Reasons to Love New York

Because we live in a bubble, but what a bubble. Because we know where Trump lives, and how best to get under his skin, too. Because Chumley’s is back and the Park Slope Food Co-op will never change. Because we’re not disrupting death, we’re turning it into art. Because La Guardia is actually going to get a lot better. Because even our hospitals are into trendy dining. Because the coolest rapper in America is a queer woman from Brooklyn and the No. 2 college-football recruit is from there, too. Because you can now drink before noon on a Sunday. Because Ken Thompson and Bill Cunningham worked until the very end. Because weirdos and artists and, most of all, immigrants will never stop wanting to call this city home.

N0. 1  | Because The City Is Still Ours.

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The city was always an asylum. On television on Election Night, the word they used was bubble. But what a bubble.

New Yorkers woke up on November 8 in what seems now like a fairy-tale fog, convinced, as ever, that the future belonged to us. By midnight, the world looked very different, the country very far away (and the future, too). Eighty percent of us had voted against the man who won, and 80 percent, it seemed, were already hatching plans to leave — for Canada or Berlin or anywhere else we imagined we could live safely among the like-minded. That was when the text messages began coming in from old friends in Wisconsin and Texas and North Carolina and Missouri. They were watching the same returns we were, in the same apocalyptic panic, and all making desperate plans to come to New York. For them, the city was still the same fairy tale. 

No. 2 | Because Even Our Protesters Are Precocious.

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Teens on Fifth Avenue, November 15. Photo: Andres Kudacki

It’s a Sunday afternoon, and outside the Greenwich Village Stumptown, the dissidents have assembled. They have rosy cheeks and glossy hair, and four of the five are tenth-graders at Little Red School House, a progressive private school where, in the throes of citizen despair during a first-period class on 3-D art (“It’s like sculpture therapy”), Claire Greenburger, Leilani Sardinha, and Loulou Viemeister had decided that something had to be done. It was the Thursday after Trump had been elected. “I saw all of my teachers cry,” says Claire. The three girls reached out to friends Jane Brooks and Bennett Wood (who goes to Calhoun but had met Loulou at a “social-justice camp” in Vermont), and by Friday they had created a Facebook page titled “NYC School Walkout Love Trumps Hate,” calling for kids to walk out of class and storm Trump Tower at 10:30 a.m. the following Tuesday. “We thought there would be a couple hundred kids,” says Jane. Then Occupy Wall Street linked to the page. Suddenly, thousands of people were “interested.” “We were like, Oh my God, what is happening?” says Claire. “By Monday, everyone was talking about it.”

That included the school administration, which insisted the protesters get their parents’ permission. “My dad told the vice-principal, ‘She doesn’t need my permission. This is civil disobedience!’ ” says Loulou. “He was like, ‘I’ll pick you up from jail tomorrow.’ ”

“My dad handed me a lawyer’s phone number,” adds Jane.

Despite the fact that it was raining and frigid, the protest pen near Trump Tower was filling up by the time the organizers arrived. “Bennett and I ran into the street and were like, ‘Okay, everyone, into Fifth Avenue,’ ” Loulou explains. “The police didn’t really know what to do,” Claire says, grinning. Leilani agrees. “It was completely illegal.” The NYPD started guiding traffic away as the throng marched all the way to Washington Square Park. Says Claire, “It went better than we could have ever imagined.”

Not that the protest was perfect. “In the events that we’re planning in the future, more diversity would be cool,” says Jane, aware of the irony of the walkout’s being planned mostly by a crew of privileged kids. Nor do they harbor illusions of what a protest can accomplish. “We’re not going to change the fact that Trump is president.” But they take heart in the fact that among millennials, Hillary Clinton won by a landslide. “Watch yourself, Trump,” Jane says. “Because we’re voting next.” —Alex Morris

No. 3 | Because Our Streets Defy Dictators.

