Downtown Gets Rich and Popular, Upending Neighborhood Stereotypes

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Photo: Getty Images


This week, humanity was shocked by the news that downtown Manhattanites have a higher median household income than any other population center in the country. (Meanwhile, journalism professors were shocked by the fact that Daily Intel took this information directly from a press release sent out by a real-estate developer that operates primarily in downtown Manhattan.) “Downtown” is defined as the financial district and Battery Park City, as well as the “Civic Center region,” which we’d never heard of but apparently refers to the area around City Hall. This means it's time for New Yorkers to revise our cherished wealth-related neighborhood stereotypes. After the jump, some suggestions.

Financial District
• Old stereotype: Residentially barren wasteland, consisting in the after-work hours of tumbleweed blowing past a sad, lone bodega.
• New stereotype: Hoppin’ hangout of the megarich. Hedge fund launched by three pieces of tumbleweed and the bodega guy now owns a 78-percent stake in Brazilian natural-gas industry.

Battery Park City
• Old stereotype: Undercultured New York cousin of countless characterless American megalopolises.
• New stereotype: Still characterless, but triumphantly so, to the point of arrogance. Local leaders consider airlifting suburban Dallas onto a Hudson River sandbar just for the hell of it.

Upper East Side
• Old stereotype: Place where New York’s rich people live.
• New stereotype: Place where developers are, as we speak, working on a new definition of the neighborhood’s boundaries which artfully gerrymanders out all the public-housing projects.

Murray Hill
• Old stereotype: Overflow housing for Cornell super-seniors.
• New stereotype: Starter neighborhood for aspiring “Civic Center region” homeowners.

“Civic Center region”
• Old stereotype: Location of celebrity megatrials and Law & Order reenactments thereof.
• New stereotype: Place where Robert Morgenthau sits around wondering why he has to be the Manhattan district attorney when pretending to be Robert Morgenthau on television apparently qualifies one to become president of America. —Ben Mathis-Lilley