May 5, 2012

"It didn't take much money to live... You could live poor, you could have a lot of fun."

"People didn't need a lot of stuff. And when rents were cheap, all kinds of creative forces ended up here."

NYC, in the 1960s...

"The main thing about the scene back then was that there was this amazing feeling that something wonderful and amazing was going to happen inevitably"...

Nothing feels like that anymore.


Deb said...

It feels like we are at the end of something.

Paddy O said...

Oh, it's out there. Just not in NYC.

And I'll bet it's still in NYC, just not experienced by the folks on NPR who, you know, need stuff and have to stifle their creativity to fit into an ideologically and artistically narrow medium.

William said...

I have a friend who believes that New Yorkers in the seventies were kinder and more generous. And so they were. She was in her twenties and quite good looking at that time.

Old Dad said...

What a load of childish bull shit. Something amazing is "inevitably" going to happen, but history argues that it's almost never wonderful.

NPR and the Fugs can go fug themselves.

leslyn said...
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edutcher said...

As someone remarked to me about 20 years ago, "the good old days really were".

I have to agree. It's not the fiscal bad times, but the slob culture the Lefties have been pushing through the media, the educational system, some churches, as well as government for the last 50 years or so.

The whole value-neutral, non-judgmental, if-it-feels-good-do-it, let-it-all-hang-out thing. If you were thinking back then, you knew it was a lie.

Mr Churchill was so right, "Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.".

PS I remember during the last campaign they had a Photoshop of the ShamWow ads with Zero instead of Vince, with the line "All Sham, No Wow".

That's what we've got.

Along with Maggie Thatcher's line about socialism and other people's money.

n.n said...

Today's progressive is tomorrow's conservative. We have reached saturation and it is time to reassess our priorities. Many people already have and their conclusion is that the human condition has not fundamentally changed.

As for stuff, a lot or otherwise, it is a choice. There is still no requirement that we possess stuff other than basic necessities. Unfortunately, the definition of basic has been distorted and exploited, and the result is a progressive confusion. Too many people no longer voluntarily moderate their behavior and desires. They dream of instant gratification without consequence.

autothreads said...

Apparently, some of today's version of those creative types have started moving to Detroit. Real estate doesn't get much cheaper anyplace else in the developed world and Detroit has some very cool architecture. I'm not too keen on hipsters but if they invest themselves and their money in this region I'm cool with them.

lemondog said...

The world had come out of a two decade long depression and world war with the US as top dog with no real economic competition.

Unleashed from wartime rationing, companies were ready to build and the public ready to buy.

harrogate said...

"Nothing feels like that anymore." Agreed. Sort of. But I mean, maybe it was naive to feel those feelings "then," anyway.

Sometimes there is the feeling of something wonderful even now, of course. I see it in the youth, in their eyes and their dedicated demeanors, whenever the newest SmartPhone or Kindle or some other such gadget comes out. Why then, it's euhporia for like twenty days straight.

But then, decent song writer once noted that "the good ole days weren't always good and tomorrow's not as bad as it seems." Lotsa truth to that too.

bagoh20 said...

"Nothing feels like that anymore."

That's just the feeling of being young, and liberals are still stuck to crusty old ideas that have a hard time getting off the couch.

When you grow up, you realize GOOD things don't happen on their own while you're partying and waiting for them show up, but rust never sleeps.

traditionalguy said...

NYC still vibrates alright. But anxiety is what it is vibrating from. The formerly creative places are now very dangerous places.

This sounds like another excuse for no jobs, and therefore no money, and therefore no family.

Isn't homelessness, poverty and wandering the streets so cool and vibating? No it is as bad as it gets, and Sweet Old Obama is engineering it to stay that way save the planet from CO2 pollution, you know. What a gigantic fraud!

Mitchell said...

I ate some cheese as a last resort. It left a skid mark in my shorts.

Andrew Koenig said...

@Harrogate: It was not naive to feel those feelings then. The 1960's were the infancy of the computing industry, which changed everything and is still doing so. Moreover, the industry was small enough that one person could singlehandedly change its course, and many did.

