Danger! Men at Work

Friday, 3 March

It’s hard to know in New York. Is this edgy, flinty, vigorous city a trend setter or just a particularly intense reflection of the times? Or is it sui generis, a one-of-a-kind kind of place?

Generalization is of course a dangerous exercise and New York is a multi-multi-faceted place but I ask myself these questions every time I visit and last week was no exception. In fact given that the country as a whole feels as if it’s been riven by a meat cleaver, maybe several meat cleavers, the question was ever more present in my mind. Plus it’s the home town of the new US president.

Since the election contentious words have been flowing like water over the recently burst Oroville Dam in northern California. Rather than providing more analysis, I herewith offer some visual impressions of the Empire City, mostly from Midtown, with minimal commentary...

Since my previous visit last November, this entire city block has been razed (couldn't buy new running shoes there anymore!) and is now being readied for the flashy tower pictured on the bill board.

These skinny towers are sprouting up like asparagus all over midtown Manhattan. They are being built not to solve housing or office space shortages but to provide luxury apartments that the international Super-Rich, many of whom are Foreigners (Russians, Chinese, Brazilian, Middle Easterners), can buy as investments. Since no one ever stays longer than a couple of weeks in the flats (which can sell for $50 million dollars or more), at night these spears loom with science-fictional gloom on the horizon.

There are of course still plenty of New Yorkers, people who actually live in Manhattan or other boroughs or wherever they can find a stopping place.

Park Avenue

Under Grand Central Station

Shoe Shine

First Haircut, Columbus Avenue

In what’s practically becoming a pilgrimage, I returned to the Trump Tower, where more than ever it's about the brand, now protected by the paramilitary...

Gucci in the background

Ivanka in the background


I still cannot answer the question about where New York fits in the global trends' spectrum and I do not claim that these photos provide a complete picture. But if what I saw in midtown is any indication of a broader future, I am not optimistic.

Socialist Party headquarters, Paris