From the imperial fora of ancient Rome to Buenos Aires’s Plaza de Mayo, authoritarian regimes have always found big, ceremonial spaces both dangerous (because they concentrate so many people in one place) and ideally suited to surveillance and propaganda (for precisely the same reason). New York has no obvious place of assembly, so the streets serve as a movable piazza. Protests have begun on the Columbia campus, in Washington Square, in Central Park, and at the United Nations; they’ve taken over a tiny office park most New Yorkers had never heard of and branched out over the Brooklyn Bridge. This lack of a focus embodies the essential New York values that the new administration appears so eager to crush: the city dwellers’ refusal to be corralled or homogenized. —Justin Davidson


No. 4 | Because We Know Where Trump Lives.

It is a lesson learned from my father, a lifelong New Yorker (1920–1995), a bit of big-city wisdom imparted as we drove through our home borough of Queens sometime in the early ’60s. We crossed the then–newly completed Long Island Expressway and entered the glittery environs of Jamaica Estates, where the trees were more stately and the houses more grand than our modest GI Bill dwelling. As we passed one nicely appointed home, my father slowed the family Fairlane.

“There’s where Trump lives,” Pop said, with a shake of his head. A proud member of the New York United Federation of Teachers, my father always disliked the Trumps, especially Fred C. Trump, the family patriarch and enabler, whom Pop believed to be an arch–union buster. It wasn’t that my father was planning to picket the place. He just wanted Trump “to know that I know where he lives.”

It is no big deal to know where a Trump lives these days. Like at Trump Tower, home to the presidential penthouse, the guy writes his name in giant gold letters over the door the way dogs piss on trees. If you miss it, just look for the new normal of screaming protesters, edgy cops outfitted with automatic weapons, and the unsettling feeling that sooner or later something’s gonna give.

But I never took my father’s lesson to be restricted to a physical address. It is a statement of a deep sense of knowing gained through proximity and long experience. That is why the citizens of our metropolis have a special responsibility as The Donald’s double-chinned shadow falls increasingly upon the land. No matter how ardently his anti-cosmopolitan, anti-Enlightenment supporters attempt to ignore the fact, Trump remains a New Yorker, for better or worse, one of us.

This brings up a corollary thought train. As anyone can tell, Trump’s bullheaded insistence on running his transition out of midtown has only further galvanized local resentment against him. After all, the demonization of immigrant grandmas and the enabling of neo-Nazis is one thing. But closing down crosstown streets during the Christmas rush, costing city taxpayers more than a million dollars a day to protect a pol who got less than 10 percent of the vote in Manhattan and the Bronx — this is another level of insult. Then again, Trump could be doing this on purpose. Punishing the hometown for not loving him enough. That would be a prick thing to do, a decidedly New York prick thing. A Trump thing. That’s what my father meant: When you know where someone lives, don’t ever take your eyes off him. —Mark Jacobson

No. 5 | And Because One Upper West Side Apartment Complex Evicted His Logo.

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No. 6 | Because the Mayor Finally Found a Worthy Adversary.

A week after the election, Mayor Bill de Blasio, who had attacked Donald Trump’s deportation proposals as “dangerous” and “un-American” and said his support from the KKK was “disgusting,” ambled into a golden elevator at Trump Tower for an audience with the president-elect. The mayor wasn’t there to eat crow. “I don’t forgive him some of the things he said on the campaign trail at all. I think they were destructive,” de Blasio said recently. He reminded Trump of “the human consequences of these words and deeds.” They discussed the NYPD, which will now be devoting its energies to protecting Trump Tower; de Blasio pointedly mentioned that some 900 members of the force are Muslim-Americans. Afterward, he vowed publicly to “stand up for anyone who because of any policy is excluded or affronted.” De Blasio’s warnings about income inequality and his calls for a coalition of progressive mayors have sometimes been ignored or even mocked by fellow Democrats. Now, though, his voice may prove essential. “I think there is going to be a lot of common action to protect immigrants in our cities,” he said. Along with other mayors, de Blasio has promised to obstruct any push for mass deportations by refusing to turn over personal data and expanding legal services for immigrants. City Hall is preparing in case Trump tries to impose pressure through massive cuts in city funding. “Whatever happens in Washington, we ain’t changing,” de Blasio said. “I think we have a chance to be a living example of a pluralistic society.” —Andrew Rice

No. 7 | Because Three James Madison High School Alums Will Get America Through This.

