So, being from the Lower East Side (LES), I've been in a sad position where I've witnessed almost first hand the destruction of many beautiful works of art, murals, and even buildings, for the sake of so-called progress. It's really just gentrification. The landowners/building owners just want us locals out of the way so they can bring in out-of-towners and charge them triple or more what we pay for rent. It's a sad state to be in really. A great deal of my hometown was built by artists, musicians, and blue collar workers. In a sense, I can see where they paved the way for the current crop of high-end fashion shops, owned by avant garde designers, but at the same time I doubt this is the world any of us really wanted.
I grew up in the 1990's, which means a lot depending on your perspective, but a big part of my personal culture was this idea of selling-out being was one of the worst possible things you could do. These days though, with YouTube culture being what it is, everyone really wants to sell-out. The world has gone through a sad change I suppose, but I don't want to be too hard on anyone. We all need to make money, and ad revenue is easy money I guess. Even I've been putting up ads on my blogs for a few cents.
So, the world has changed, but there should still be some sort of effort to preserve the good stuff that surrounds us. Art especially I feel. So, for example, there's this building I've walked by my entire life that has had a reproduction of "The Creation of Adam"/"Birth of Man", but in recent years it's been fading away.
There's construction going on all around the LES and I'm dreading this is going to be one of those works of art that will be lost. Not to mention the "ghost ad" that is still visible on the side of the building. Although I would love both to be preserved as a way to really take in the history of NYC, I know that they'll both be torn down and lost.
Then again it could just be me. In increments, nostalgia can be a beautiful and wistful emotion. Usually though, it's an addictive poison, like tobacco or something. Should I really concern myself with these things going away, or should I just be happy I was fortunate enough to experience them in my lifetime? Probably the latter.
I really don't need anything I've experienced to be recreated again. That initial sensation of my witnessing them for the first time has already ignited my love for them. Works of art don't really belong to their creators once they're out in the world. They become toys for the fans to play with. Sometimes I worry that it's too, too common for the initial intent of the art to get lost because of poor interpretations of that art.
I like old things. I like a lot of new things too. But in a way, I feel like there's enough media and art in my mind to keep me going for the rest of my life. I don't really seek out anything new, not like I used to anyway, so I end up living in the past due to my own nature. I will always prefer the older Godzilla films (for example), and even if there are even greater Godzilla films in the future, my heart will always belong to the ones I've already watched. The same goes for anime.
I will say though that modern cartoons and new film franchises keep me interested. I grew up in an era where cartoons weren't very deep with their stories, so there wasn't a need for a final episode usually (although we all wished for one). And the movie landscape right now is just in a weird place and has been in a weird place ever since the Marvel Cinematic Universe took off.
In any case, my main point is that we have to let go of old things so new things can be born. Even if those new things are terrible. We have to archive the culture we cherish, so that they will stay pristine. We can't just needlessly wish that artists keep making the same thing over, and over again, hoping to get high off of nostalgia all the time. What kind of life is that? That's a step away from insanity. Do you really want to see new takes on old ideas all the time? Or, would you rather see new ideas? I mean, how many Spider-Man and Batman movies do we need??? I'm tired of them. I don't care about them anymore. I'll watch the older films, but I don't feel any sort of excitement for any future films. And that's fine.
There has to be a self-imposed balance with nostalgia. Let artists create what they like, and don't get suckered into newer versions of old things. Some of it will be great, but it will usually be terrible, but hopefully have some redeeming qualities.
Whatever replaces these old buildings in LES, I'm sure, will be ugly as shit. All the newer buildings that have come up in the past decade have been terrible, and they mean the end of old New York. Maybe in a larger cosmic sense, that's okay. Cities are meant to be paved over, and people are meant to be migratory. I don't want to leave NYC, but one day I'm sure this place will no longer feel like home to me.