Is New York City an Empire in Decline? | NYT Opinion

  • Published: 07 October 2019
  • New York City was built on big, bold ideas. The vision of past leaders kept New Yorkers in town and captured the imaginations of millions from around the world who came here to “make it.” In the Video Op-Ed above, Mara Gay, a native New Yorker who has reported on the streets of this city for seven years, questions where all that vision is today. She argues that New York’s current leaders need to bring big ambition and hustle to serve their residents. She supplies ideas of what vision could look like to a mayor whose reluctant homecoming offers dim hope for the city. New Yorkers, she says, deserve more.

    This isn’t just a New York story — it’s a trend in many cities around the world, where broad public programs are pushed aside for narrow corporate interests and where transformative polices are as hard to come by as affordable rents.

    More from The New York Times Video:
    Whether it's reporting on conflicts abroad and political divisions at home, or covering the latest style trends and scientific developments, New York Times video journalists provide a revealing and unforgettable view of the world. It's all the news that's fit to watch.

Comments • 878

  • James Chang
    James Chang  1 hours back

    Same thing is happening in London. There’s lots of high rise apartments being built and sold off to property investors but most of the flats sit empty.

    • David Boucard
      David Boucard  2 hours back

      Was with you until you suggested lowering specialized high schools standards for diversity's sake. It hurts black students when you lower a standard instead of challenging them to rise to that standard. There are only 8 NYC specialized high schools that use the SHSAT. There are PLENTY of high schools with different admissions criteria, some of which produce successful black students on par with those at Stuy.

      Why not allow for a diversity of admissions standards? What works for Stuy works for Stuy. You cannot reverse-engineer Stuyvesant's success. Stuyvesant is the school that it is because it is purely merit based (and don't tell me it isn't because even low-income Asian kids from Flushing succeed at SHSAT). Forcing Stuy to accept students that don't meet their standard, will not make those students Stuy material.

      • Trevor Estrada
        Trevor Estrada  3 hours back

        Is the New York Times in decline?

        • N.W.A.
          N.W.A.  3 hours back

          New York needs to take care of it's Jew problem. There. I said it.

          • J. Montrice
            J. Montrice  4 hours back

            Pointless suggestions, politicians won’t solve the big 5 problems Homelessness, Hunger, Climate Crises, Family Unit Breakdown, Chronic Lonliness. Protesting causes more problems than it solves. You’re exactly right, New York as much as I love that city is only for the ultra wealthy at this point and the entire world is declining and its not going to get better anytime soon. Accept the facts. Soon a Great Tribulation is coming things are going to get worse than theyve ever been, then everyone who is ignoring Jehovah and Jesus and taking sides with Satan, the ruler of this world, is going to Die. Then the Earth will become a Paradise and only people who serve Jehovah and follow his ways will live on the earth. NO one will be homeless, NO one will ever be hungry again, NO one will die. NO one will ruin the planet anymore. There will be no more crime and Violence. EVERYONE will live in peace. Its not a crazy pipe dream, the Bible prophesied it would happen. It’s funny after all this time and effort no human has been able to solve any of the worlds problems. It’s because something more powerful than all of us is causing the worlds problems but something stronger than him is coming to save us all. Its the only truth, its the only way. Whether you choose to believe it or not doesn’t make it any less true. Please study the bible and learn how you can make it to Jehovah’s new world. Armageddon is coming soon but you still have time to do the right thing. Please check out you won’t regret it.

            • Jordan Andlovec
              Jordan Andlovec  4 hours back

              Girl needs to run for office!

              • Filthy Alligator
                Filthy Alligator  5 hours back

                Andrew Yang for prez yo!

                • Kenneth Alexander
                  Kenneth Alexander  5 hours back

                  Schools like Stuyvesant are specialized schools. They provide the best high school education in NYC at no cost. These schools serve as an opportunity for the most talented, hardworking students in the city. Instead of advocating to lower the standards of Stuyvesant, advocate raising the standards of elementary schools so more kids can pass the admissions test.

                  • Blade Runner
                    Blade Runner  6 hours back

                    New York is a cackle of noise and pollution? You don't say?

                    • Adam Infinity
                      Adam Infinity  6 hours back

                      The crazy thing is Atlanta, GA is more integrated than NYC

                      • Adam Infinity
                        Adam Infinity  6 hours back

                        Lower property taxes, and sales taxes. That would help out alot.

                        • Deborah Tulloch
                          Deborah Tulloch  7 hours back

                          When I hear my neighborhood on TV or online it's such a weird experience. I wasn't expecting it 😂

                          • Steve Harris
                            Steve Harris  7 hours back

                            People like her make ny bad

                            • maddog155
                              maddog155  8 hours back

                              We need a world war 3 and start over.

                              • Jesse Fuller
                                Jesse Fuller  9 hours back

                                I think most of the problems individuals face are self made. My fiancé and I are millennials who went to school (both have masters degrees) and are about to buy our first apartment. No debt, good jobs (NYC DOE teachers), and successful minorities who were both born and raised in NYC (LES and Washington Heights). Life is about choices you just need to make the right ones.

