the 1960s. Giuliani himself might have been appalled at some of the stunts the cops pulled on us, but for better or worse, they kept us in check a lot more effectively than today's anti-gang tactics.