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Had they overlapped, these nerds would definitely have sat at the same table in the cafeteria. Ruth Bader Ginsburg (class of ’50), Bernie Sanders (’59), and Chuck Schumer (’67) all wrote for the newspaper at James Madison High School, and all three were involved in sports (Ginsburg chipped a tooth baton-twirling). And, no surprise, they were demonstrated leaders: Sanders was class president, Schumer was valedictorian, and Ginsburg was … treasurer of the Go-Getters Club. In the postelection hangover, the Jewish Brooklynites have emerged as never-more-necessary stalwarts of progressive politics. —Kaitlin Menza

Illustration: Zohar Lazar 

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No. 8 | Because only a thrice-married, sex-crazed, germophobic, tabloid-bred, ex-casino-owning, condo-peddling, bankruptcy-surviving, playacting Darwinian capitalist New York real-estate billionaire reality-TV host, who demands to be adored, cannot be criticized, takes no responsibility for anything, never apologizes, and managed to convince half of America, mostly through Twitter, that he’s a straight-talking, swamp-draining friend of the common man, with various foolproof yet-to-be-disclosed solutions for how he can make everything great again, at least for people like them, could shock even the most over-it New Yorkers out of their complacency.

No. 9 | Because Kate McKinnon Didn’t Make a Joke.

Kate McKinnon as Hillary Clinton on SNL on November 12. Photo: Will Heath/NBC

When Kate McKinnon took the HRC reins from 2008’s Amy Poehler on Saturday Night Live, she applied a sharper edge to her mark: There was not a speck of Clinton’s Methodist good girl in McKinnon’s version, only the bloodless ambition and raw drive and robotic mania. It was, frankly, a little mean. Mean but glorious and gleeful. McKinnon amped it up, rolled around in it: Her cackling Hillary slept in her pantsuits, popped Champagne and victory-danced after the pussy tape was released, and pretended tears of vulnerability before reminding us — about any of Clinton’s setbacks, really — “Get real, I’m made of steel, this is nothing.” McKinnon made hay of the glowering specter of female threat. She was unapologetic and tough and hilarious and so uncool she was almost cool and she was, it felt in those last few weeks of sketches, probably going to be the president. And then Hillary lost.

And so McKinnon got onstage the Saturday after the election, sat at a piano in her defiant white pantsuit, and performed Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” eulogizing the singer who had died that week alongside the dream of a Hillary presidency. As she sang the final verse, her voice shaking, her eyes shining — “And even though it all went wrong / I stand before the Lord of Song / With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah” — Kate McKinnon gave a lot of us permission to have a good, long cry. —Rebecca Traister

No. 10 | Because Alec Baldwin Is Just Trump Enough to Rile Trump.

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her mark: There was not a speck of Clinton’s Methodist good girl in McKinnon’s version, only the bloodless ambition and raw drive and robotic mania. It was, frankly, a little mean. Mean but glorious and gleeful. McKinnon amped it up, rolled around in it: Her cackling Hillary slept in her pantsuits, popped Champagne and victory-danced after the pussy tape was released, and pretended tears of vulnerability before reminding us — about any of Clinton’s setbacks, really — “Get real, I’m made of steel, this is nothing.” McKinnon made hay of the glowering specter of female threat. She was unapologetic and tough and hilarious and so uncool she was almost cool and she was, it felt in those last few weeks of sketches, probably going to be the president. And then Hillary lost.