                                • Orion6699
                                  Orion6699  9 hours back

                                  You dont want it to be a playground for the rich?? Where a condo that would cost about 150 to 200k in a mid size city america costs over a million bucks there? Where getting a pastrami sandwich, a bag of chips and a can of soda costs 30 bucks?? It already IS a playground for the rich.

                                  • luis hernan
                                    luis hernan  10 hours back

                                    Close off more streets ???is this lady stupid? The traffic in the city is already abysmal....

                                    • bisquitnspanky
                                      bisquitnspanky  10 hours back

                                      I'm 65. Been hearing this same line about every ten years all my life. Then NYC booms sagin, enjoys a renewal. Luxury condos empty? So what? Means nothing other than condos going out of style.

                                      • timothy feitosa
                                        timothy feitosa  11 hours back

                                        So you're saying, don't take it out on the Chinese Oligarchs buying up these empty luxury condos to hide money from Xi Jinping, take it out on the old Puerto Ricsn guy who owns a building in Brownsville with all rent stabilized tennants who can't afford to repair the broken boiler.

                                        You're saying, make working class New Yorkers pay tolls to come into the city they already pay an insane amount of money in taxes instead of deporting the 700k illegal aliens who clog up the streets with Ubers and Gypsy cabs.

                                        So you're saying blacks and Hispanics like me are too dumb to make it into Brooklyn Tech or Stuyvesant so destory it all and ruin opportunity for everyone.

                                        So you're saying throw more money at the MTA bureaucrats who have been trying to get the 2nd ave subway done since 1933 and haven't even made it past 96th st yet?

                                        Lady, your left wing policies are exactly what's destroying NYC. Entiende?

                                        • KingisDavid NYC
                                          KingisDavid NYC  11 hours back

                                          Big ideas? What does that have to do with making cars less affordable? What does that have to do with no allowing dumb kids into Stuyvesant(they’re not smart enough for the exam it’s not their ethnicity)? What’s it have to do with rent and corruption of our politicians that are all pro pink hats and abortions but also are more corrupt than communist leaders!

                                          • Republicans Reprisal
                                            Republicans Reprisal  11 hours back

                                            She never mentioned Rudy Giuliani cleaned up that God forsaken city . How would an admission test keep out blacks and hispanics?? Is she saying they're too dumb to pass?? Maybe people are leaving NY because they don't want to live in a dog kennel for the rest of their life. Humans like space, low taxes, cars and back yards for their children. She likes the congestion tax?? Hard working taxi drivers have to pay it.. SHE PROVES THAT LIBERALISM IS A MENTAL DISORDER

                                            • Brad the Pitts
                                              Brad the Pitts  11 hours back

                                              Do one on New Jersey.

                                              • NahYoChill
                                                NahYoChill  11 hours back

                                                Remove the SHSAT and simply accept the top performing students from every single middle school in NYC.

                                                • NahYoChill
                                                  NahYoChill  1 hours back

                                                  David Boucard the whole point is that it’s the specialized high schools with the diversity problem. Your lack of comprehension precludes you from being able to attend any of them so don’t worry too much about any of this as it doesn’t concern you.

                                                • David Boucard
                                                  David Boucard  2 hours back

                                                  Or maybe don't fix what ain't broke. Leave successful schools alone and conduct your experiments on one of the thousands of other NYC public schools that aren't Stuyvesant.

                                              • Brian Mc Cormack
                                                Brian Mc Cormack  11 hours back

                                                80% of the points in video apply to Limerick city in Ireland. Manhattan's grid system was also based on Limerick city.


                                                • michelle fernandes
                                                  michelle fernandes  11 hours back

                                                  Dubai has exactly the same story, millions of people now share and most real estate (apartments and homes) lie vacant ... Owners prefer whole buildings to be vacant rather than lower the rental prices to manageable levels (pre 2016) sigg

                                                  • Alex Fiala
                                                    Alex Fiala  11 hours back

                                                    NYC is a great example of bureaucratic bloat wherein the government and established institutions are nothing but self-serving and self-dealing bribery rings.

                                                    • Bawono Budi
                                                      Bawono Budi  12 hours back

                                                      Wow this is powerful

                                                      • Juan Velez
                                                        Juan Velez  12 hours back

                                                        But The NY Times that you work for, wants status quo politicians who won’t change or fight for what you’re talking about.

                                                        • Shah-Allah Shabazz
                                                          Shah-Allah Shabazz  13 hours back

                                                          I love NY. I miss the old blue collar NY my parents settled in. They made a life for themselves. Today, you can't pay your bills without working like a dog.

                                                          • AD NYC
                                                            AD NYC  13 hours back

                                                            AirBnb is why the homeless rate is so high the highest ever in Nyc

                                                            • D.A. Paulino
                                                              D.A. Paulino  13 hours back

                                                              Come on down to Jacksonville Florida let's start over with a clean slate cuz NYC welp its done.

