NEW YORK — New York City’s transformation during the past 10 years has been profound. Not everything was so predictable, although predicting a Mike Bloomberg presidential campaign would have probably been a safe bet. Here are nine ways New York changed:
The Chrysler Building was sold for less than the price of the city’s most expensive condominium.
Early this year, Kenneth Griffin, the billionaire hedge-fund manager, bought an apartment on Central Park for a record $238 million. The new 79-story building containing Griffin’s penthouse would replace an old, 20-story white-brick one, where the landlord had evicted dozens of middle-class residents from rent-stabilized apartments.
Griffin’s apartment, where he would reside only occasionally, would be big enough for many wine caves.
Two months later, the Chrysler Building, a New York icon, also sold. The price: $150 million. Developers were put off about how much work would be needed for a conversion to modern office space. The seller had bought the building for $800 million in 2008.
The retail landscape was so thoroughly eviscerated that you actually mourned the loss of places you used to hate.
Between 2007 and 2017, vacant retail space in New York City increased by 5.2 million square feet. During that time, retail rents rose by 22% on average. So, much of what you used to love — diners, bike shops, tailors, hat stores, delicatessens, art-supply stores, bistros — disappeared.
It was all so dispiriting that, over the past few years, you found yourself feeling wistful when you heard that, say, Barnes & Noble was closing some stores — even though you couldn’t stand Barnes & Noble when it started replacing independent book shops. You were undone when you heard that the Coffee Shop on Union Square was shutting down, forgetting how snobby and exclusive it was when it opened and how it didn’t want you anyway.
Ferry travel, the preferred method of transportation in 19th-century New York, exploded.
The inaugural ride of the city’s East River ferry service took place in the spring of 2011. Initially, it wasn’t clear that the service would take off. But by 2017, ridership was exceeding expectations. New routes were added. The cool kids of Williamsburg hopped down the East River to their tech jobs in Dumbo.
Even if the ferry couldn’t get you exactly where you wanted to go, you could easily connect to CitiBike service at various stops. And that was all bound to be a lot more enjoyable than waiting for subway trains that no longer seemed to be coming.
A hip-hop musical about the nation’s first treasury secretary reignited Broadway.
When “Hamilton” debuted on Broadway in 2015, it not only brought heaps of money to a stagnant industry, it also attracted a new kind of audience member: a younger one.
By the 2017-18 theater season, the average age of the Broadway audience was 40, the lowest it had been in nearly two decades. Dick Cheney loved “Hamilton,” but so did teenagers, first graders, their babysitters and so on.
Your money was no longer good here.
A few weeks ago, a friend let loose at a Bluestone Lane in Brooklyn when she learned at the register that the coffee shop would not accept cash for the lunch she was buying. The rise of eco-conscious fast-food chains was accompanied by the insistence that it be paid for by credit or debit card, or an app on your smartphone.
The cashless trend that spread to all kinds of stores and restaurants benefits people who have access to credit, bank accounts or iPhones, and discriminates against those who don’t.
A devastating natural disaster couldn’t sedate the obsession with waterfront development.
In 2012, Hurricane Sandy tore through the city, killing 44 people and leaving billions of dollars of damage. The recovery effort was slow going — five years out, many houses were still in shambles.
The storm was meant to be a reckoning about the city’s environmental fragility, but the shoreline continued to sprout high-rises.
There would be few solutions, and mostly workarounds, like mechanicals put on top of buildings, or in the middle of them, instead of on the ground floor. In Manhattan, this need for rearrangement has been exploited by developers who claim they require more floors for mechanicals than they do.
The result is empty space known as the “void,” which allows buildings to get taller and taller and developers to make bigger profits from the sale of more high-floor apartments with sweeping views.
A progressive mayor delivered a blow to the city’s ailing public housing system.
Mayor Bill de Blasio came to power in 2014 with the mandate to redress the city’s soaring inequality, the realities of which were distressingly visible in the complexes of the New York City Housing Authority, known as NYCHA. But during his tenure, until midway through 2018, the city continued the practice of challenging the results of the Health Department’s lead paint inspections in NYCHA apartments. Many children were put in jeopardy.
Shola Olatoye, whom de Blasio appointed to lead NYCHA, would be forced to resign four years later when an investigation revealed that she had falsely certified documents stating that the housing authority was in compliance with lead paint inspections.
Cellphone cameras were in the hands of basically everyone, but they did little to heighten police accountability.
The Black Lives Matter movement was propelled, in part, by the fact that disputes between the police and civilians could now be recorded by many witnesses, all with sophisticated cellphone cameras.
But the case of Eric Garner, who died from a police officer’s chokehold, and other instances proved that this kind of documentation meant little in terms of consequence.
Despite the video evidence, it took five years for the Police Department to fire the officer involved in the Garner case, Daniel Pantaleo.
Four-year-olds — and even some 3-year-olds — got to go to school for free.
Universal pre-K, the chief initiative of de Blasio’s first term in office, is a categorically great thing. (And now: 3-K.) That it passed so quickly and efficiently was nothing short of remarkable.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times .