Ethan Hawke killed New York City!

All right, fine. You wanna be in a band? Fine. Go ahead. Play every night. Play three times a night! Don’t just dick around the same coffeehouse for five years. Don’t dick around with her, or with me. I mean, try at something for once in your life. Do something about it! But you know what? You better do it now, and you better do it fast, because the world doesn’t owe you any favors!” – Lelaina Pierce, “Reality Bites.”

Last week, Patti Smith sounded the clarion-call to artists: New York City is dead. Now, why that is not news, what comes next is. Move to Detroit, Poughkeepsie, Newark, she said. She’s so badass she didn’t say Austin, Berlin, Portland, New Orleans, Montréal, Pittsburgh – good on her!

But what killed New York?

Bottle service? Chain stores? Starbucks™©®? Koch/Giuliani/Bloomberg? Rent? Brooklyn? Hipster doers? Besuited aesthetes? Wall Street Entourage lovers? Fratboy Entourage lovers? Kips Bay Casual Formal? Murray Hill Casual Formal? Yorkville Casual Formal? Heirs who no longer want a pony but their very own gallery or their very own Studio 54? Aimless tourists we call Wasilla walking slowly, carrying large maps? Rachels or Carries?


Ethan Hawke!

Okey doke, not the actor. You’re not a New Yorker until you have at least one genuine encounter with him and one delightful anecdote from said meet. I guess he’s good enough.

But Troy Dyer, his character from the seminal Gen X hipster classic Reality Bites, made New York deader than dead.

The Troys took over our fair city.


Rome burned, and they be looking cute in the mirror. They – self-involved, self-referential, disaffected, affected, lukewarm, fickle, mercurial, all-flirt, no-payoff, sexually/politically/philosophically ambiguous poseurs with, like, really deep thoughts, who must have years of blue balls from only speaking in monologues soliloquies.

What hast thou wrought?!

There is network and smarm (to get a bullshit job no one outside New York even understands), savvy and schmooze (to pick up a chick/trick for the night, or plural) rather than charm. There is no drive or hunger, no ambition or moxie. They are chill, not notable. They are layabout gadflies who dream and pose rather than do and win. They imagine themselves flâneurs, gadabouts, and German words even Austrians who also speak Croatian, Hungarian, and Slovene don’t use.

And why did they kill New York? This film taught them how to win, and get the girl.


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