Originally Posted by Johdus Fanfoozal
Koch made you want to live in NYC again even if the problems of the 70s got worse in the 80s (murder rate, welfare rolls, unemployment, etc). He believed that NYC was still the greatest city in the world and his personality - part carnival barker, part old timey politcal ward leader - made that infectious. He also spoke his mind to a fault, was less than sympathetic to the plight of minorities and ignored the AIDs crisis for too long. Potholes got filled, budgets were balanced, the South Bronx and Red Hook were rebuilt, Wall Street exploded. And yet crime continued to skyrocket thanks in part to the crack trade. NYC was better off financially in the 80s, but it was more dangerous than the 70s.
I remember taking my dad to times square in 2003. He hadn't been back in almost a decade. He was actually weirdly silent seeing all the stores and tourists and HD billboards.
When we were eating dinner he finally told me why he was so bummed out: I guess back in the day (late 70's to the 80's) he would drive up with friends from Boston and fun and debauchery, and explained how even up to the late 80's times square was chalk full of pimps, brothels basically a huge red light district.
Seeing the cleaned up disney-fied version of times square made him feel ancient.
It was probably my first real adult conversation with my dad...he visited again in 2010 and we ended up having a good time. I took him down to bushwick and knickerbocker street for fun and he was laughing and said something like "now this is what 80's new york used t
o look like".