And he’s not going out on an optimistic note:
Most of the City is lost after all — the good parts, anyway… It’s like writing a volcano report from Pompei; you know the communiques are going to end sometime.
As it happened, I did a lecture at NYU last week on New York City, its ephemeral nature and its enduring qualities, so I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about these issues lately. And while much is certainly lost, I disagree with Brooks’ pessimism. New York is a city that is defined by change and reinvention, and it has gone through an inordinate amount of both over the past 15 or so years. But the alternative could be worse – a city that stagnates is a dead city. That is why I think that all that change and reinvention – cliched as those terms might be in talking about New York – is good. Though it sure could be managed a bit better.
Brooks is leaving the site and almost 3,000 posts intact. If you’ve never read Lost City, I strongly suggest you spend some time with him.