What Do You Know About Punk
You Never Punched A Hole
Through A Mirror
Kofi Fosu Forson
Collectively there are five Burroughs in New York. It starts with the greatest of them all Manhattan. Followed by what has essentially become the new Manhattan, Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Staten Island.
Manhattan is concentrated with a variety of cultures and has always been. Much of this was viewed as the burgeoning of what was hip and new, 6o's Beat Culture, late 70's PUNK and the New Wave art culture of the 80's.
A lot has changed then. Plans were made as far back as when Mayor Koch was followed by the city's first black Mayor Dinkins to curb the violence brought about by drugs. The 80's poverty and economic distress saw an increase in drug trafficking and everyday violence. The lower part of Manhattan, what is known as Alphabet City, was a dangerous place to be. Uzis were fired even during the afternoon. Many dared not enter Alphabet City.
Mayor Guliani took credit for the cleaning up of New York, its subway system, day to day violence, pornography in Times Square. Post 9/11 made New York an adventurous place to be. Many who had helped cultivate the city's integrity left for other Burroughs or cities all together. A lot was done by many groups to keep the raw art content in the lower part of New York. But with the increase in rent many of these artists couldn't afford to live here.
What we have in the downtown area of New York are groups of well to do white patrons who can afford the rent. It has become a sea of young white groups without the integrity or culture of those before. Somehow many of these people are diseased by money and are left without the history of what made Greenwich Village a neighborhood legendary.
The subcultures of New York can be found among second generation Italian Americans, Russians and Greeks. Among these who live in mostly Brooklyn and Queens are Portugese, Asians and Polish. African Americans and distinctly those from Africa tend to live in the Bronx.
Intellectually it is divisible between Jewish intellectuals and African American intellectuals. Most of them have migrated to Brooklyn leaving Manhattan for moneyed people less of culture, Hollywood actors who own lofts here and live between Hollywood and New York. New York University and Columbia University students represent the core of its intellectual young.
The European influence is great. This can be found within the share of those who decidedly live an intellectual New York life. As opposed to those who find a core of their influence from Europeans who pass through New York.
I've gone through a phase of meeting and befriending Europeans who visit months at a time. My first lover was from Milano, Italy. My greatest affair was with a German woman. I find that most New Yorkers from other cities in America, prominently those from the South and others from international cities appreciate me more. Even people from outer Burroughs like Brooklyn value my raw nature. Those from Manhattan are viewed as too privileged and full of themselves.
As an intellectual African they view me as different and open minded. I've benefited in knowing Polish, Israeli and Eastern Europeans. They have created a strong center in me, a sense of character and love and respect. Much of this can be found in the art world.
Currently brilliance in language is spoken by a chosen few. Many of these live idle lives separate from the struggle that is the art world. The artists cultured in the modern art world are similar all over the world. They live the stress of art and its advantages of money, drugs and sex. Much of this is concentrated in a crowd of people with limited passions. Art is more or less a strain.
The relevance of the European influence can be found among those who welcome the European philosophy on language. It provides one with imagination an open mindedness which elevates the conscience of an artist who lives in New York.
Just like the Hollywood person who visits New York, the Off-Broadway actor who ventures to Hollywood, the Independent director who hopes to make it to Hollywood or the European who ventures to New York once a year, New York artists who welcome a European philosophy become more intellectually attractive.