                                                              • AD NYC
                                                                AD NYC  13 hours back

                                                                Never, Never, Never

                                                                • Nyssa Jay
                                                                  Nyssa Jay  14 hours back

                                                                  You hit it right on the head. The empire will collapse sooner than later. They make horrible decisions and make us pay the difference. Ex: the constant bridge and tunnel increase.

                                                                  • Leo The Chemist
                                                                    Leo The Chemist  14 hours back

                                                                    I've grown up the south my whole life, our cities aren't amazing oftentimes but I was shocked at how dirty and chaotic NYC was when I traveled there. Trash piling up on the streets, decades old infrastructure just falling apart.

                                                                    • Charles Klossner
                                                                      Charles Klossner  14 hours back

                                                                      You lost me at more bike lanes...

                                                                      • Marco's Urban Kitchen
                                                                        Marco's Urban Kitchen  14 hours back

                                                                        Yes. 100% yes. New York‘s heyday has come and gone. Having lived here for 5+ years and having traveled to so many cities around the world, I’ve noticed just how much New York is lacking. The arts and diversity in this city are incomparable to any other city in America and maybe the world...but that’s it. The trains don’t work. Apartments are abysmal and expensive. Classic establishments are shuttered and replaced by ridiculous tenants like CVS, Starbucks, minute clinics, Sweetgreens, etc. People are miserable. Its become nothing but a playground for the wealthy. Greedy landlords have caused this once incredible city to become unattainable. I’ve lost so many friends who’ve run away in search of a better life. I love New York so much but, unless something changes, it’s done for.

                                                                        • Eric Draven
                                                                          Eric Draven  15 hours back

                                                                          this woman has the crazy eyes

                                                                          • Senhor Radio
                                                                            Senhor Radio  16 hours back

                                                                            Great video, I lived there for 4 years and saw all the issues you discussed here up close.

                                                                            • Diego Montoya
                                                                              Diego Montoya  16 hours back

                                                                              Then there is the whole AirBnB problem, exacerbating the affordable housing supply...

                                                                              • Diego Montoya
                                                                                Diego Montoya  16 hours back

                                                                                Then there is the whole AirBnB problem, exacerbating the affordable housing supply...

                                                                                • Anthony Mulroy
                                                                                  Anthony Mulroy  16 hours back

                                                                                  Exactly same thing happened in London. I have been coming over to stay in New York at least once or twice a year over the past decade.Ive seen the changes.Excellent video.

                                                                                  • ___
                                                                                    ___  16 hours back

                                                                                    For a native nyker ur pretty not NY. If u were born and raised in NY ud know that everything is about money. Ny is hyped by TV shows. It is the most corrupt city. There is no parks bc parks gets the city no revenues. Mta pockets the money so ull never see an expansion or advanced subway system. Remember the 2007 surplus that just magically disappeared? Instead of building hospitals and graduating police task force Bloomberg decides to give that money to the Yankees and Mets to build their stadium. NY is a backwards old city where they just pocket tax payers money and spend nothing back. Graffiti, weed, homeless, garbage, pollution, just overrated by the eons.

                                                                                    • Synthia Powe
                                                                                      Synthia Powe  16 hours back

                                                                                      NYC Native Here!!! YES!👏👏👏👏

                                                                                      • ck1film
                                                                                        ck1film  17 hours back


                                                                                        • Idrissa Morehouse
                                                                                          Idrissa Morehouse  17 hours back

                                                                                          I became aware of this same sense of loss and decided to study economics as to seek out and understand the root cause which mechanically at least is this - BANKS make money giving out loans which both the amount loaned and interest to be paid back both go on their “balance sheet” - thus it behooves them to make more loans ,bigger loans - if houses and buildings cost more then they must loan more and get MORE interest back -the higher the cost of real estate the more money they make -remember EVEN higher rents push up short term property values -again making loans to buy those properties HIGHER! Its a vicious cycle EVEN THE BANKS ARE STUCK ON IT not just for profits but to keep making more loans to cover already over leveraged loans and properties = its a giant ponzi scheme run by coorperations , banks and wallstreet least it will be ending soon - one way or another - TRUST!

                                                                                          • Mortimer Vanderbilt
                                                                                            Mortimer Vanderbilt  18 hours back

                                                                                            If only one percent of black New Yorkers score high enough to get into Stuyvesant that's their problem. Don't push out kids of other races who got high enough scores to get in just to shove in some token blacks

                                                                                            • Five Star Brokerage
                                                                                              Five Star Brokerage  18 hours back

                                                                                              I love New York City.

                                                                                              • Shawnte Isaac
                                                                                                Shawnte Isaac  18 hours back

                                                                                                You want vision?
                                                                                                Let me blow your mind....
                                                                                                MAKE THE SUBWAYS AND BUSES *FREE!
                                                                                                *tax the corporations and wealthy to pay for it and the necessary upgrades and expansion.
                                                                                                It will boost ridership, ease congestion, and poor people won't be ticketed or arrested for fare hopping.