I can't think of any analogous opportunities today.

Saint Croix said...

"The main thing about the scene back then was that there was this amazing feeling that something wonderful and amazing was going to happen inevitably"...

Nothing feels like that anymore.

This is really a boomer complaint. People were young in the 60's and those same people are old now.

It's natural for young people to be happy and optimistic. You discover sex, you feel love, you have a baby.

In the 1960's we had drugs that made people feel happy, too. The pill was discovered. You could have sex with multiple people without having a baby. Plus marijuana, LSD, cocaine.

Today kids are more conservative. They know about divorce, and abortion, and AIDS, and drug overdoses. So we've made our kids more fearful and they are not as heedless and reckless (and fun-pursuing) as people were in the 1960's.

But discovering sex, falling in love, having a baby, these are all things that young people do throughout time. It's why youth is an inherently happy and optimistic time.

Canuck said...

"Nothing feels like that anymore."

Some cities in Australia have this.

Vancouver & Berlin & Beijing.

Seattle, late 1980s.

San Fran - in the tech boom years.

rhhardin said...

I haven't noticed any change. The whole interval from the 60s to today is the Bermudas era.

bagoh20 said...

"I can't think of any analogous opportunities today."

That's what makes them real opportunities. Few people saw the potential back then either.

Every generation goes through these stages, eventually getting to romanticizing the past and underestimating the future.

The opportunities are out there and things will happen, but it will be the next generation who will do them, as long as we don't handcuff them with our own greed and constant ringing of that damned bell on the nightstand.

The Crack Emcee said...

Nothing feels like that anymore.

Speak for yourself. I feel like something's happening, or can happen, but people like you and Glenn are in the way because you're so sold on what you're thinking you can't see any of it.

What "most people don't think" is your thing - as though a teacher should leave them in their comfort zone.

Today Glenn is promoting "winning" through being disingenuous and stupid - whoopee! - even when challenged by the likes of Jennifer Rubin.

Good luck on a message like mine ever getting through. I could have the answer to all of our problems (and I think, to a large extent, I do) but fat chance you law school types will help - hell, you aren't even filing law suits when they're called for, or encouraging you former students to do so. It's all "read my blog" for you guys.

A total waste of space.

Richard Dolan said...

The surge of creativity and movies and dance and theatre and poetry and literature was too big to stop."

Whatever he imagines the "surge" included, there's not much to show for it now. It's hard to think of anything produced in '60s NYC (or '60s anywhere else) that might merit all the gushing. But, of course, that's not what Sanders is interested in. His subject, his object of delight, is how it felt to be young and in the middle of the "surge," not what the surge produced. Like most exercies in nostaligia, the Sanders version is mostly an attempt to recapture lomg lost pleasures, not long lost realities.

I hope it's as enjoyable for him the second time around, as it all plays out again in his fantasies.

ricpic said...

Amazing how amazingly wonderful it was back in that wonderfully amazing time, m-a-a-a-a-n.

Oh, I almost forgot: Fight The Power!!!

somefeller said...

Old man looks back fondly on his youth and thinks the world was better then. He then shakes his fist at youngsters walking across his front lawn. But he has a mustache and a bird on his shoulder, so this somehow makes the story more interesting. Film at 11.

caplight45 said...

Reminds me of "American City Suite" by Cashman and West.

People going, coming
Traffic always humming
A sweet city song
Everyone your neighbor
Living at a flavor
With a sweet city song

There was a certain way
That the city sound
Made you glad you belonged
I remember now
That the rhythm somehow
Made me want to sing along

Do do do do, sweet city song
Do do do do, sweet city song
Oh, come on along

Boxes on a brick wall
Boys are playing stickball
The chicks are walking by
Something bout their sweaters
Made you play a little better
Or at least you'd try

Meanwhile on the corner
A group is singing
In three-part harmony
There was a time
When you couldn't find
A better place to be

Johnny, ride the pony
The Dodger's own sym-phoney
An egg cream at the
Corner candy store
Radio and dancing slow
Who could ask for more

Do do do do, sweet city song
Do do do do, sweet city song
Do do do do, sweet city song
Come on along

roesch/voltaire said...

