The lead article in the Sunday Styles section of today’s New York Times offers an interesting twist on my pet theme of cosmopolitanism. “With the yen and the euro rampant, it’s hard for New Yorkers to feel cosmopolitan,” the sub-head tells us. According to the article:
This summer, New York is awash with visitors from abroad, who are
expected to top last summer’s record number, tourism officials say.
Thanks in part to home currencies that are holding strong against the
dollar, even middle-class vacationers from Hamburg, Yokohama or Perth
can afford to scoop up New York style — the clothes, the hot
restaurants, the nightclubs — at bargain prices.
But for New
Yorkers trapped on the other side of the currency imbalance, it’s easy
to feel ambivalent about the invasion. An infusion of foreign money is
welcome in a city faced with a wobbly economy and a possible budget gap
in the billions. But even some locals who consider themselves
cosmopolitan and internationalist confess to feeling envy, not to
mention territorialism, in watching a outsiders treat their city like a Wal-Mart of hip.
Yet another way in which the Bush administration’s policies have undermined what Tom Bender has called “the historic cosmopolitanism” of New York City”! See Bender’s essay “New York as a Center of Difference” from The Unfinished City ), which is one of the touchstones of our Writing New York course.