No. 11 | Because Citi Bike HQ Has a Wall of Fame, With Many Leos.

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Citi Bike’s private shrine to celebrities started in July 2013 — three months after the fledgling company set up shop in a warehouse in Sunset Park. The then–office manager saw a tabloid photograph of Johnny Galecki on a Citi Bike outside the Ed Sullivan Theater and printed it — he put the image in a frame from a dollar store and hung it on a bare wall across from the marketing department. From there, things expanded quickly. “We used to buy frames one at a time,” says Citi Bike director of communications Dani Simons. “But now we have to order them in bulk.” Some 60 images now hang on the wall. “People who ride consistently are up there multiple times,” says Simon. “There are three of Leonardo DiCaprio; Naomi Watts rides a lot. Karlie Kloss.” But mostly it’s one-offs: Bill Nye, the science guy; Lindsay Lohan; Woody Harrelson; Joe Jonas. “Quvenzhané Wallis is my favorite,” says Simons. “They used the bikes when they were filming the remake of Annie.” —Katy Schneider

No. 12 | Because the World’s Biggest Dinosaur Skeleton Is Now at the Museum of Natural History.

Illustration: Zohar Lazar

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Last January, a yet-to-be-named herbivorous Titanosaur was added to the American Museum of Natural History’s permanent collection, replacing a (comparably diminutive) Barosaurus that had been on display since 1996. The dinosaur — whose 70-ton skeleton consists of casts of 223 fossil bones excavated in Patagonia — is so large that its head couldn’t fit inside the orientation center’s gallery. “We were constrained by the size of the room,” says the museum’s chair of paleontology, Mark Norell. “We decided in the end to stick it out into the elevator banks — so when visitors walk into the hall from the stairs, it greets them.” After workers moved in the dinosaur, in pieces small enough to fit on the elevators and up the stairs, only one modification was left. “We had to make sure the head was high enough up that people wouldn’t try to jump up and hit it,” says Norell. —Katy Schneider

No. 13 | Because Saddam Hussein’s UES Torture Chamber Is Now a Kitchenette.

In October, the New York Post reported that the basement of 14 East 79th Street, a 1910 mansion that has served for 58 years as the Mission of Iraq, was used as a torture chamber under Saddam Hussein’s regime. The house was recently renovated, and the room converted into a functioning kitchenette. —Katy Schneider

No. 14 | Because the Prevailing Response to a Suitcase Bomb in Manhattan Was to Argue on Twitter About Just How Trendy, Exactly, Chelsea Is.

No. 15 | Because Of Course Our Free Public Wi-Fi Kiosks Were Immediately Used to Watch Porn.

It’s unclear how much porn was being watched on LinkNYC’s internet kiosks, the 500 or so converted pay phones that began turning up around the city last January, but it was enough to lead Councilman Corey Johnson to write a letter to the company to complain. LinkNYC responded by removing unfettered web-browser functionality. But that the kiosks led brief lives as public porn machines is touching, in a certain way — evidence that even an ever-richer, ever-cleaner New York is still resistant to the sanitized utopia of the tech industry. —Brian Feldman

No. 16 | Because the New York Liberty’s Dancers, the Timeless Torches, Are All 40-Plus.

Anybody is free to audition for the New York Liberty’s dance team. There’s just one catch: You must be at least 40. The current Timeless Torches lineup is made up of 13 members ranging in age from 40 to 76 and includes a legal assistant, an accountant, a Vietnam veteran, and an IT guy (yes, they take dancers of all genders). Margaret Hamilton, a 47-year-old legal secretary from the Bronx, joined at the urging of her daughter. “ ‘Mom! You are always dancing around,’ ” she remembers her daughter saying. “I said, ‘Well, I guess it’s like a free aerobics class.’ ” After her inaugural performance, “someone came up and said, ‘Can I have your autograph?’ I was so shocked that I forgot my name and signed ‘From Mommy.’ ” —Alexa Tsoulis-Reay