Ah those were the days; I could afford to live on 7th between C &D, still safe and cheap. Heard John Coltrane live for five bucks, saw Allen Gingsberg on the streets, went to New School at night and ate at the Horn and Harder-- All on sweat shop wages from a factory in Brooklyn.

lemondog said...


Current crop of kids will look back fondly and remember coming out of college, debt-burdened with no job prospects, trillion dollar federal deficits and the prospective decline of the USA looming large.

chickenlittle said...

People didn't need a lot of stuff. And when rents were cheap, all kinds of creative forces ended up here.

A pity we don't see more of that on Mad Men.

Mark O said...

It is difficult to hold optimism when your freedom is eroding. We are significantly more regulated (not free) than we were in the 1960's and, even then, the cry was for more freedom, free speech, free love, personal freedom.

Just what we've lost because of the Patriot act (TSA, drones, executive killing, personal data) as well as the loss of any privacy should make us unhopeful.

We don't expect anything good. Why should we?

phx said...
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harrogate said...

"A pity we don't see more of that on Mad Men."

Previous squabbles be damned. That's awesome. Ice water on the screen.

madAsHell said...

Kitty Genovese couldn't be reached for comment.

David said...

My first job was in New York City in the 60's. $4800 a year.

el polacko said...

the same was true here in san francisco. back in 1968, i rolled into town with a suitcase and five bucks in my pocket...stayed with a friend for a couple of a lousy entry-level job...and was then able to afford my own one-bedroom apartment in a fairly nice part of town. meals were cheap, the chinese laundry kept me clean for a couple of dollars, i could hang out at city lights for hours reading every book on their shelves, get tipsy on 50-cent beers at my favorite bar, and some of the all-time greats in entertainment could be seen at places like winterland or the fillmore for three bucks. it wasn't a lavish lifestyle but it was enough to keep a young person busy and happy.
today, my very same cheap apartment is a 'high-end' condo selling for well over a million bucks. so,unless you're a trust fund baby or some muckety-muck in an internet company, a young person would be lucky to find a closet to live in that they'd have to share with five other roommates. most eating establishments are gourmet or charge gourment prices anyway. a ticket to see some mediocre talent is gonna cost ya 75 bucks, at the least. even the museums, which once were free, are too expensive to visit. ..and the city wonders why there's no longer the fresh infusion of young folks from around the country. the place seems stagnant, frozen in a mindset from a bygone era that doesn't match today's realities. the divide between the well-to-do and the less-so is enormous. the joy and color that once permeated the city has given way to drab, hollow-eyed, soul-less zombies staring into their smart phones as they trudge to some quasi-political rally thinking that somehow makes them plugged-in and 'hip'. i do thank my lucky stars that i was around to enjoy what now seems like an impossible golden age because, if these are the young folks 'good old days', i feel truly sorry for them.

Joe said...

Silicon Valley in the mid-80s was a great place. Southern California in the 60s.

My theory is that different places have their golden era at different times for different people (Silicon Valley wasn't great in the mid-80s for mechanical engineers, but great for software engineers.)

I grew up in a dump of a town, but it had that golden era quality of the nannies staying at a distance. We got away with all sorts of shit that would get us arrested and/or kicked out of school today. (This was when Playboy was on the newstands, nobody asked for ID and the cigarettes were just being placed behind the counter.)

Michael said...

Nothing feels like that any more unless you are young and in a vibrant city and maybe in love with a woman or a man. Only the old romance the past as ultra unique.

leslyn said...
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wyo sis said...

I still get that "something wonderful and amazing was going to happen inevitably" feeling when I watch my kids (oldest 39 youngest 17)grow up and go out in the world fall in love get married and raise their children. It's once removed now, but always full of exciting possibilities. There are so many choices and so much potential.

leslyn said...
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leslyn said...
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Ann Althouse said...

He was talking about art. Some of you are completely missing that, which kind of proves my point when I said nothing feels like that anymore.

wyo sis said...

Sorry to miss the point. I was using the work server and it has a filter so I couldn't use the link.