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Friday, July 21, 2006

Kolkata, New York

In the New Statesman, Amit Chaudhuri writes of the gentrification of New York and, in passing, compares it to his current home, Kolkata: "It wasn't just the decay, casually exhibited, the distracted streams of passers-by, the anarchy at traffic lights; it was the way both cities bore the marks of being born of, and mutilated by, modernity. The allure and aesthetic of the ugly: the modern mind's recuperation, in both Europe and India, of Hinduism's odd dialectic with the unattractive and the terrifying, in which these are seen as attributes of divinity rather than the satanic." Hmm. A rather long-winded way of asserting that, in 1979, both cities were in dire need of a makeover.

2 Comments:

  • Thanks for that link.
    It seems to me that the term "gentrification" is routinely used by some non-native New Yorkers to deride any neighbourhood/street which has been given a "face-lift" (said face-lift might be aesthetically pleasing or not, and may or may not possess architectural integrity, but I'm not qualified to say too much about the latter).
    In my time here, I have rarely heard a native New Yorker complain about gentrification as much. I am convinced that some non-native long-time New Yorkers so badly want to belong that they end up deriding anything that will change the look/fabric of "their" city. Maybe I'm just fed up of the apartment/neighbourhood snobbery that exists here. After 4 years here, I have finally worked out that I live in a pleasant but definitely uncool neighbourhood, so I tell myself that there are no cool neighbourhoods, just cool people like yours truly, haha!

    By Anonymous sk, at 2:06 AM  

  • Hmmm...I'm guessing you live in Queens :)

    By Blogger PrufrockTwo, at 5:14 PM  

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