By Danny Mayer
A response to “New York Exceptionalism”
Note: I must admit, as a community college professor working in a small southern city, I took great delight in reading about high-falutin’ tenurable NYU professors living in what amounts to subsidized apartments. Some payouts of power are not worth the payments extracted.
In my first six months living in the small southern city I now call home, I nearly got into a bar fight with a fifty-year-old carpenter for assuming that the former Empire Stater had lived in “the Big Apple.” I was only able to extricate myself from the situation by revealing my childhood New Jersey roots and proclaiming allegiance with my would-be assailant’s beef that “not everyone is from fucking New York City.”
I was reminded of this encounter as I read recent Big Apple resident Andrew Battista’s take on New York City exceptionalism–that is, the idea “that one’s existence [t]here is evidence of intellectual aptitude, creative genius, or hard work.”
For Andrew (as for me), that notion is a false one, both historically and in our present time.