NY's Middle Class Still Exists

Maybe they're not in Manhattan, but Queens and Brooklyn are still home to much of New York's diverse middle class. And although facing some economic stress, they're not likely to go anywhere soon, according to Joel Kotkin.
February 4, 2009, 11am PST | Judy Chang
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email Comments

"Of course Bloomberg's 'luxury city' is largely a Manhattanite vision, with a few tentacles spreading to the adjacent parts of the outer boroughs. It takes its sustenance from the enormous wealth generated by Wall Street as well as the presence of a large 'trustifarian' class. This is very much the New York of The New York Times: fashionably liberal in politics, self-consciously avant-garde, and devoted, more recently, to 'green' consumerism.

At the height of the boom – say two years ago – some imagined there were enough folks such as these to sustain the city. They would now constitute a de facto new middle class, except their bank accounts would have extra zeros."

"Yet despite the tough times, there is no real reason for New Yorkers to fear a return to the bad old days of the 1970s, as Reuters recently warned. New York used to have a diverse, middle-class economy that was remarkably recession-proof.

It could have such an economy in the future as well. A modern version may be less reliant on manufacturing, but focused instead on the talents of its citizens in such things as design, marketing and data analysis. Still, it would be a small business-oriented economy – one that could flourish outside Manhattan."

Full Story:
Published on Tuesday, February 3, 2009 in New Geography
Share Tweet LinkedIn Email